FHA clarifies new ‘credit dispute’ rule

WASHINGTON – April 5, 2012 – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) back stepped a bit on a rule announced earlier. FHA says it will give borrowers a chance to explain any disputed collection accounts in their history in order to qualify for an FHA-backed mortgage. A new FHA rule took effect April 1 and had some in the real estate community concerned that it would shut more buyers out by disqualifying them for mortgages.

Under FHA’s new rule, borrowers with any credit disputes greater than $1,000 on file will not be able to get the government-backed loan. As first announced, borrowers either have to pay the remaining balance of the credit amount or show proof of entering into a payment plan for it.

The FHA is easing those restrictions somewhat, according to new instructions it provided to lenders, HousingWire reports. Borrowers will be exempt from the new rule if the credit amount is from a “life event.” This might include a medical bill, death, divorce or unemployment.

“The borrower may provide a written explanation and documentation as it applies to all types of disputed and collections accounts if it makes sense, and is consistent with other credit information in the file,” according to instructions provided to lenders.

Also starting on April 1, the FHA raised its insurance premiums, citing it as another effort to try to rebuild its emergency fund, which has fallen below the mandated amount Congress requires.

Source: “FHA Eases New Rule on Collections Accounts,” HousingWire (April 3, 2012)

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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