The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced a new initiative by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to improve the consistency and quality of data for appraisals and other loan information. This will enhance the depth of collateral, borrower and loan data submitted to the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The Uniform Mortgage Data Program is a long-term, joint effort to create improved and uniform data standards and collection processes. The GSEs have worked with industry participants to develop the uniform standards. “FHFA directed the enterprises to undertake the development of the standards to provide greater uniformity in the data they collect," said FHFA Director Edward J. DeMarco. "This initiative is a major step toward meeting industry requests for uniformity in appraisal and loan data. Improvements in data quality will benefit all mortgage market participants and strengthen the housing finance system." A common framework will increase efficiency for lenders while enabling the GSEs to manage risk more effectively. The common data standards will provide uniformity for appraisers, mortgage lenders and servicers and other information providers in their data submissions to the GSEs. This data standards program will be deployed by the GSEs in phases, through a common platform, and provides for continued stakeholder input. Each of the GSEs has independently gathered input from seller-servicers, appraisers and other market participants on the need for improved data and consistency in data definitions. This input has been used to drive the uniform standards and the deployment approach and timeline. With this announcement, the GSEs will be gathering additional input on the program. The planned changes have been structured to leverage most existing originator and appraiser technologies and to facilitate increased use of electronic-based forms and documents in the mortgage process. Under the program, data submitted to the GSEs on loans sold to or guaranteed by them will include more complete and consistent data on: Loan characteristics, borrower information, the property securing the loans and the identity of the parties creating the transaction. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue their own proprietary reviews of appraisal and loan information, using their own unique business models and policies," said DeMarco. "However, we asked the enterprises to work together to implement a common data protocol that will ultimately benefit borrowers, lenders and other market participants. Common data definitions, electronic data capture, and standardized data protocols will improve efficiency, lower costs and enhance risk monitoring. The uniform system includes protocols for incorporating new technologies and to meet new legal requirements.” For more information, visit www.fhfa.gov.