The Federal Housing Administration is expanding its approved lending areas to include groups of states so that lenders can operate nationwide with only 13 branch offices.Currently, lenders have to have a minimum of 25 registered offices to originate FHA loans in all 50 states. "If the mortgagee only wants to originate in the 48 continental states and the District of Columbia, this number can be reduced to as few as 10 offices in some instances, according to an FHA lender letter. The mortgagee letter (2005-40) also allows FHA lenders to operate nationwide via the Internet or call centers through one registered office. "Each mortgagee will be limited to only one branch ID number for its direct nationwide lending operation," the mortgagee letter says.

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