Utah Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney have raised concerns about a new Biden administration policy that will raise mortgage costs for some homebuyers with high credit scores, while lowering costs for buyers with lower credit scores.

Those who defend the change say it will make homeownership more affordable for low income borrowers, but those who oppose the change say it will make the mortgage industry riskier and create poor incentives for buyers.

The new Federal Housing Finance Agency rules, which went into effect May 1, will affect people who are borrowing money to buy a home through a conventional mortgage — other types of mortgages are not affected. Buyers with smaller down payments and lower credit scores will typically qualify for lower costs than they would have, while buyers with higher credit scores and larger down payments will see their costs go up.

The rule changes will mean up to thousands of dollars in savings for some borrowers, while leading to thousands of dollars in higher costs for others.

In a statement provided to the Deseret News, Romney said the new rules make “no sense.”

“Created as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Housing Finance Agency was designed to be nonpartisan,” Romney said. “This latest directive from the Biden Administration flies in the face of that. It makes no sense — other than to appease progressives — to re-work mortgage fee structures that lead borrowers with strong credit scores to subsidize the costs for borrowers with low credit scores. Hardworking Americans should be rewarded, not punished, for making responsible financial decisions.”

Romney and other Republican senators are asking the Government Accountability Office to determine whether they can challenge the new rule through congressional action. Even if they do manage to get a resolution through Congress overturning the rule, Biden may veto it, as he has vetoed similar challenges to executive branch policy changes.

Lee also opposes the policy. He joined with several other Republican senators in signing on to a letter sent in April to the head of the federal agency who oversaw the rule change. The senators called the policy “shortsighted and counterproductive.”

“Our housing system rests on the bedrock principles that individual financial responsibility should be rewarded and that accurately tailoring financial products to the risk-profile of a consumer is necessary to ensure safety and soundness for the entire system,” the letter says. “Your proposal, however, brazenly contradicts these core tenets by penalizing those who have diligently met their financial obligations and earned higher credit scores.”

The letter asks Sandra Thompson, the agency’s director, to respond to several questions related to whether the policy will make housing markets more risky and whether her agency asked for comment from the mortgage industry before implementing the changes.

With mortgage interest rates climbing over the past year, the housing market has already slowed considerably, as borrowers face higher payments. This new policy will drive those payments higher for some borrowers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a borrower with a credit score over 680 who makes a 20% down payment on a home will pay about $40 more a month on a $400,000 loan, which translates to an increased cost of $14,400 over 30 years.

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But not all mortgage industry officials think the rule changes are bad.

Jessie Van Wagoner, a Utah-based branch manager with Castle & Cooke Mortgage, told the Deseret News the changes will mean more families will be able to purchase homes.

The rules, he said, were “adjusted to assist in the challenges we all face pertaining to home affordability and will allow those with less than perfect credit and smaller down payments to achieve the American dream of homeownership.”