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Ginnie Mae doubles net worth requirement for multifamily program

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Ginnie Mae doubled the net worth requirement for its multifamily program, changed how that figure is calculated and adopted new capital requirements for issuers. The government agency guarantees timely payment of principal and interest on federally insured loans to investors of mortgage-backed securities. On Monday, Ginnie raised the base net worth requirement to $1 million from $500,000 and said that value will be 1% of the remaining principal balance on loan draws of between $25 million and $175 million. Another 0.2% is tacked on for loan draws larger than $175 million. Ginnie Mae now also wants issuers to hold liquid assets of $200,000, or 20% of the net worth requirement, to "help ensure funds are available when there is a need for cash to fund loan buyouts and/or pay for potential indemnification requests from insuring agencies." Lenders now must have "sufficient capital to cover their financial risks on an institution-wide basis." Banks and thrifts are mandated to have a Tier 1 capital ratio equal to 5% of total assets, 6% to risk-based assets and a total capital ratio of 10% to risk-based assets. Nonbanks and credit unions need to hold total equity ratio of 6% to total assets. The changed net worth mandates are effective immediately for lenders trying to obtain issuer approval for the first time, and existing issuers must comply by May 1. Multifamily issuers have until Oct. 1 to meet the liquid-asset and capital requirements. In a memo to all participants of programs run by Ginnie Mae, President Ted Tozer said the changes were made to ensure the agency's program requirements "align with the rapidly changing housing finance market." In September, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision announced reforms to global-banking standards that increase the minimum common-equity requirement to 4.5% from 2% and order banks hold a capital-conservation buffer of 2.5%, as well. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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