On May 13, the FHA released its Blueprint for Access, which previews changes to the agency’s quality assurance process and outlines new housing counseling measures. Following its request last year for input on potential improvements to its quality assurance process, the FHA states that it is developing a new methodology for evaluating underwriting defects, including new criteria that will identify a limited number of specific defects, their related causes, and levels of severity. The FHA also is planning to amend its quality assurance process by (i) expanding its evaluation of loans to include random sampling of performing loans closer to the time of endorsement; and (ii) introducing a supplemental performance metric that will assess lender performance by comparing default rates within three credit score bands to an FHA target rate for each band, rather than to a lender’s peers’ rates. The Blueprint also announced the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) pilot program, which will allow homebuyers to qualify for savings on their FHA-insured loans by completing HUD-approved housing counseling provided through independent nonprofit organizations. Comments on the proposed pilot program are due by July 14, 2014.