Robert E. Story Jr., CMB, chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, has issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the conference report for HR 3288, the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The bill contains at least $80 million for technology upgrades and $20 million for fraud detection programs at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as additional funds for fraud detection and prosecution at the U.S. Department of Justice. Below is Story's comment: "Given the growing number of loans that FHA is being asked to insure, this increased funding is critical to give FHA the resources it needs to effectively handle its growing market share. FHA's share of loan originations has increased nearly tenfold over the last couple years, which is why it is important to enable the agency to improve its technology and improve its risk management. "We are also gratified to see increased funding at both HUD and Justice for the detection and prosecution of mortgage fraud. It is important that FHA be given the resources to protect the integrity of the insurance programs. "Further, fraud perpetrated against mortgage lenders costs the industry billions of dollars every year--costs that lenders are forced to pass on to potential borrowers. The industry has been at the forefront of this fight, working closely with state and federal law enforcement to identify and bring to justice those who commit mortgage fraud. "We look forward to the Senate moving quickly to pass the conference report." For more information, visit www.mortgagebankers.org.