TAMPA, Fla. (4/29/09)--Tampa Bay FCU says it's expanding its real estate lending/servicing division so it can handle the surge in the refinancing market for mortgages serviced by Fannie Mae. "In the first quarter of 2009, we have seen a surge in new clients taking advantage of refinancing their Fannie Mae mortgages," said Dean Clark, manager of real estate lending/servicing for the credit union, a Fannie Mae-approved loan servicer. If Fannie Mae owns the mortgage, "the homeowner can pretty much go with any new finance options, which gives incredible advantages in the declining real estate market," Clark said. (PRNewswire April 27). In March, the Treasury Department released guidelines and updates for a Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, which Fannie Mae was quick to adopt with a Refi Plus program. The Refi Plus program provides easier loan-to-value guidelines so more homeowners can take advantage of current lower interest rates. The advantages of a refinancing with the credit union include having a local lender, local servicer and local decision-maker, said the $278 million asset credit union. The Refi Plus loan also lowers closing costs, provides exemption from intangible state tax, includes no origination, underwriting or processing fees, and no third-party broker fees and comes with competitive interest rates, the credit union added.