Four weeks of government shutdown had forced mortgage lenders to start scrambling. And, with the reopening of the government this week postponed by a blizzard on the East Coast, it was unclear how long it would take for operations to return to normal at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The typical turnaround time for FHA and VA loans from origination to closure is usually three to six weeks, but the government furlough slowed processing and forced lenders to make some tough decisions.
Crucial to the origination of a government-backed loan is the acquisition of a case number identifying it. These numbers are available only from the FHA or the VA, but are administered by a third-party computer network called the Echo system.