New Fed rules. Beginning Oct. 1, 2009 new rules adopted by the Federal Reserve will go into effect, requiring greater diligence on the part of mortgage lenders and brokers who issue high-cost loans for borrowers with less than favorable credit. The interest rates on these loans are at least 1.5 percentage points greater than the average prime mortgage rate. The regulations, which were finalized in July 2008, prohibit lenders from making a high-cost mortgage without verifying that a borrower could repay the loan in the conventional way, and not through a foreclosure sale.
During the height of the market, subprime lenders often would offer loans without requiring borrowers to provide proof that they could make the monthly payments. In some cases, borrowers used stated income loans, which allowed some borrowers to fabricate annual income figures and buy homes without down payments.
Although many believe the Federal Reserve’s new rules represent one of the more substantial efforts on the part of the federal government to combat such lending practices, some consumer advocates are concerned. According to a policy associate at the Center for Responsible Lending, the new regulations do not cover option ARMs, which enable borrowers to choose from several monthly payment options during the loan’s early years.
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