The U.S. Rural Housing Service is in the last stages of perfecting an automated underwriting system that should be available to all lenders in January 2007.The guaranteed underwriting system can provide approvals on RHS-guaranteed single-family loans in 30 seconds, according to RHS Administrator Russell Davis. After a lender submits the application data, GUS pulls a credit report and runs it through the scorecard. GUS also has unique features to make sure borrowers meet RHS income limits and the property is located in a rural area. GUS uses geographic information system mapping software to pinpoint the location of the property. Since Aug. 1, eight lenders have originated 133 RHS loans using GUS, and more lenders are being added to the pilot program. "GUS is a premier, high-quality system," Mr. Davis said. "It will be much easier for borrowers to shop, and we believe we have a very attractive product."

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