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New FHA rules for mortgage borrowers

Amy Scott Dec 2, 2009
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New FHA rules for mortgage borrowers

Amy Scott Dec 2, 2009
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: The Federal Housing Administration is expected to propose tougher rules for mortgage borrowers today. The FHA has insured nearly a quarter of all new home loans this year.
But it’s running out of cash.

Marketplace’s Amy Scott is with us live from our bureau in New York. Good morning, Amy.

Amy Scott: Good morning!

Chiotakis: So what kinds of changes are we looking at?

Scott: Well, Sean Donovan, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is scheduled to testify today before the House Financial Services Committee. And according to news reports, he’s expected to propose a few changes. People who take out FHA-insured loans may have to pay more money up front and higher insurance premiums. Their credit scores may have to be higher. And reports say that the FHA would also limit the amount of money that sellers can kick in to entice buyers.

Chiotakis: And why the changes, Amy?

Scott: The whole idea is to make it less appealing for borrowers to walk away from their loans, because they’d have more skin in the game. The FHA has been propping up the housing market by making loans available to people who might not have been able to buy with the agency’s backing. But delinquencies are on the rise, and a recent audit showed that the FHA’s cash reserves are dangerously low. I should say, though, that the agency is also cracking down on lenders — it stopped doing business with several of them this year. And on Monday, it proposed tougher rules like higher capital requirements.

Chiotakis: All right, Marketplace’s Amy Scott, joining us from New York. Amy, thanks.

Scott: You’re welcome.

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