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Program Updates for Lenders

Recent Montana Housing updates and program announcement memos for lenders are archived below. 


Feb. 27, 2020 - Rate Decrease

The decision was made to lower Montana Housing’s Regular Bond Program Rate to 3.25%. This new rate will take effect immediately!!!

The Set-aside Rate has drop to 3.00% and the rate for the down payment assistance programs (MBOH Plus and Bond Advantage) is now 3.50%. Please remember that the annual household income limit for the MBOH Plus Program is $55,000, regardless of family size.

As a reminder, 3 years of tax returns are required as part of the loan documentation for our programs. Any loans closing after January 1, 2020 do require the borrower’s 2019 tax returns along with 2017 and 2018. These can be treated as a "To Follow" document but must be received by Montana Housing by June 1, 2020.

Thanks for all your help working with the borrowers of Montana and helping their dreams of homeownership become a reality.


Feb. 10, 2020 - VHLP Update, City Tax, Income, RD Loan Limits & New Lender

All of us at Montana Housing hope your 2020 is going well.

The Montana Veterans Home Loan Program (VHLP) has had a lot of activity.  Kudos to all lenders for helping to provide this low interest rate funding to our veterans.  The funds available for the program are running low, there is less than a million dollars remaining.  Reservations of these funds can be made through Lender Online on a first come first serve basis. 

As a reminder, the funds available for this program are displayed on Lender Online and we update the site each month as payments come in.  Besides an occasional payoff, we receive approximately $100,000 a month back into this program, so use of the program is very limited.  Please be sure to keep an eye on the website if you have a borrower who would qualify and can wait until funds become available.  At this time, Montana Housing does not intend to set up a wait list for this program because of the unpredictable rate of recapture, so please monitor our Lender Online (LOL) System for available balance and rates as needed.

Be aware that any City Taxes that may be imposed needs to be paid outside Montana Housing’s Servicing realm.  These taxes are not escrowed and need to be paid directly by the borrower. 

We would also like to remind you to input the income in Lender Online as the borrower’s annual income, not the monthly income.  There are filters built into Lender Online that validate the borrower’s income against our income limits, this will only work if it is keyed in as annual income.  Also, the amount input on Lender Online carries over to the Borrower’s Affidavit, if the borrower signs it at closing and it is incorrect, you will be required to correct it and have the borrower initial the correction as a condition for purchase.

 One example of how this can cause problems is if the Annual income of the borrower being input for the MBOH + Program exceeds the limit of $55,000 and a monthly salary is input, the reservation of funds will be accepted.  This loan will not be compliant and other arrangements for the funding of the home will need to be found.   Please be sure all fields are input correctly on Lender Online. 

There has been some confusion regarding how much Montana Housing will finance on homes guaranteed by Rural Development (RD).  Our limit for a loan amount is the purchase price plus the guarantee fee, the Term and Conditions will be updated to reflect this.

Our next Board meeting will be February 10.  Our partners are always welcome to attend or listen in.  The instructions and agenda can be found on our website: housing.mt.gov.  We’ll be welcoming a new lender, Pacific Residential Mortgage located in Bozeman. 

Remember that our Training and Development Specialist, Julie Hope, is available to conduct on-line training as needed.  She can be reached at jhope@mt.gov, 406-841-2851.

We continue to enjoy working with you all to help provide homeownership to Montanans.  Remember that we have a set-aside rate of 3.25% to assist borrowers utilizing HOME Funds or HomeStart assistance programs.  The rate on our Regular Bond Program is currently set at 3.5% and don’t forget about our in-house second mortgage programs, MBOH Plus and Bond Advantage.  These programs qualify as the borrowers FHA minimum cash investment and the rate on these programs is 3.75%. 

Please let us know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding any of our policies or programs.


Dec. 20, 2019 - Net Funding, P.R. Checks, Payment Coupons, Staff Intro & New Lenders

2019 has been a productive year, thank you for helping us to provide our programs to Montana homebuyers.  Below are a few updates and reminders as we move into the New Year.

Montana Housing is in full swing purchasing loans net funded and the process is going well.  Up to this point, we have only been net funding the borrower’s initial escrow and the tax service fee, now we are ready to add the final step…. principal reductions. Starting with the first purchase in January 2020, Montana Housing will net fund principal reductions that are listed on the final closing disclosure.  This will be accomplished by reducing the principal amount being purchased by the amount of the principal reduction listed on the final closing disclosure and interest will be calculated on this reduced principal amount.  Final closing disclosures are a required document in the purchase package, please be sure that it is included and identified so the correct amounts of principal reductions and initial escrows can be netted at the time of purchase. 

Unless you are currently approved to service loans sold to Montana Housing, you should not interim service a Board Loan.  The first payment and all subsequent payments need to be sent to MBOH Servicing Department.  First Payment letters and payment coupons are available on Lender Online as part of the loan’s PDF Documents for your convenience.

Recently, our servicing department has discovered that Montana Housing is not listed as mortgagee on hazard insurance policies as required by our program.  At the time of purchase, we accept a letter addressed to insurance companies to list us as mortgagee, please be sure these letters are being sent so policies are updated.

We would also like to remind you to input the income in Lender Online as the borrower’s annual income, not the monthly income.  There are filters built into Lender Online that validate the borrower’s income against our income limits, this will only work if it is keyed in as annual income.  Also, the amount input on Lender Online carries over to the Borrower’s Affidavit, if the borrower signs it at closing and it is incorrect, you will be required to correct it and have the borrower initial the correction as a condition for purchase.  Please be sure all fields are input correctly on Lender Online. 

Update your Montana Housing contacts.  We have a brand-new staff member, Jim Neary, who replaced Hannah Rotter.  Ryan Baker, who we hired earlier this year, is being left off many Montana Housing email requests from lenders.  We’re happy to have them both on our team and want to be sure you incorporate them into your communications with us.  Jim Neary can be reached at James.Neary@mt.gov, 406-841-2853 and Ryan can be reached at RBaker3@mt.gov, 406-841-2847.  Introduce yourselves if you haven’t already.

Also joining the MT Housing Team are two lenders.  AmCap Mortgage, Ltd. DBA Major Mortgage and Open Mortgage were recently approved by our Board, we look forward to working with them both.

Remember that our Training and Development Specialist, Julie Hope, is available to conduct on-line training as needed.  She can be reached at jhope@mt.gov, 406-841-2851.

MT Housing staff hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.  Please remember we have several programs available to assist your borrowers with their home purchases including the Veterans’ Home Loan Program and our two down payment assistance programs, Bond Advantage and MBOH Plus.

Please let us know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding any of our policies or programs.


Sept. 20, 2019 - Weekly Purchase, Net Funding & Tax Service Fee Increase

Montana Housing will begin weekly purchases October 7.  Purchase packages will continue to be reviewed on a first come first serve basis and we will complete the initial review of the file within 15 days of the date of receipt. The only difference is that funding will now take place every Monday rather than every other Monday, so you don’t have to wait quite so long to have your loans purchased.

We’re also working towards Net Funding of initial escrows and tax service fee at the time of purchase to eliminate the process of lending partners mailing checks to Montana Housing’s Servicing Department.  We will deduct the initial escrow amount listed on the closing disclosure and the tax service fee from the funds we remit at the time we purchase the loan.  The purchase advice will indicate the amounts deducted.  Some lenders are already conducting business in this manner and it’s working well.  Lenders will be contacted by Homeownership’s Program Manager to begin this new process. 

As a reminder, no interim servicing is allowed on the loans sold to Montana Housing, so please do not pay any MICs or other escrow items on behalf of our borrower.  These payments will be handled by our Servicing Department. 

Remember that the Tax Service Fee Increase is effective October 15, 2019!!  The fee will increase to $69.00.

MT Housing staff hope you all had a wonderful summer and are enjoying fall.  Please remember we have several programs available to assist your borrowers with their home purchases including the Veterans’ Home Loan Program and our two down payment assistance programs, Bond Advantage and MBOH Plus.

Please let us know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding any of our policies or programs.


Aug. 15, 2019 - Tax Service Fee Increase

We have been notified by our tax service provider that effective October 15, 2019 our tax service fee will be increased to $69.00. This will affect loans that close October 15 or later. We want to give you plenty of upfront notice for proper disclosure. We also want to remind you that the Bond Advantage Program is available and is a great option for your borrowers. It offers a second loan of up to $10,000 to be used for down payment and/or closing costs, with the same affordable rate on both the 1st and 2nd loan and follows our regular bond program parameters in most respects. All of us at Montana Housing hope you’re having a fun and safe summer. Thank you for your continued partnership.


Aug. 2, 2019 - Rate Drop 

Today, August 2, effective immediately, the MT Housing Regular Bond Program interest rate is dropped to 3.50%!

This means the corresponding set-aside rate is now 3.25% since it follows the regular bond rate less 0.25%.

The down payment assistance program rate also drops 0.25%, adjusting the rate for both the MBOH Plus+ and Bond Advantage Programs to 3.75%.

We want to remind you that the Bond Advantage Program is available and is a great option for your borrowers.It offers a second loan of up to $10,000 to be used for down payment and/or closing costs, with the same affordable rate on both the 1st and 2nd loan.

All of us at MT Housing hope you’re having a fun and safe summer.Thank you for your continued partnership.


July 15, 2019 - DPA Change Reminder 

As per the memo dated June 27, the MBOH Plus+ 0% Program income limit of $55,000 (regardless of household size) becomes effective today. Reservation will not be accepted for loans where the total of all incomes of occupants over 18 years of age exceed $55,000 (household income, not qualifying income). The lender fee for this program has also been increased to $175 to match the Board’s other DPA program, all other parameters remain the same. The current rate for the 1st loan in this program is 4% (subject to change).

We also wanted to remind you that the down payment assistance program formerly known as Score Advantage is now called Bond Advantage. The maximum DPA loan amount has been increased to $10,000 and the rate is no longer dependent upon the credit score. There is one rate (for both the 1st and 2nd loan) and it is currently set at 4.0% (subject to change). Remember that all borrowers now need to have a minimum 620 credit score in order to utilize this program. Access to the reserve loans in the Score Advantage Program has been eliminated. If you have a Score Advantage Loan in process that still needs to be reserved, please contact us. Existing reservations in this program can still be accessed via Lender Online.

Thank you for your continued participation in our programs. We hope you are having a wonderful summer!


June 27, 2019 - New Down Payment Assistance Program Parameters 

Montana Housing has been evaluating the DPA programs we offer due to a change in the source of funds used to provide down payment assistance, we have took the opportunity to improve the amortizing DPA, but must restrict the deferred program. Attached to this email are the new Terms and Conditions (T & C) for both down payment assistance programs and below we have highlighted the most significant changes.

The Score Advantage DPA Program is now called the Bond Advantage Program and is available for use by your borrowers. Changes include an increase of the maximum DPA loan amount to $10,000 and the rate will no longer be dependent upon the borrower’s credit score. There will be one rate (for both the 1st and 2nd loan) and that rate is currently set at 4% (subject to change). Finally, the minimum credit score will remain at 620, but this will be for all borrowers (no credit score may still be accepted – please see T & C’s).

The MBOH Plus+ Program will keep its name but will have changes. The maximum DPA loan amount will remain at $6,500 with a back-end ratio of 43% and minimum credit score of 620 for all borrowers, however we are implementing a more restrictive income limit of $55,000 (regardless of household size). Please be advised this is household income, not qualifying income. The income limit will be effective for new loans reserved on July 15th. We are also increasing the fee the lender can charge to $175 so both programs will be the same.

The program documents to be used with these programs are available in Lender Online once a loan has been reserved and program information is available on our website. Please let us know if you have any question regarding these changes. Thank you for your continued support and participation in our programs and have a great weekend.

 


MONTANA HOUSING | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S. PARK AVE, STE 240 | PO BOX 200528 | HELENA, MT 59620-0528 | P: 406.841.2840 | F: 406.841.2841 | TDD: 406.841.2702 | TOLL FREE: 800.761.6264 

 

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