Congress created the Federal Housing Administration in 1934. At this time, nearly two million construction workers were laid off. Only four out of ten people owned their own home. In addition, mortgage loan terms were outrageous. Borrowers had to put 50 percent down, and the note ballooned in 3 to 5 years. So the mission of the FHA was to encourage home ownership.
The FHA became a part of HUD, which is the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in the year 1965. In the mid-1980’s, the FHA transitioned to what we call direct endorsement and began approving lenders to underwrite and close their own loans. Prior to this time, the FHA did have a hand in the process of the loan.
It’s amazing to me that after 20 years of this direct endorsement program being in effect, nearly eight out of ten real estate agents I speak with still think that the FHA has a hand in the process of the loan. This is something that’s very important for you to know. When you’re working with real estate agents, you need to make it clear to them that the loan will be processed like any other loan.
What the FHA Does Not Do
It’s also very important to know what the FHA actually does and does not do.
The FHA does not buy loans, they do not originate loans, and they do not service loans. What the FHA does do is provide insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders. It is actually the pioneer in mortgage insurance. As you know, mortgage insurance protects the lender in case of default on that loan.
Here are a couple of additional FHA facts:
- The FHA is the only government agency that operates entirely from its own income, and costs the taxpayers nothing.
- It is also the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring nearly 30 million properties since its inception in 1934.