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MortgagePoint » Your Trusted Source for Mortgage Banking and Servicing News 26 April 2023 C O V E R F E A T U R E All our technology has to be upgraded, enhanced, expanded, and tweaked. The way the government process works, in terms of the budget and getting budgetary author- ity for technology expenditures, and then having oversight from a variety of different quarters, it often gets in the way of that agil- ity. That said, we are proceeding to improve technology as quickly as we can. We have several things in process right now, both on the single-family and the multifamily side, that we'll start rolling out in the next few months. It's important for everybody who cares about FHA to know what a significant priority this is and how this is one issue that the FHA senior leadership team works on and deals with every single day. Q: What items are on your short list of things you hope to have accomplished by the end of your tenure in this position? I came in with twin overriding goals. I wanted to make access to credit fairer and more available, particularly to historically underserved communities, and I wanted to prevent unnecessary foreclosures. In both of those areas, I feel fortunate that this team had already been moving well along on those priorities before my arrival, and my interest in those priorities has helped us step up the pace. This has been a period where every team has been working flat-out for a very, very long time, really since the begin- ning of the pandemic. In our Single-Family program, I am so proud of the work that the team has done. We have rolled out so many new policies, many of which are directly responsive to requests we've heard from the industry that were needed to help us achieve these goals that our external partners share. The people who choose to work in the area of FHA lending care about serving the borrowers who might not be served by the conventional market. Of course, reduc- ing the mortgage insurance premium is a big-ticket item. But some of the things we've done on the underwriting side, particularly rightsizing how we look at student loan debt and adding the indicator for positive rental history into our underwriting process are two other important changes that are par- ticularly important for borrowers of color. I'm also proud of the more administrative or technical accomplishments such as keeping the Single-Family Handbook as updated as we possibly can, improving the Frequently Asked Question system, and improving the FHA Resource Center. We've been doing quite a lot to not only help qualify more borrowers but also to help the lenders who are doing the work on the ground with bor- rowers. On the foreclosure prevention side, dur- ing the pandemic, the overriding focus was on rolling out the COVID-19 forbearance and then rolling out the COVID-19 waterfall. This was a tremendous amount of policy change in an extremely short period, which has not always been HUD's trademark. Even after achieving success in assisting that first tranche of borrowers who came out of forbearance, we are continuing to develop enhanced and new tools to help the borrowers who are now entering into a very different interest rate environment. As I'm sure you know, the traditional loan modification is one where you adjust the rate and term to try to get some monthly payment reduction. With the COVID-19 waterfall, we initiated a 40-year term con- nected with a partial claim because that was all we had the regulatory authority to do. Just recently, we finalized a regulatory change so that a borrower can get a 40-year modifica- tion regardless of whether they have a partial claim. Now, we are turning our attention to rates. FHA works differently here from the GSEs. The lender must pull the loan out of the MBS pool to modify it, which means that the modified mortgage needs to be adjusted to current rates. Since we had such low rates for so long, many of the borrowers who need our assistance are coming in with rates

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