WASHINGTON—U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) President Lindsey Johnson today issued the following statement on guidance provided by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to the Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements (PMIERs), PMIERs 2020-01, effective June 30, 2020. PMIERs are a set of operational and risk-based capital requirements implemented in 2015 and updated in 2018 for private mortgage insurance (MI) companies to be approved to insure loans acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“USMI supports the actions taken by federal policymakers, particularly the FHFA, to stabilize the economy and provide assistance to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said USMI President Lindsey Johnson. “USMI’s member companies are well-positioned to support the FHFA and GSEs’ efforts to ensure that homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19 are able to stay in their homes and maintain a safe and secure environment for their families.”
Today, USMI member companies are well capitalized, collectively holding more than $4.6 billion in excess of the minimum required assets as of March 31, 2020. The private MI industry provides dedicated entity-based capital support to the U.S. housing market and is uniquely positioned to continue serving as strong credit risk protection for the GSEs and taxpayers, and as a source of low down payment lending during COVID-19 and through the recovery.
The new PMIERs 2020-01 guidance provides, among other changes, additional clarity and special consideration for the risk-based treatment of loans affected by COVID-19. Under the 2018 update, a capital factor was introduced to differentiate mortgages subject to a GSE forbearance plan done in response to a Major Disaster Declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) due to natural disasters. This type of forbearance is often used for natural disasters such as hurricanes or other shorter-term disasters that occur in a specific geographic area, and generally have a definite period for the event. However, due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 disaster, including its national scope and the ongoing duration of the health and economic effects, the PMIERs language needed additional clarity, which we are pleased FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac understood and provided.
“Through the combination of the industry’s entity-based equity capital, use of credit risk transfer, and strong underwriting and risk management, the private MI industry is well positioned to continue to serve as a source of strength in the housing finance system during this pandemic and the ensuing recovery,” continued Johnson.
U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) is dedicated to a housing finance system backed by private capital that enables access to housing finance for borrowers while protecting taxpayers. Mortgage insurance offers an effective way to make mortgage credit available to more people. USMI is ready to help build the future of homeownership. Learn more at www.usmi.org.