Federal Housing Regulator To Clarify Lending Rules: WSJ

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Looking to support greater access to mortgages, clearer federal rules may be announced next week over risks faced by lenders who make home loans, according to a Friday report from the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this year, Mel Watt, regulatory chief of federally controlled mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced several moves aimed at supporting consumers' access to credit, including relaxing terms for when Fannie and Freddie demand sellers repurchase a loan. According to WSJ, FHFA will soon clarify those terms. Industry executives and economists say the housing market's recovery has been hampered over the past year by overly restrictive standards that prevent credit-worthy borrowers from getting a loan. Lenders, worried about financial and legal risks attached to making mortgages, have only slightly eased standards from the lofty measures erected in the wake of the financial meltdown. WSJ's story also said that Fannie and Freddie may start backing loans with down payments as low as 3%.

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