Fannie Mae Reports Results, Progress in 2013
Since 2009, Fannie Mae has funded $4.1 trillion in loans and provided access to housing for millions of families.
Homeowners will appreciate that Fannie Mae remains the country's leading source of single-family financing, enabling more people across the country to buy, refinance or rent a home.
According to Fannie Mae's recently published Progress Report, this liquidity helps create stability in the housing market. "For the individual, (liquidity) means affordable mortgage credit is available. For our nation, it means a more stable economy," Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos wrote.
Many homeowners don't realize Fannie Mae's profits go back to taxpayers. "We will have paid a total of $121.1 billion in dividends to Treasury as of March 2014, which is approximately $5 billion more than we have received in taxpayer support," pointed out Mayopoulos.
Keeping Families in Their Homes
In 2013, Fannie Mae helped many struggling homeowners like Yvette stay in their homes or find alternatives to foreclosure through a loan modification.
Yvette, purchased her northern New Jersey home in 2008 and lives with her two adult daughters and granddaughter. She works full-time as an executive assistant, and anticipated that when her daughters graduated from college they would contribute to the household finances. But that hasn't been the case. They graduated into a stagnant job market and neither found employment in their desired field. A friend suggested she contact a Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Center. A Fannie Mae representative worked with Yvette's mortgage company to modify the mortgage—saving Yvette $447 a month.
In addition to assistance through modifications, Fannie Mae has helped over 1 million families like Ruben's refinance their mortgage under Fannie Mae's Refi Plus™ initiative, which includes the Administration's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).
A retired Air Force officer, Ruben bought his four-bedroom ranch-style home in Sacramento, California, in 2007. Two years later, he was reassigned to the East Coast. It was a slow time for Sacramento's housing market, and he was unable to sell the home. He eventually found a renter, but between what he owned on the mortgage and what he was able to collect for rent he was losing $1,000/month.
He approached his mortgage company about a refinance in 2013, and within three weeks had refinanced under HARP to save $763 a month.
There are also times when families can no longer afford their homes, and will need to leave.
To that end, Fannie Mae works with families to help them sell their home, or voluntarily transfer the mortgage back to Fannie Mae (Mortgage Release™).
Fannie Mae's goal is to sell properties it owns within a short time to new owners to minimize the impact on the community. And that's where HomePath comes in….Fannie Mae-owned properties are listed on HomePath.com, complete with photos and descriptions. HomePath lets visitors enter or choose simple parameters (like price range and number of bedrooms) to find matching properties.
According to Jane Severn, a marketing director in the Real Estate Asset Management group, Fannie Mae prefers to sell HomePath properties to buyers who will live in the home, as opposed to investors who plan to rent or sell the home. Because these homes are competitively priced, they often attract first-time buyers, homeowners who want a larger home, or retirees looking to consolidate, she notes.
Help on Many Fronts
During 2013, Fannie Mae refreshed its Know Your Options website, adding content to educate consumers on all aspects of homeownership and renting. "Fannie Mae's mission is to help people rent, buy or refinance their homes, so our Know Your Options website has grown from its original focus of helping homeowners avoid foreclosure to become more inclusive and offer additional assistance," notes Courtney Green the marketing manager who directed the site refresh.
Other help was more hands-on. Fannie Mae's Know Your Options Community team met with thousands of at-risk homeowners like Chicago homeowner Agnes who was confused about the status of her loan modification. She met with Fannie Mae housing advisor Richard Staples and received help on the spot: Her servicer acknowledged the oversight and agreed to work with her to resolve the situation. "Agnes left the event with a smile on her face knowing she's finally making progress on the permanent modification," notes Staples.
In addition, thousands of homeowners each year receive help from Fannie Mae's Mortgage Help Centers and Resource Information Center. During 2013, Fannie Mae opened the first of two new regional call centers to offer distressed borrowers nationwide telephone and email support.
Fannie Mae also steps in when disaster strikes. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the co-op beachfront apartment owned by Robert and Meng. Unable to live in the building, they endured the difficulty of paying their mortgage and renting a home nearby. They reached out to Fannie Mae in 2013 for help and were granted a 12-month forbearance. At the end of the forbearance period, they will be considered for a modification.
"This arrangement helps the family stay up-to-date with their mortgage payments while the building is being rehabilitated and they can move back," Angelica Vasquez, the manager of the Miami Mortgage Help Center told NewsFeed at the time.
And although Fannie Mae stopped purchasing reverse mortgages in 2010, the company partnered with Florida Housing Finance Corp. (Florida Housing) and Florida Department of Elder Affairs, to launch the Elderly Mortgage Assistance Program (ELMORE), which uses state Hardest-Hit Funds to assist seniors struggling with property-related expenses so they can stay in their homes.
Fannie Mae's Progress Report has more stories about the company's progress in assisting America's homeowners and supporting the housing recovery. Explains Mayopoulos: "We have supported the housing recovery, strengthened our company, and improved the way we and industry partners do business…and we are helping to build a safer, more sustainable housing finance system for the future."
(Editor's Note: this article recaps information published in Fannie Mae's 2013 Progress Report and Know Your Options news articles that appeared during 2013.)