FHA launches new partial claim payoff portal

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced on Thursday the launch of a new portal for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Single Family Mortgage Asset Recovery Technology (SMART) system.

The streamlined SMART portal allows borrowers and servicers to request payoff amounts in real time for FHA partial claims or subordination checklists, which are used to refinance FHA loans.

Additionally, the portal can be used by third parties, including title companies, originating lenders, and attorneys acting on behalf of borrowers and title companies, the administration said.

The launch of this new portal may be a signal that the FHA — after what seems to have been a slight pause — is going full steam ahead in their modernization initiative, which was announced by HUD two years ago.

A report published by HUD’s inspector general in 2021 outlined that the administrations modernization plans hit a snag in the first part of last year.

The reason for the stall stemmed from staff vacancies and employee turnover, which were exacerbated during the presidential transition, the report said.

In February, Lopa Kolluri, principal deputy assistant secretary at the FHA, acknowledged that there have been delays, mainly impacting FHA’s Catalyst program, but said that the administration is back on track with their modernization initiative.  

“I feel really good about where we are with FHA Catalyst,” she told HousingWire.

In 2020, HUD’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) developed a roadmap for the department to modernize its outdated IT systems. The FHA, Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and mainframe modernization were placed as top priorities.

So far, Congress has allocated $20 million per year from fiscal year 2019 to 2021 to fund FHA’s single family housing modernization.

Meanwhile, in a 2022 president’s budget, HUD requested $323.2 million to fund maintenance and operations of its IT systems, up $23.2 million from the year prior. Of the total, $25 million is being requested to continue FHA’s modernization initiatives.

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