FHFA Delays GSE Refinance Fee to Dec. 1

The Federal Housing Finance Agency today delayed a 50 basis point fee it had planned to start imposing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinanced mortgages. Instead of taking effect Sept. 1, the fee will be imposed Dec. 1, and it will exempt refinance loans with balances of less than $125,000 to preserve refi accessibility for low-income borrowers.

American Bankers Association SVP Joseph Pigg described the delay as “an important step in the right direction,” adding that “we will continue to urge FHFA to carefully assess whether this fee, even delayed until December, could unnecessarily harm struggling homeowners and the broader economy.”

A broad coalition including ABA, the state bankers associations, other national financial trade groups and consumer organizations have expressed concern the fee, citing the cost of $1,400 it would add to a typical refinance at a time when many consumers are attempting to reduce household expenses, and warned that its Sept. 1 effective date would raise costs for loans already in the application pipeline.