More evidence that the Federal Housing Administration lacks resources emerged during yesterday´s National Housing Forum at the National Press Club. But will complaints about the FHA´s impaired capacity ever reach the critical mass they need to draw more money to the agency?
Questions after a panel on mortgage markets included one from the president and chief executive officer of the Orlando, Fla.-based Urban Trust Bank, Daniel Fisher. He asked whether the FHA would be able to handle the increased demand for its mortgages from around the country. So far, he says the answer is "No."
"The FHA needs more resources," he said. Urban Bank Trust had been trying to establish a "Direct Endorsement" mechanism that would allow it to make FHA-insured loans without having to apply each time for fresh approval from the FHA. Direct endorsement comes after the FHA has approved 15 individual mortgage applications as "test cases" from a lender, and Mr. Fisher explained that Urban Trust had sent in "seven or eight" applications and only received one response.
Approval from the FHA´s Atlanta office has been so long in coming that Mr. Fisher said in an interview later that customers looking for a mortgage loan had gone elsewhere. "We´re losing customers over this," he said. He blamed the FHA´s use of contractors in its regional offices, who he said seemed less-experienced than full-time FHA staff.
Ms. Fisher´s complaint didn´t go unanswered yesterday. He told BankThink that after his question, a representative from the FHA found him and told him to call her to sort things out.