ARLINGTON, Va. -- The FHA will soon be opening wide to lenders the gates of its loan insurance programs, say officials of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A reorganization under way at HUD will speed up the processing of applications to become Federal Housing Administration lenders, simplify appraisals, and generally produce "better customer service," said Bud Carter, HUD director of single-family development.

Earlier this month, HUD launched a six-month study in an effort to improve the FHA program. HUD has also initiated a broader plan to increase FHA's market presence.

Lenders to Select Appraisers

Mr. Carter told attendees at the National Association of Mortgage Brokers conference Monday that one of its first steps would be to allow lenders to select their own appraisers. This will happen in September, he said.

The announcement, to a packed conference room, was greeted with an ovation.

The reorganization aims to reduce the processing time for FHA lender applications to between 30 and 45 days, said Bill Heyman, director of the office of lender activities.

HUD has already cut the number of employees required for loan correspondent approval from three to two, Mr. Heyman said.

Mr. Heyman said a proposal was being considered that would allow wholesalers to approve their own FHA correspondent lenders.

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