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WASHINGTON, DC-Fannie Mae reported its mid-year production figures, revealing a 30% increase in DUS loan production compared to the same period in 2007–a welcome bit of news the GSE lender was happy to deliver, given the events of the last few weeks.”We had the best first six months in the history of the program,” Phil Weber, SVP of Multifamily, told listeners in a conference call. “Fannie Mae is fulfilling its obligations to provide stability and liquidity in this difficult time in the market.”

According to the newly released stats, DUS lenders delivered $18.2 billion of Fannie’s total $20 billion investment in multifamily rental housing in the first half of 2008. The agency also increased its participation across most sectors. Lending in structured transactions, for instance, registered $3 billion for the half year–a 67% increase from the same period last year. The company also invested more than $1.5 billion in seniors housing, and $264 million in student housing, doubling its mid-year 2007 production of $132 million. Fannie Mae’s investment in manufactured housing rose four-fold to $458 million, from $89 million by mid-year 2007.

Now, Fannie is preparing to introduce new products to its DUS community, Manny Menendez, VP of Multifamily Product Development, told listeners of the call. It will be introducing shortly as a Streamlined Rate Lock execution product that allows lenders to lock the interest rate on borrowers’ loans at any point during the underwriting process. “It will provide more delegation to the lenders,” Menendez explained. Currently Fannie Mae offers several rate lock products but they all are encumbered with a prescribed underwriting process. This new product, he said, will be offered “without us prescribing specific rules.”

Fannie Mae also plans to roll out a product that will provide financing from construction to refinance – across the entire property lifecycle, in other words. The GSE currently provides construction financing — this new product will join that with permanent financing and a rate lock capability, Menendez said. “We view product innovation as a key element of the success of our DUS program and we are working closely with DUS lenders to continue to innovate.”

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