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Fannie Mae Reports Easing Credit Standards

by Joe Ward

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Mortgage standards are easing across all loan types, according to the new Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey from Fannie Mae.

The survey was conducted in August, and asked senior mortgage executives whether their organizations’ standards had eased, tightened or remained unchanged for GSE eligible, non-GSE eligible and government loans over the preceding three months.

The gap between lenders reporting relaxing standards and those reporting tightening standards jumped to 20 percentage points for GSE eligible loans, and 18 percentage points for non-GSE eligible loans. Those jumps in percentage indicate a new survey high of “net easing,” with lenders expecting their organizations to continue the trend over the next three months.

“For the first time in seven quarters, we see a pronounced increase in the share pf lenders … reporting on net an easing of credit standards in both the GSE eligible and non-GSE eligible loan categories,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “This is a significant result in light of public discourse on credit availability and standards.”

The Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey also reported a decrease in consumer mortgage demand over the prior three months and the next three months, along with an expectation to increase rather than decrease the shares of loans sold to the GSEs and Ginnie Mae over the next 12 months. Lastly, the survey reported that the share of lenders reporting an increased profit margin outlook over the next three months has fallen significantly since last quarter, but is at a similar level as it was over the same time period as last year.

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