On March 15, HUD announced the completion of FHA’s loan-level certification, Form 92900-A. Significantly, the final certification clarifies FHA’s “longstanding position” that “minor mistakes that do not affect the decision to approve a loan are not the focus of [FHA’s] compliance efforts” and that “lenders will be held accountable for only those mistakes that would have altered the decision to approve the loan.” The certification also clarifies that lenders are required to certify only “to what they know to be true to the best of their knowledge” and that they are not responsible for “mistakes or fraud committed by a third party that the lender did not or could not have had reason to know of.” Finally, the certification removes references to the pre-endorsement review requirement. HUD issued Mortgagee Letter 2016-16 to advise mortgagees of the revised certification, which is effective August 1, 2016.
On March 15, HUD’s proposed revisions to the FHA annual lender certification were published in the Federal Register. According to HUD’s announcement, the primary revision to the annual lender certification form is the “addition of language requiring lenders to certify that they have not been involved in fraud or other serious criminal or civil violations that would call into question their ability to carry out the responsibilities of the program.” Previously, this language was included in the loan-level certification. In addition, the proposal also amends the lender-level certification statement regarding compliance with all FHA regulations and requirements by (i) adding guidebooks to cover certain FHA policy; (ii) revising the language to clarify the intent and scope of the statement; (iii) removing timeframes and revising the qualifier so that it matches the similar qualifier in other statements; and (iv) detailing reporting requirements in HUD Handbook 4000.1. Comments on the proposal are due April 14, 2016.