Lending standards tightened in February, especially for conforming and super-conforming (jumbo) loans. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) declined by 1.2 percent in February. The composite index fell to 180.7 from 182.9 in January while some components retreated to multi-month lows. A decline indicates a tightening of lending standards while an increase means the reverse.
Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics, reported that, "Credit availability fell in February by 1.2 percent, led downwards by a decline in conventional offerings. A change in program offerings from a single large investor in the conventional space was responsible for much of the net decline. The decline in February returned the jumbo component index to levels just above year-end levels, and the conforming component index to levels just above last October. The government component index continued along the same modest downward trajectory that it has been on for nearly a year."
All four of the composite's components moved lower. The Conventional MCAI was down 2.5 percent, the Conforming index was down 2.1 percent, and the Jumbo MCAI dropped by 2.8 percent. The Government MCAI suffered an 0.2 percent loss.
The MCAI is benchmarked at March 2012=100 as are the Conforming and Jumbo versions. The Conventional MCAI and Government MCAI are benchmarked to the same date but at 73.5 and 183.5 respectively.