Lenders must adhere to a new certification when making a Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgage. The FHA unveiled a step Tuesday that said it would make it easier for banks to avoid steep penalties for some errors committed during the mortgage process, reports Joe Light of The Wall Street Journal. (subscription required).

With the new provision, banks’ liabilities for some loan errors will be limited, which could mean mortgages will become easier to get for borrowers who qualify for government backing but have low credit scores or high debt.

The FHA doesn’t make loans. Instead it sells insurance that makes investors whole when a loan defaults. The FHA backs loans to home buyers or mortgage refinancers with a down payment of as little as 3.5% and a credit score of as low as 580 on a scale of 300 to 850.

Ed Golding, who heads the FHA, said the agency hopes the changes will make more loans available to borrowers with credit scores below 680, a group that in recent years has struggled to find lenders willing to make loans.

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