This year, Fannie Mae is celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of their Trillion Dollar Commitment, a program characterized by making one trillion dollars available in real estate financing that will place 10 million otherwise underserved families in homes of their own. As Vice Chair of Fannie Mae Jamie Gorelick advised ALTA® members during her commentary at the Association's Mid-Year Convention earlier this year, the trillion dollar goal is far more than a commendable ambition. At mid-1998, Fannie Mae had provided over $500 billion of the trillion in serving some six million families.
Vice Chair Gorelick expressed appreciation for the service of ALTA® President Malcolm S. Morris as a member of the Fannie Mae National Advisory Council, and of ALTA® Member John Cossar, who serves as a State Advisory Council member to the Fannie Mae Partnership Office in his home state of Mississippi. Their dedication toward helping with Fannie Mae activity to improve home ownership opportunities for the underserved across the nation is commendable, she said, and illustrates the vital partnership between Fannie Mae and ALTA® in the housing community. Fannie Mae's state and local housing partnerships are an important element in arriving at a strategic vision for what might be done in a particular community, she added.
The Trillion Dollar Commitment includes opposition to discrimination, Gorelick said, noting that Fannie Mae last year provided $25 billion in affordable housing to help more than 255,000 minority families. Fully 18.5 percent of Fannie Mae financing went to minority families last year, she commented. Minority homeownership is considered a key market growth area by Fannie Mae; last year, there was almost a 30 percent increase in minority home ownership across the country while the rate among white families remained about the same.
Fannie Mae has used technology for reaching out to larger markets, Gorelick said, pointing out that the organization's web site experiences 55,000 hits per day. For the minority community, which often does not have similar access to technology, the organization has paid for connections to 17 local library systems, so individuals can use them in learning about homeownership.
Use of the organization's Desktop Underwriter automated underwriting system has increased dramatically, according to Gorelick, who said some 500 lenders will underwrite a million loans on it this year.
Among activities involving the title industry, Gorelick said Fannie Mae, at the request of the California Land Title Association, is involved in a task force to extend a legislative pilot program on electronic recording of mortgage documents, including mortgage deeds of trust and satisfaction lien releases. She pointed out that current state legislative authority allows local governments, California title insurers and Fannie Mae, to record images of these documents in FANNIE MAE
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place of paper on the county land records. The task force, she said, is seeking to extend the sunset on this authority to 2002, and to allow more California counties to participate.
Gorelick noted that ALTA®, in 1995, joined Fannie Mae in sponsoring a symposium on the Recording Standardization and Electronic Recording Act that created the partnership to legally and technically establish the pilot program in California.
Fannie Mae has joined with ALTA®, Chicago Title Insurance Company, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and the American Bar Association in supporting a task force focused on studying national recording standards to advance the use of technology in the real estate industry. Comprising the task force are members of the National Association of County Recorders and Clerks, the International Association of County Recorders, and election officials and treasurers. Gorelick said she considers it essential to explore the impact of changes on the industry to assess what kind of change will be most effective, and what it means to everyone involved.
Fannie Mae is working closely with the Texas Land Title Association, in close cooperation with Stewart Title Guaranty Company, to assess changes in title coverage resulting from a state constitutional amendment adopted last year, which allows home equity lending.
Finally, Gorelick said she and ALTA® President Morris have spoken with Mayor Archer of Detroit, to help him develop a 10-point neighborhood recovery plan that includes dealing with regulatory barriers and clearing titles. This includes teaming with Detroit title companies in developing creative approaches to insuring titles .