WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Friday proposed new eligibility rules for nonbanks selling and servicing mortgages backed by the government-controlled mortgage agencies.
These nonbank mortgage firms will be required to have a minimum net worth of $2.5 million plus a quarter percentage point of the outstanding principal of loans they service, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a statement.
They will also need to have a minimum capital ratio of 6 percent of assets to net worth and keep liquid assets based on the volume of Fannie and Freddie loans they are servicing and the amount of nonperforming loans.
The regulator said it plans to finalize the new requirements in the second quarter, with them going into effect by the end of the year.
The nonbank mortgage servicing industry has come under regulatory scrutiny for a range of irregularities in the servicing of loans. A group of investors on Monday took the first step in launching a lawsuit against one of the largest firms, Ocwen Financial Group, claiming it failed to live up to its agreements to collect payments on $82 billion worth of home loans. (Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir)