There was a slight loosening of mortgage credit access
in February, as FHA and VA instituted more streamlined documentation
requirements for their loans. Access
also improved as more investors offered affordable low downpayment
mortgages. The Mortgage Bankers
Association (MBA) said its Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) ticked up
by 0.4 percent compared to January and now stands at 177.8. A decline in the MCAI indicates a tightening
of credit standards, an increase signifies a loosening.
increased offerings and FHA/VA underwriting changes resulted in an increase of
2.3 percent in the Government MCAI and a slight uptick of 0.1 percent in the
Conforming MCAI. However, Lynn Fisher MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics,
noted the impacts of those increases on the overall index was partially offset
by the first downturn in the availability of jumbo credit in a year due to the
consolidation of some large loan programs. The Conventional MCAI was down 2.2 percent
and the Jumbo lost 4.4 percent.
The MCAI is calculated using several factors related to borrower
eligibility (credit score, loan type, loan-to-value ratio, etc.). These
metrics and underwriting criteria for over 95 lenders/investors are combined by
MBA using data made available from a proprietary Ellie Mae's product. Base period and values for the total and
the Conforming indices is March 31, 2012=100; Conventional March 31, 2012=73.5;
Government March 31, 2012=183.5.