“Mortgage lenders must follow FHA program rules designed to avoid putting federal funds at risk and increasing the chances that borrowers may lose their homes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The Department will continue to hold accountable lenders that knowingly violate material program requirements that cause the government to guarantee ineligible loans.”

During the time period covered by the settlement, IBERIABANK participated as a direct endorsement (DE) lender in the FHA insurance program.  A DE lender has the authority to originate, underwrite and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance.  If a DE lender approves a mortgage loan for FHA insurance and the loan later defaults, the holder of the loan may submit an insurance claim to HUD, FHA’s parent agency, for the losses resulting from the defaulted loan.  Under the DE program, the FHA does not review a loan for compliance with FHA requirements before it is endorsed for FHA insurance.  DE lenders are, therefore, required to follow program rules designed to ensure that they are properly underwriting and certifying mortgages for FHA insurance, to maintain a quality control program that can prevent and correct deficiencies in their underwriting practices, and to self-report any deficient loans identified by their quality control program.  FHA rules also prohibit the payment of commissions to lender underwriting staff in order to avoid improper incentives.  DE lenders such as IBERIABANK certify compliance with material FHA requirements.