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VA proposes partial claim payment program

Federal Issues Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages Covid-19 Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CARES Act

Federal Issues

On December 9, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register, which would establish a temporary program to help veterans return to making normal loan payments on VA-guaranteed loans after exiting a Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) forbearance period, known as “the COVID–19 Veterans Assistance Partial Claim Payment program” (PCP). The proposal would allow the VA to assist a veteran exiting a CARES Act forbearance by purchasing the amount of the veteran’s CARES Act indebtedness needed to bring the loan current, known as a “partial claim payment.” In exchange for the VA’s partial claim payment, the veteran would have to agree to repay the VA the amount of the PCP.

In order to qualify for the PCP, servicers must first evaluate the borrower for loss-mitigation options already available in the VA program. For a loan to qualify for a PCP, among other things, (i) the guaranteed loan must have been either current or less than 30 days past due on March 1, 2020; (ii) the borrower must have received a CARES Act forbearance and missed at least one scheduled monthly payment; and (iii) there remains at least one unpaid monthly payment that the veteran did not make while under a CARES Act forbearance. Moreover, the amount of the partial claim payment cannot exceed 15 percent of the unpaid principal balance of the guaranteed loan on the date the borrower entered into the CARES Act forbearance. The PCP would have an annual interest rate fixed at 1 percent, with an automatic 60-month deferment period while interest accrues, and a total term of 120 months.

The proposal does not include an effective date, but the VA requests comments on how a final rule that is not effective for 30 or 60 days following publication might negatively impact veterans, servicers, and other stakeholders. Additionally, the VA asks whether there would be enough time for industry implementation of the partial claim payment program if the final rule is effective 7 days after publication.

Comments on the proposal are due by January 8, 2021.

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