FHFA adds incentives to go the extra mile in duty to serve

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Final "duty to serve" evaluation guidance for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aims to include more incentives for the agencies to go above and beyond mandatory increases in lending to underserved markets.

The final guidelines increase incentives for "robust levels of extra-credit activities," according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The FHFA released its final guidelines Wednesday.

Extra-credit activities can improve scoring designed to determine whether and how well the government-sponsored enterprises fulfill duty-to-serve requirements.

The GSEs can get extra credit for activities that "are particularly challenging to accomplish in an underserved market or that serve a segment of an underserved market that is relatively less well-served," according to the guidelines.

To get extra credit, the GSEs must engage in activities that support mortgage financing of affordable housing in certain areas. Eligible areas and properties include mixed-income housing "in an area of concentrated poverty."

While the FHFA increased incentives for some extra-credit activities, it also reduced the number of activities eligible for extra credit.

Other changes in the final guidelines are designed to improve the transparency of the "non-objection" standard the FHFA uses to determine that the GSEs' proposed plans adequately address the needs of particular underserved markets.

The FHFA in its final guidelines also aimed to give the enterprises more flexibility to add new activities while implementing plans, clarify certain definitions that qualify the GSEs for residential economic diversity credit and adopt "a more rigorous final performance system" for the agencies.

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GSEs Affordable housing Law and regulation FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac