WASHINGTON The Federal Housing Finance Agency is sticking to its schedule and moving quickly to finalize proposed financial requirements for nonbank firms that service Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.
"FHFA is collecting extensive feedback on the proposed guidelines and we expect to finalize these requirements in the next month or so," FHFA Deputy Director Sandra Thompson said Thursday.
The agency issued its proposed minimum eligibility requirements for mortgage servicers on Jan. 30, saying it intended to finalize the plan in the second quarter with a six-month implementation timeline after that.
Speaking at a Women in Housing and Finance event, Thompson noted that FHFA is seeing increasing transfers of mortgage servicing from banks and credit unions to nonbank servicers.
"While FHFA does not regulate servicers directly, it is crucial to clearly define and communicate servicer eligibility requirements," she said.
As proposed, Fannie and Freddie servicers would have to meet minimum net worth, capital and liquidity requirements.
"Stronger standards will help reduce market uncertainty," about the financial wherewithal of Fannie and Freddie servicers, Thompson said.
Following her speech, Thompson was asked about the strong demand for multifamily loans this year and concerns about FHFA's cap on the government-sponsored enterprises' multifamily business.
Thompson indicated that FHFA is aware that demand might push Fannie or Freddie over the $30 billion cap before the end of the year. In the first quarter of 2015, Freddie has purchased $10 billion in multifamily loans.
"We are talking about this right now," she said. "We are very much aware of the issue and we are having internal discussions."
Under FHFA's 2015 Scorecard, Fannie and Freddie are expected to maintain the dollar volume of their multifamily business at or below $30 billion. Multifamily lenders are concerned this could lead to disruptions as the GSEs approach the limit later this year.
In 2014, Fannie purchased $28.6 in multifamily loans from lenders. However, certain multifamily loans involving small properties and manufactured housing rental communities are excluded from the cap.
Last year Freddie purchased $28.3 billion in multifamily loans, but $2.4 billion of the loans were not subject to the cap.