Fannie Mae last week began to provide details of its strategy to broaden the mortgage market by making the lending process more streamlined and flexible for borrowers.
Fannie said it is focusing on the borrower, but not because it wants to go directly to the consumer. To "remain the secondary-market choice for lenders, we must provide products and services for their customers," said Ann D. Logan, Fannie's executive vice president for single-family mortgage business.
Ms. Logan said the company, which has already broadened its market by lowering down-payment requirements, "will tailor products" to meet the needs of its changing customer base.
She spoke at the company's investor and analyst conference, which is held every two years.
Franklin D. Raines, chairman and CEO, said Fannie hopes to build its share of the single-family mortgage business to nearly 28%, from its current 23%.
"Tomorrow's homebuyers will have less time and even greater expectations," Ms. Logan said.
One product to be tested will be a "step-down" mortgage, based on the idea that a consumer's ability to pay his or her mortgage on time is an indicator of risk, Ms. Logan said. This product would offer incentives and rewards to borrowers who pay on time, she added.
Other products may offer borrowers the ability for "multiple draws" on one loan made with one closing, Ms. Logan said. If a borrower moved, the loan would follow; if he or she decided to remodel the kitchen, the cost could be added to the loan.
Other options might include matching a mortgage term to an expected retirement date, matching mortgage payments to a person's payroll schedule, or innovations in meeting college costs by tapping equity in a mortgage. Mortgages with payments due every two weeks have already caught on, Ms. Logan said.
Bankers said they already offer many of these products.
"We also offer benefits to customers who pay on time," said Jay S. Sidhu, chairman of Sovereign Bancorp in Wyomissing, Pa.
But he welcomed Fannie's participation, even though its "step-down" idea is not an innovation, he said.
"We're glad they're catching up to the 21st century," Mr. Sidhu said.