The Federal Housing Administration has updated its user guide for its TOTAL underwriting scorecard, according to Mortgagee Letter 2004-47.The FHA also issued new guidance on counseling requirements for FHA-insured reverse mortgages. The new user guide for the TOTAL scorecard refers to FHA hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages for the first time and incorporates underwriting changes regarding interest rate buydowns and property tax estimates as outlined in Mortgage Letter 2004-28. (TOTAL stands for technology open to approved lenders.) The guidance for FHA-insured home equity conversion mortgages spells out when telephone counseling for HECM borrowers is permissible. "However, any prospective borrower who requests face-to-face meetings with both the lender and the counselor must be accommodated," Mortgagee Letter 2004-48 says.

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