WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae has released the newest version of its automated underwriting program, Desktop Underwriter 5.0, to a group of 16 lenders.

The new version offers an enhanced scoring model that no longer relies on Fair, Isaac & Co. credit scores. Instead, the loans are evaluated using several characteristics from a borrower's credit report. This tells lenders the strong points of the loan.

If a loan is not approved, the program sends customized messages telling the lender, who in turn tells the borrower, what may be wrong with his or her credit history. The move is intended to improve customer service by helping borrowers work toward better credit.

The program also accepts new products, such as 7- and 10-year adjustable-rate mortgages with 3% down payments.

Fannie said Desktop Underwriter 5.0 will streamline the property appraisal process. The company plans to release the updated program more broadly in August.

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