While some secondary mortgage market analysts think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will reach the 1993 low-income and central city lending goals set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the two secondary market giants want to scan the field before they talk about the game.
The goals, handed to both agencies last week, require Fannie Mae to ensure that 30% of its 1993 business is directed toward low- and moderate-income lending, while 28% goes for providing loans in central cities.
Freddie Mac's 1993 goals were set at 28% and 26% respectively. Both 1994 goals are locked in at 30/30.
The effect of the goals on the secondary market is minimal--less than $1 billion in mortgage originations in a year when originations should top $800 billion.
Nevertheless, the Issue matters to the market because It reveals the pressure Fannie and Freddie are feeling from the department to change their policies.
Officials at Freddie Mac are leery about forecasting their success with the goals until they're more comfortable with HUD's relatively new calculating methods, which Freddie says are clouding its perspective.
"There are different counting methods [within the requirements of HUD] that will tell us whether certain information will actual}y be counted toward the goal," said Cheryl Regan, a Freddie Mac spokeswoman. "It's very technical, and we're all still sorting through it at this point."
While the agencies focus on their targets, HUD will concentrate on them as well.
HUD has the responsibility of ensuring each meets its goals and can impose a penalty of $25,000 a day until the goals are met.
If either government-sponsored enterprise misses its goals because it failed to make a "good faith effort" toward reaching it, a $10,000 a day penalty may be imposed.
The penalties may be a distraction to the GSEs, which would rather spend time thinking about how to expand their markets.
Many of those proJects are already geared to 1994 goals.
"The HouseOakland project [in Oakland, Calif.] is one pilot program," said David Jeffers, a spokesman for Fannie Mae. "And there are many other community and neighborhood lending programs which are expanding the market as well."
Jeffers said Fannie Mae was incorporating other programs as well, including the Fannie 3/2 Option Plan. Under this plan, home buyers are permitted to contribute Just 396 of their own funds toward a 5% down payment, with the balance of the payment coming from the government and other sources.
Meanwhile, expanding the base of the institutions from whom it can buy mortgages, Freddie recently added four community development banks with which it hadn't previously conducted business to that base, thus opening the door for new seller/servicers.