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FHFA Sets Transition To New Credit Models For Late 2025

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on Thursday that the transition to new credit score requirements is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2025, a decision commended by the mortgage industry. 

That’s when the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will acquire single-family loans based on the FICO 10T and VantageScore 4.0 credit models, replacing the Classic FICO score that has been in place for decades. The GSEs will also transition from a tri-merge system to a bi-merge system at that time. 

“Following extensive stakeholder engagement and input, FHFA is aligning the implementation date of the bi-merge credit reporting requirement with the transition from the Classic FICO credit score model,” the FHFA said in a statement. 

If implemented in Q4 2025, the transition to the new requirements will take three years since the change was first announced in October 2022. The original implementation timeline was for first-quarter 2024, but it was delayed by concerns expressed by stakeholders and members of the U.S. Congress. 

The GSEs are aiming to accelerate the publication of VantageScore 4.0 historical data, from Q1 2025 to Q3 2024. But they are still working alongside the FHFA to achieve conditions for acquiring and publishing FICO 10T model data. 

“Synchronizing bi-merge credit reporting with the implementation of the new credit score model requirements will reduce complexity for market participants, which is a key objective of our transition efforts,” FHFA director Sandra L. Thompson said in a statement.  

The FHFA believes the new models will increase accuracy in credit scoring as they provide multiple views of credit risk for market participants. This should also improve competition as credit reports from two, rather than three, of the national credit bureaus may be used. 

Scott Olson, executive director of the Community Home Lenders of America (CHLA), commended the FHFA for updating its credit score requirements. 

“The details of these updates will be important, and we look forward to working with FHFA over the next few years to ensure that this saves money for borrowers — particularly those who are underserved and first-time homeowners,” Olson said. 

But while the industry expects changes, credit reports have become more expensive.

In 2024, FICO is charging one price — higher than last year’s price — to all mortgage lenders, independent of their volumes, in a departure from the tier-based pricing structure it implemented in early 2023. It’s also collecting the same per-score price for soft pulls and hard pulls, an initiative that started in 2023 despite significant differences in these products.

High costs have accelerated the transitions by some lenders to new credit models for several products, mainly those outside of the GSE space. The list includes lenders such as Movement MortgageCrossCountry Mortgage and Premier Lending

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