Takeaways From the 2024 ELA Conference

March 21, 2024

Members of the Berkadia FHA/HUD recently attended the 2024 Eastern Lenders Association (ELA) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. ELA is a non-profit organization of FHA-approved lenders and industry partners whose goal is to foster communication between its members and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Leadership.

The conference was a great opportunity to connect with subject matter experts and hear from influential speakers on pertinent topics affecting the industry and our clients. The Berkadia team came away from the conference with a renewed sense of enthusiasm about the partnership with HUD. Below we have detailed our major takeaways.

Efficiency, Transparency and “Getting to Yes”

Stated efforts by HUD to “get to yes” in deal processing have been thoroughly felt and appreciated by lenders.  We have almost unilaterally seen improvement in HUD’s timing and reviews.

The Northeast Regional Director of HUD has indicated that they are almost fully staffed, with nearly 250 employees, a 32 percent increase over pre-pandemic levels. In addition to deal processing, the current focuses are training new staff and gaining efficiency through standardization of processes.

HUD 223(f) loans are the bulk of Northeast region production for the fiscal year of 2024. At least one HUD 223(f) refinance deal achieved a processing time as quick as two weeks, for which HUD should be applauded. However, there has been a greater effort to work with lenders and borrowers on complex deals, rather than outright rejecting them, leading to longer processing times for such situations. 

The members of ELA and HUD leadership are in agreement that increased communication between HUD and lenders is necessary to provide better transparency to borrowers. This includes providing a framework for lenders to ask HUD staff for updates and for staff to put greater focus on sharing timelines and accomplished underwriting milestones. There will be forthcoming major process improvements via updates to HUD’s underwriting system that should help with this. Berkadia is looking forward to being able to share further updates as this process proceeds.

Flood Plains

HUD will be revamping the process by which they assess flooding risk to their properties, moving to supplement the current reliance on FEMA flood maps. There are some changes that may make more properties eligible for HUD financing, particularly those impacted by floodways. However,  other changes may expand the scope of properties that are required to carry flood insurance.

Berkadia will be monitoring these changes carefully, along with the rest of the industry. It is clear that HUD is concerned about the impact of flooding on their portfolio and wishes to be thoughtful about how best to insure against potential future losses.

241(a) to Rehabilitate or Add Units to an Existing HUD Mortgage

With the current interest rate environment, HUD loans with low interest rates are increasingly valuable to owners and potential buyers. Mortgages that may have been paid off in other times are now staying in place.

The 241(a) program has been around for decades, but recently has gained popularity as it will finance up to 90% of the cost of additions and/or repairs to an existing FHA-insured mortgage. (Note: Risk Share mortgages are not eligible for 241(a)). HUD’s 2020 MAP Guide lays out a more definitive process for these projects, and HUD further clarified guidance during these sessions.

Berkadia has closed two of these loans within the last few months, with more in progress. This is an incredibly valuable tool for owners of current FHA insurance to make repairs and/or additions to an existing HUD mortgage, while leaving the existing low interest rate mortgage in place. Reach out to us today for more details!


Through organization by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Berkadia, along with other HUD approved lenders, continue to stress to HUD the importance of increasing production volumes to provide housing to Americans. In this vein, HUD is evaluating the possibility of loosening up DSCR and LTC levels for 221(d)(4)s in an effort to increase the supply of rental housing.

These measures combined with the above-described additional transparency and process focus by HUD will continue to ensure that HUD remains an excellent source of liquidity and capital to the multifamily market in the years to come. Berkadia is more excited than ever about our position as the #1 HUD Multifamily lender – the best is yet to come!

– Gemma Geldmacher, Joe DeGiorgi, Amy Gay, Nick Nicholson, Matt Sato and Dede Matthews