Southfield, Mich.-based Signature Associates-ONCOR International, a real estate brokerage firm, has formed a mortgage banking division called Signature Capital. The new division will finance industrial, office, retail, multifamily and other properties in the $1 million to $100 million range.

After testing a new automated underwriting system in a 16-lender pilot program, Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae has released Desktop Underwriter (DU) 5.0. The system, for residential properties, includes expanded mortgage product offerings, streamlined property risk reviews and an improved system to assess a borrower's credit history. In the new program, an applicant's credit characteristics are obtained directly from a credit history. By relying on these credit characteristics, DU 5.0 can provide customized messages explaining underwriting recommendations. The enhanced property risk analysis and review system is designed to allow more borrowers to qualify for an appraisal waiver. When appraisals are required, the program will streamline the property valuation process by allowing exterior-only inspections of homes in up to 50% of loans.