Because of much tighter underwriting standards, it's harder for a consumer to get a mortgage these days, but that frugality is translating into high quality loans for Fannie Mae.

That was the message delivered by Fannie CEO Michael Williams at a luncheon Wednesday. Williams highlighted such initiatives as requiring higher credit scores, more documentation, and better appraisals.

"By adopting these standards, we have begun to build a new book of business with some of the highest quality loans we have ever seen," said the CEO.

Speaking at a Women in Finance and Housing luncheon, he said the GSE is building a "new foundation" for the mortgage industry, but the secondary market agency is not "turning [its] back" on low-, moderate- and middle-income families.

"We're making sure these Americans have the same access to mortgage credit as upper-income families," he said.

However, borrowers have to be "ready and prepared" to become successful homeowners, said the Fannie chief.

Meanwhile, Williams would not comment on the growing debate about what to do with the Fannie and Freddie Mac conservatorships and the future of the housing finance system.

"We understand that many options are on the table. And we feel confident that we are taking the steps necessary to prepare for all outcomes and put the company on the right track," he noted.

He said the GSE will continue to remain focused on its job. "That means doing everything we can to strengthen our new book of business, to help struggling borrowers and cut our legacy losses, to keep funding the mortgage market, and to prepare Fannie Mae for the future of housing finance," the CEO said.

Subscribe Now

Access to a full range of industry content, analysis and expert commentary.

30-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Access coverage of the securitization marketplace, including breaking news updated throughout the day.