There's a clear place for real estate brokers in Fannie Mae's vision of the technological future, according to Franklin Raines, the agency's vice chairman.
Mr. Raines recently told the realty industry that Fannie is developing software for lenders and others to use in making home loans. He suggested that real estate brokers might find the product useful.
"Certainly the potential you offer to help us reach our goals is enormous," he said in a speech at the National Association of Realtors' annual convention in Miami. "And we, in turn, want to help you do your job, where we have something to offer."
He said the planned software would help lenders and other users access information on loan types and rates, match borrowers and prequalify them for different loans, and lock in loan rates.
He said Fannie Mae, formally the Federal National Mortgage Association, would make the tool available to lenders at a price, and suggested that they could pass on the cost to realtors.
If used by realtors, the software would constitute a type of "computerized loan-origination system." Such systems are regulated by the terms of the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, and mortgage bankers are lobbying the Department of Housing and Urban Development to tighten its regulation of them.
The want the systems to be open to all lenders who want to advertise through them, and they want to make sure that realtors do not earn referral fees under cover of using such systems.
A Host of Questions Arise
Warren Lasko, executive vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, said he would have many questions about Fannie Mae's origination system:
Whose rates would be on it? How many firms would be listed? Would it allow users to compare different loan products?
Fannie Mae is developing a variety of software products that lenders could use to cut time and cost in making and selling a home loan.
Counselling System for Consumers
Mr. Raines spoke broadly to realtors about how Fannie Mae can use this technology to strengthen its relationship with them.
He also described software Fannie is designing to counsel homebuyers on how much they can afford to spend on a home.
The software pulls down their credit reports and produces ranges of house prices for consumers. Mr. Raines said that software would be available next year.