CHICAGO -- Countrywide Credit Industries and the Federal National Mortgage Association have agreed to finance a huge $2.5 billion of affordabl-housing loans over the next 12 months.

The deal, announced here at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, is a dramatic example of how non-bank mortgage lenders are seeking to step up lending to people with the low or moderate incomes.

Nonprofit Outreach Program

In part, the companies are hoping to head off any regulation similar to the banking industry's Community Reinvestment Act.

Countrywide's agreement with Fannie Mae is believed to be the largest of its kind.

Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage originator, plans to write the affordable-housing loans through an outreach program involving national and regional nonprofit organizations.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has introduced a bill that would establish CRA-like rules for mortgage companies.

"I'm doing evrything I can" to increase lending to minority and lower-income borrowers," Angelo Mozilo, vice chairman of Countrywide, said in an interview. "I'm throwing all of our resoureces at it. If that isn't enough, tough."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.