Mortgage credit standards loosen in March

Mortgage credit availability still tight, but shows signs of improvement, says MBA

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While federal agencies are concerned about how tight mortgage lending credit standards have become since the financial market and housing industry collapse of 2008, economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) noted a loosening of mortgage credit availability last month. According to the MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report that analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool, the index increased 2.3 percent to 121.4 in March. The MCAI is calculated using several factors related to borrower eligibility, such as credit score, loan type and loan-to-value ratio. Metrics and underwriting criteria for more than 95 lenders and investors are combined by MBA using data made available via the AllRegs Market Clarity product and a proprietary formula derived by MBA to calculate the MCAI, a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. A ...