JPMorgan Chase has largely sat on the sidelines of Federal Housing Administration lending due to compliance concerns. But recent regulatory relief efforts have Chase Home Mortgage CEO Mike Weinbach eyeing an opportunity to jump back in.

FHA lending has "real opportunity to become safer" because current officials are working on addressing liabilities it poses for lenders, Weinbach said, speaking as part of a panel of C-suite lending executives at the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Secondary Market Conference in New York.

The company still does some FHA lending, but its involvement in the market is relatively small in part because of the price it has to charge for the loans to address the potential liability involved. The company was the 84th largest FHA lender in the business in 2017.

Chase Home Mortgage CEO Mike Weinbach
Chase Home Mortgage CEO Mike Weinbach

For Chase Home Mortgage to increase its FHA activity, changes to the government program that reduce liability would need to be "fixes that go beyond this administration," Weinbach said.

JPMorgan Chase publicly distanced itself from the FHA market in 2014 after settling an enforcement action. Other large banks have had similar concerns about FHA lending.

But Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Chase Home Mortgage's parent company, and some other bank executives a little over a year ago began calling for reforms that would lessen compliance concerns in areas like FHA lending while expressing frustration with the mortgage market share they lost to nonbanks.

While some large banks have scaled back or largely refrained from FHA lending, for independent mortgage bankers, loans insured by the FHA and the Department of Veterans Affairs are "an important piece of our business," said Stearns Lending CEO David Schneider at the conference.