The Department of Housing and Urban Development is preparing to issue a final rule soon that will give mortgage bankers additional time to adjust to coming higher net worth requirements.

The final rule will "ensure there is a chance to ramp up to the new requirements," said Federal Housing Administration assistant secretary Vicki Bott. HUD is seeking to increase its minimum net worth requirement for FHA lenders to $2.5 million from the current $250,000.

The phase-in period for the higher amount was originally proposed at three years, but could be lengthened. Ms. Bott made her comments on Monday at a legislative conference sponsored by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

She cautioned that changes to the final rule are "not substantially" different from what appears in the proposed rule. No other details were available at press time. Ms. Bott is encouraging brokers to send in their FHA audits as early as possible this spring.

FHA still plans to move forward with a plan to have actual funders police brokers as opposed to having brokers register and be approved by HUD. But this change will hot happen until early 2011.

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