Credit standards loosen in August

Expansion in conforming and agency jumbo programs drives a credit availability hike

Credit standards loosen in August
A measure of availability of mortgage credit increased in August, indicating that lending standards loosened during the period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

MBA’s mortgage credit availability index (MCAI) rose 0.7% to 180.2 during the month. The index analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity tool. A decline in the index would indicate tightening lending standards.

All of the index’s four component indices posted increases in August. The biggest increase in availability was seen in the conforming MCAI, which recorded a monthly gain of 1.6%. The conventional MCAI followed with a 1.5% increase, while the jumbo MCAI saw growth of 1.4%. The government MCAI saw slight growth at 0.1%.

"Mortgage credit availability increased slightly in August, driven by the expansion of credit among conforming and agency jumbo programs," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's vice president of research and economics. "Following the same pattern as last month, agency-eligible adjustable-rate mortgage loan programs continued to be updated in August to allow for higher loan-to-value ratios, effectively increasing the availability of credit."

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