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MISMO and the U.S. government join forces.

At the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) Annual Convention in October, MISMO[R] and Ginnie Mae announced an alliance agreement. We are very pleased about this agreement on multiple levels--it's a win-win-win alliance agreement for Ginnie Mae and MISMO, as well as the industry as a whole.

In a nutshell, the agreement establishes a new government workgroup within MISMO, which will be led by government personnel who will use MISMO's robust infrastructure and standards-creation process to create extensible markup language (XML) specifications for government interfaces in the housing sector.

Ginnie Mae and other government agencies will win because they benefit from the use of MISMO's infrastructure and tools, and nearly 2,400 participants for their expertise and potential contributions to the end product. Infrastructure tools such as file-sharing, Web-session sharing and e-mail list announcement distribution will all be utilized. MISMO wins from having a partnership with one or more government agencies that will create and publish their specifications through MISMO. The industry wins by having seamless connectivity between government and commercial industry trading partners and investors.

The purpose of the alliance is the development and publication of MISMO standards relating to electronic mortgage transactions involving government entities. MISMO standards include, but are not limited to, data standards and protocols, and standards for electronic mortgages (eMortgages). As such, we feel this alliance is supportive of the purposes of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, which directs federal agencies to use voluntary consensus standards developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies in lieu of government-unique standards.

In furtherance of the purpose of the alliance, Ginnie Mae and MISMO will establish one or more Government Housing Workgroup(s) within MISMO. It is anticipated that members of the Government Housing Workgroup(s) will include representatives of interested government entities and private-sector companies.

The structure and operation of the Government Housing Workgroup(s), and the rights and obligations of Government Housing Workgroup members, will be governed by MISMO's established policies and governance documents, including the MISMO terms of use, the policies and procedures (PAPs), and, most important, MISMO's proven intellectual property rights (IPR) policy, which allows for royalty-free licensing of all standards published by MISMO.

It is intended that standards proposed by the Government Housing Workgroup(s) will be consistent with existing MISMO standards, and Government Housing Workgroup standards will themselves be adopted as, and incorporated into, MISMO standards. It is envisioned that MISMO would release interface specifications for Ginnie Mae systems initially and in the future, it is hoped, for other government agencies including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development's Rural Housing Service.

These new specifications would be based on existing MISMO specifications and data dictionary, and be extended to fully meet Ginnie Mae's specifications. Ginnie Mae's short-term plan is to offer a MISMO-based XML and a flat-file-based specification for investor reporting into Ginnie's new system.

The Government Housing Workgroup(s) will report its standards (complying with government interface requirements) to the associated business group within MISMO. From there, the proposed standard will be vetted in the business group, and then will move forward with MISMO's traditional process of review and approval.

This structure allows for government agency personnel to meet and come to a common agreement on standards (e.g., FHA controls origination criteria for loans that Ginnie Mae securitizes), and then overlays that understanding onto MISMO's established process. The Government Housing Workgroup(s) is expected to grow and potentially subdivide in the future into various government process areas. The initial full workgroup will be open to any participant (such as the other MISMO workgroups). Ginnie Mae is also actively considering creating guidelines for the acquisition of eMortgage SMART Docs[TM] to enter the realm of eMortgage-based securities.

This represents a great example of the government partnering with the mortgage industry to build uniform interfaces that correlate with interface implementations that exist already. This is a great illustration of where the government is going in terms of standardization of interfaces in its ongoing effort to continue to embrace and deploy commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) systems. This will produce lower costs and shorter implementation times.

We are hopeful that Ginnie Mae will be a leading example for other government agencies as we move forward to a more uniform, standardized environment for mortgage transactions.

If you are interested in participating in the new Government Housing Workgroup, sign up or contact MISMO at

Gabe Minton is vice president of industry technology for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and executive vice president for MISMO. He can be reached at
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Title Annotation:MISMO Memo; Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization; Government National Mortgage Association
Author:Minton, Gabe
Publication:Mortgage Banking
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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