Fannie Mae has adopted a new policy in which it may accept offers to purchase homes it has repossessed without notifying loan servicers.

Loan servicers may be required to reimburse Fannie Mae for a loss if it turns out the original mortgage on the home did not meet its eligibility or underwriting requirements.

Fannie Mae previously allowed servicers 15 days to turn over loan files for review if there was a question over whether a mortgage on a repossessed property met Fannie Mae’s requirements. Loan servicers then had the option of trying to find a better offer for the property or buy it themselves rather than reimburse Fannie Mae for any loss.

To speed up sales of foreclosed properties, Fannie Mae says after beginning the property disposition process by obtaining opinions on the market value of a repossessed home and listing it with a real estate broker, it may now accept a purchase offer without first notifying the servicer, whether or not a final decision has been reached with respect to the review.

"If, after completion of the review, Fannie Mae determines that the mortgage loan did not meet its eligibility or underwriting requirements and Fannie Mae has incurred a loss by selling the property, the lender will be required to fully reimburse Fannie Mae for its loss," the company said in a bulletin to loan servicers.

In its most recent quarterly report, Fannie Mae said it had 72,275 REO properties on its books at the end of September, up 7 percent from a year ago. The company acquired 98,428 homes through foreclosure during first nine months of 2009 — 40,959 in the third quarter alone — and sold 89,691.

Fannie Mae’s sister company, Freddie Mac, reported REO inventory totalling 41,140 homes at end of September, up 46 percent from a year ago. The company acquired 24,375 home during the quarter, and sold 17,941.

In its most recent monthly summary, Fannie Mae said the serious delinquency rate (loans three or more months behind in payments or in the foreclosure process) on single family home loans it owns or guarantees jumped to 4.98 percent in October, up from 1.89 percent the same time a year ago.

Freddie Mac’s single-family portfolio delinquency rate rose to 3.72 percent in November, up from 1.52 percent in November, 2008, the company said.

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