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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB finds varying pandemic response among servicers

Federal Issues CFPB Mortgage Servicing Mortgages Covid-19 Forbearance Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On August 10, the CFPB released an overview report of Covid-19 pandemic responses from 16 large mortgage servicers (servicers). The CFPB used supervisory data from the servicers to understand how they are interacting with homeowners throughout the pandemic and if those interactions are effective. The CFPB’s observations include the following:

  • According to the report, most servicers reported abandonment rates, a measure of how many borrowers disconnected from servicing calls before completion, of less than 5 percent during the reporting period, while others exceeded 20 percent, and one peaked at 34 percent.
  • Many servicers saw increased rates of borrowers who were delinquent upon exiting pandemic hardship forbearance programs in March and April 2021 compared to previous months. According to the report, these borrowers “may be at risk of harm from advanced delinquency, foreclosure and foreclosure-related costs, and negative credit reporting.”
  • Delinquency rates ranged from about 1 percent to 26 percent for federally-backed and private loans. According to the report, “[d]elinquency rates increased sharply around March 2020 and remain elevated.”
  • According to the CFPB, “[n]early half of servicers in the report clearly stated that they did not collect or maintain information about borrowers’ LEP [limited English proficiency] status, which may lead to borrowers not receiving needed language assistance. Some of the servicers also reported not maintaining data on borrowers’ race, which may raise the risk of fair lending violations.”
  • The report found that denial rates for Covid-19 hardship forbearance requests were consistently low for both federally-backed loans and private loan forbearance programs.

According to the CFPB, the Bureau “will continue its oversight work through examinations and enforcement, and it will hold servicers accountable for complying with existing regulatory requirements, as well as the amended Mortgage Servicing Rules that take effect August 31, 2021.”

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