Brian Montgomery has been sworn in as an assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the new housing commissioner.As commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, Mr. Montgomery is expected to take several administrative actions to make FHA single-family loans a more attractive product for lenders and other real estate professionals. On June 20, the FHA amended its guidelines for closing costs and fees to allow real estate agents to charge an administrative fee on FHA loans on top of their regular sales commission. This administrative fee generally ranges from $250 to $300, and it can now be financed into the loan amount. The National Association of Realtors welcomed HUD's decision. "This is part and parcel of HUD's attempt to elevate the use of the FHA and to increase its [loan] volume," said Peter Morgan, the NAR's regulatory policy representative. "I think this is one step of probably many they are going to be taking," Mr. Montgomery previously served in the White House as a deputy assistant to the president. Former FHA Commissioner John Weicher left HUD at the end of April.

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