Fannie Mae close to launching larger student loan refi program: Sources

SoFi was apparently just the beginning

Fannie Mae will soon announce policy changes to address the exploding volume of student debt, according to sources close to the matter.

In November, Fannie Mae announced a new loan option through SoFi — a lender that offers both student loans and mortgages — that allows homeowners to refinance their mortgage at a lower rate and pay down the balance of an existing student loan.

Now, sources say, Fannie Mae is ready to expand that program to other lenders.

The solution is part of Fannie’s effort to make homeownership affordable to the millions of Americans who now owe more than $1.4 trillion in student debt. This debt precludes many potential homeowners, particularly Millennials, from qualifying for a mortgage.

Because student loans typically carry a much higher rate than mortgages, borrowers who pay off student loans by adding to their mortgage debt could still come out far ahead.

And, in addition to the student loan cash-out refinance, Fannie is rumored to be adding two other programs. One would change the way student debt counts against a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio if that debt is paid by others, such as parents. Removing that debt, which averages more than $37,000 for 2016 graduates, could make a huge difference in qualifying borrowers for a mortgage.

The other new program would allow lenders to recognize student loan payment information on credit reports. Under this scenario, the millions of people paying student loans responsibly would get the benefit of using it to build good credit.

Under SoFi’s Student Loan Payoff Refi, the company mirrored Fannie Mae’s eligibility requirements. No word yet on whether the rumored new loan programs will operate similarly.

HousingWire will continue to provide details as they become available.

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