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WASHINGTON, DC-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have come to terms on a common format for their automated underwriting systems. According to a statement released by the locally based Mortgage Bankers Association, the specs will allow companies to send the same “base” data file to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for an underwriting decision.

The specifications are composed of a data dictionary and “document type definition,” which is a set of rules used to build an extensible mark-up language. The definition is extendible so that other underwriting organizations can use it. Also, parts of it can be reused in other loan-origination transactions to help maintain uniformity.

“This is a significant step forward in our initiative to create transparent, open standards,” says Rob Couch, CEO of New South Federal Savings Bank and chairman of the MBA Technology Steering Committee. “We look forward to working continually with mortgage companies to help them utilize and enhance the standard.”

The newly adopted standards were hammered out with the help of the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization, a group formed in January of last year to address E-commerce issues in the mortgage industry. It is made up of members of MBA, technology companies, and other industry representatives, including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

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