Fannie Mae officials are urging mortgage lenders start implementing new processes to ensure their loans meet the 400 or so eligibility criteria before federal mandates take effect around this time next year. Speaking today at the MBA's first mortgage operations conference in Grapevine, Texas, Angela Benton, vice president of single-family loan acquisitions at the government-sponsored entity, said there are about 500 data points within Fannie's new Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset. "We want to do whatever we can to accommodate customers as you move to the new standards," Benton said. "You're better off knowing now what to do and how to do it, then you'll be when the new mandates start in November 2011." She said there are 97 required data points for all loans to be delivered to a GSE and lenders need to update their systems to account for new points that may not be included currently. But Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal entities have specific requirements for loan submissions. There are 182 conditional requirements, 101 conditionally independent requirements, and 120 optional requirements that may eventually become mandates, according to Benton. "We feel these should reduce time and costs by incorporating one set of loan standards," Benton said. Fannie plans to launch a new test tool Nov. 1 to allow lenders time to test drive the new format for submitting an individual loan or pool of loans to the GSE. Fannie will begin accepting files in the new XML-file format Nov. 22, and the 2,000-character file for delivery will be phased out entirely Sept. 1, 2011. Rosemary Norwood, Fannie's director of technology account management for lenders in the eastern regional office in Philadelphia, said the new initiatives focus on improving data flow between customers and GSEs. "Loan quality is an ongoing initiative, not just a one-time thing," Norwood said. "Data validation continues to be an increasing important step in the process" for delivering loans for GSE approval. She said data validation and verification are of high priority. Lenders need to have loan data at close match data from origination and eventually match data at delivery to the GSE or the loan won't be eligible for GSE backing come January. Norwood said Fannie's EarlyCheck tool can help lenders implement a view of the required data to catch errors and provide ample time to fix them before delivery to the GSE. "A decrease in the number of post-acquisition errors we find lead to less repurchases over time," Norwood said. Timothy Davis, Fannie Mae vice president, single-family loans and MBS servicing, said erroneous data in the GSE's mortgage insurance book led to double-digit percentage changes in its book of business; changes to financial reporting "in the double-digit billions of dollars" and character violations "in the single-digit billions of dollars." Write to Jason Philyaw.