Freddie adds reviews of borrower bank account data to help underserved applicants

Freddie Mac announced that it will include borrower bank account data in its mortgage underwriting to identify patterns of positive monthly cash flow.

The government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) will begin using such data as part of its loan purchase eligibility assessments on Nov. 6. With borrower permission, lenders and brokers can submit financial account data into Freddie’s automated underwriting system, Loan Product Advisor (LPA), to identify 12 or more months of cash-flow activity via the risk-assessment tool.

Financial data can be acquired from checking, savings and investment accounts, including those used for direct deposits of income and monthly bill payments. The data obtained in this fashion can only be used to positively affect the borrower’s credit-risk assessment.

According to Freddie, the change will help increase homeownership opportunities for borrowers who may fall through the cracks when it comes to established mortgage credit criteria. It’s the latest forward-thinking move from the GSE, which also began to consider on-time rent payments in its underwriting this past summer.

“With the addition of positive monthly cash flow data, our underwriting system can help with more accurately predicting a borrower’s ability to pay their mortgage because it uses a comprehensive view of how personal finances are managed over time,” said Terri Merlino, Freddie Mac Single-Family senior vice president and chief credit officer.

“Our latest innovation levels the playing field and helps make homes more accessible to borrowers whose lenders might not have qualified them with traditional methods of underwriting,” Merlino added. “This should particularly help first-time homebuyers and underserved communities.”

To make it easier to recognize opportunities where bank account data could help strengthen a borrower’s credit profile, LPA will automatically notify lenders when an application could benefit. Freddie announced that several service providers are already supporting the new process, including Blend, Finicity, Formfree and PointServ.

“Working alongside our industry partners, we have made significant progress toward modernizing the mortgage origination process,” said Kevin Kauffman, Freddie Mac Single-Family vice president of client engagement. “In the current market, our latest industry-leading innovation delivers lender efficiencies that can lead to cost savings and improvements to the borrower experience, while meeting Freddie Mac’s strong credit underwriting standards.”


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