The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Wednesday that it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to delay implementation of planned changes to the companies’ guarantee fee (g-fee) structure.
In early December, FHFA—through acting director Edward DeMarco—announced plans to increase the base g-fee for all mortgages by 10 basis points, update the up-front g-fee grid, and eliminate the up-front 25 basis point
adverse market fee that has been assessed on all mortgages purchased by the GSEs since 2008. The changes were expected to take effect in March and April of this year.
However, FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt, who was sworn in as head of the agency on Monday, said he first wants to conduct a thorough evaluation of the proposed changes and their likely impact. In a statement to the press, FHFAsaid Watt’s assessment of the fee adjustments would be completed “as expeditiously as possible.” The agency says lenders will have at least 120 days from the completion of that evaluation before any changes must be implemented.
“The implications for mortgage credit availability and how these changes might interact with the new qualified mortgage (QM) standards could be significant. I want to fully understand these implications before deciding whether to move forward with any adjustments to g-fee pricing,” Watt said in announcing the delay on Wednesday.
Watt had previously alerted the market and industry partners that the g-fee hike would be postponed in late December, prior to officially taking up his new post.