MReport December 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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60 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT Leading the Charge How FHA Supported Homeowners and Buyers in 2020. T he Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released its 2020 annual report, which covers the financial status of the Mu - tual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund and its single-family insur- ance programs. The 2020 FHA report empha- sizes how the government agency helped homeowners who were fi- nancially impacted by COVID-19. The report states that "FHA supported the housing market throughout the pandemic by providing liquidity and stability." It outlines how FHA responded to the pandemic by "implementing a foreclosure and eviction mora - torium and offering forbearance and other support" for American homeowners who faced COVID-19- related financial hardships this year. According to the annual report, FHA's serious delinquent portfolio grew by $117 billion this year due to COVID-19 forbearance. Nearly all of this increase happened "soon after borrowers began requesting forbearance subject to the provisions of the CARES Act" at the beginning of May. "While we focused our efforts on helping FHA homeowners impacted by the global pandemic keep their homes, we balanced this with sound risk manage - ment to protect taxpayers," said Dana Wade, Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner. "We also continue to demonstrate that during these times, FHA is open for business." Although the FHA's market share decreased from 11.56% in 2019 to 9.61% in 2020, it was open for business as it had active insurance on more than 8.3 million single- family forward and reverse mort - gages as of September 30, 2020. The FHA's combined capital ratio for 2020 was 6.10%, a 1.26% increase over 2019's 4.84% capital ratio. The combined capital ratio includes both the FHA-insured single-family forward and reverse mortgage portfolios. The increase in FHA's combined capital ratio indicates that the MMI Fund remains financially healthy. The report also shows that FHA served a record number of first-time and minority homebuy - ers despite coronavirus-related challenges. According to the report, the share of first-time homebuyers using FHA insurance reached a new high of 83.1% of the government agency's total forward mortgage purchase endorsements in 2020. "FHA successfully served more of the nation's first-time homebuy - ers and maintained its leader- ship role as the nation's largest facilitator of affordable mortgage financing for minority borrowers," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in the press release. Wade also stated that the FHA, like many key players in the housing market, has adopted new technology this year as COVID-19 has intensified the growing need for technological and digital advancements across the housing industry. "We've exceeded expectations by bringing to market FHA Catalyst, a state-of-the-art technol - ogy platform that will keep credit flowing to FHA's core borrowers while providing us with the data and analytics we need to identify and manage risk," Wade said. "While we focused our efforts on helping FHA homeowners impacted by the global pandemic keep their homes, we balanced this with sound risk management to protect taxpayers." —Dana Wade, Assistant Secretary for Housing–Federal Housing Commissioner, FHA

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