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  • Agencies issue disaster relief guidance for California wildfires

    Federal Issues

    On November 13, the OCC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD issued disaster relief guidance related to the California wildfires. The OCC issued a proclamation permitting OCC-regulated institutions, at their discretion, to close offices affected by wildfires and high winds “for as long as deemed necessary for bank operation or public safety.” In issuing the proclamation, the OCC noted that it expects that only those bank offices directly affected by potentially unsafe conditions will close and that they should make every effort to reopen as quickly as possible to address the banking needs of their customers. The proclamation directs institutions to OCC Bulletin 2012-28 for further guidance on natural disasters and other emergency conditions.

    Fannie Mae reminded servicers of available mortgage assistance options for homeowners impacted by the wildfires: (i) qualifying homeowners are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months without incurring late fees and without having delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus; (ii) servicers may immediately suspend or reduce mortgage payments for up to 90 days without any contact with homeowners believed to have been affected by a disaster; and (iii) servicers must suspend foreclosures and other legal proceedings for homeowners believed to be impacted by a disaster. Freddie Mac similarly reminded servicers of these mortgage relief options.

    HUD announced an automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured home mortgages for covered properties and is further making FHA insurance available to those victims whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac OCC HUD Mortgages Disaster Relief

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  • Freddie Mac announces temporary selling requirements related to Hurricane Michael

    Federal Issues

    On November 7, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2018-20 (Bulletin) to announce temporary selling requirements for certain mortgages secured by properties that Hurricane Michael impacted, and borrowers whose properties or places of employment Hurricane Michael impacted. For properties located in eligible disaster areas that Hurricane Michael affected on or after October 11, the Bulletin, among other things, provides (i) age of documentation requirements that will remain in effect for six months; (ii) specific collateral requirements and guidance; and (iii) for reimbursement of property inspections completed on and before April 11, 2019, for sellers that meet certain requirements. The Bulletin notes that Freddie Mac will not update the Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide to include the temporary requirements that the Bulletin announces, and advises sellers to retain a copy of the Bulletin to ensure compliance with these requirements.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Freddie Mac Selling Guide Disaster Relief Mortgages

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  • Freddie Mac guide features new chapter on disaster relief

    Federal Issues

    On October 17, Freddie Mac released Guide Bulletin 2018-18, which announces selling updates, including a new chapter on properties affected by disasters. Effective November 19, the Freddie Mac Selling Guide will now include Chapter 4407, Properties Affected by Disasters, which outlines requirements and provides certain flexibilities for the origination of mortgages secured by properties impacted by disasters. The chapter also introduces a “major disaster plan,” which, if implemented by Freddie Mac, would allow for flexibilities in both documentation requirements and in value estimates for Freddie Mac Relief Refinance Mortgages.

    The Bulletin also covers, among other things, (i) updates to the Loan Collateral Adviser for mortgages secured by condominium units; and (ii) updates to the requirements for Condominium Projects.

    Federal Issues Freddie Mac Disaster Relief Mortgages Selling Guide

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  • FinCEN encourages financial institutions affected by Hurricane Michael to communicate BSA filing delays; extends FBAR filing deadline

    Financial Crimes

    On October 15, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a notice to financial institutions that file Bank Secrecy Act reports to encourage communication with FinCEN and their functional regulators regarding any expected filing delays caused by Hurricane Michael. FinCEN also reminded financial institutions to review advisory FIN-2017-A007, previously covered by InfoBytes, which discusses potential fraudulent activity related to recent disaster relief schemes.

    The same day, FinCEN issued a second notice for certain filers affected by Hurricane Michael to extend the deadline for submitting their 2017 calendar year Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs). FBARs for affected filers are now due February 28, 2019.

    Find more InfoBytes disaster relief coverage here.

    Financial Crimes FinCEN Disaster Relief Bank Secrecy Act

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  • VA encourages loan holders to extend relief to borrowers impacted by Hurricane Michael

    Federal Issues

    On October 15, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-18-23, requesting relief for homeowners impacted by Hurricane Michael. Among other things, the Circular encourages loan holders to (i) extend forbearance to borrowers in distress because of the storms; (ii) establish a 90-day moratorium from the date of the disaster on initiating new foreclosures on affected loans; (iii) waive late charges on affected loans; and (iv) suspend reporting affected loans to credit bureaus. The Circular is effective until October 1, 2019. Mortgage servicers and veteran borrowers are also encouraged to review the VA’s Guidance on Natural Disasters.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Department of Veterans Affairs Disaster Relief Mortgages Mortgage Servicing

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  • Federal, state financial regulatory agencies issue guidance for institutions affected by Hurricane Michael

    Federal Issues

    On October 10, the OCC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, NCUA, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (collectively, the “agencies”) issued a joint statement providing guidance to financial institutions impacted by Hurricane Michael. The agencies encouraged lenders to work with borrowers in impacted communities to modify loans as appropriate based on the facts and circumstances of each borrower and loan. In addition, the agencies assured lenders that they would (i) expedite any request to operate temporary facilities to provide more convenient services to those affected by Hurricane Michael; (ii) not generally assess penalties for institutions who take prudent steps to satisfy any publishing or reporting requirements, including by contacting their state or federal regulator to discuss satisfaction of such requirements; and (iii) consider granting institutions favorable Community Reinvestment Act consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery.

    On the same day the joint statement was issued, the FDIC issued a statement encouraging depository institutions to assist affected customers (see FIL-59-2018), which may include “waiving fees, increasing ATM cash limits, easing credit card limits, allowing loan customers to defer or skip payments, and delaying the submission of delinquency notices to credit bureaus.” The FDIC also encouraged depository institutions to use Bank Secrecy Act-permitted “non-documentary verification methods” for customers unable to provide standard identification documents and stated that prudent efforts taken to meet customers’ cash and financial needs “generally will not be subject to examiner criticism.”

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues FDIC OCC Federal Reserve Disaster Relief CRA Bank Secrecy Act Consumer Finance

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  • OCC provides guidance to institutions affected by Hurricane Michael

    Federal Issues

    On October 9, the OCC issued a proclamation permitting OCC-regulated institutions to close their offices affected by Hurricane Michael in the Gulf Coast region. The OCC noted that only institutions directly impacted by the potentially unsafe conditions should close, and that those offices should attempt to reopen as soon as possible to serve their customers’ banking needs. OCC Bulletin 2012-28 provides further guidance on natural disasters and other emergency conditions.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues OCC Disaster Relief

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  • Freddie Mac announces temporary selling requirements related to Hurricane Florence

    Federal Issues

    On October 3, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2018-17 (Bulletin) to announce temporary revisions to its selling requirements for certain mortgages and borrowers impacted by Hurricane Florence. The Bulletin also reminds servicers that the previously announced temporary reimbursement process for property inspections conducted on or after August 29, 2017, of mortgaged premises located in “Eligible Disaster Areas,” remains in effect. Among other things, the temporary selling requirements: (i) provide that sellers who meet certain requirements will be reimbursed for property inspections completed on and before March 14, 2019; (ii) specify age of documentation requirements that will remain in effect for six months for certain mortgages and borrowers; (iii) provide specific collateral requirements and guidance, including sellers’ responsibilities with respect to property damage, appraisal waivers, and collateral representation and warranty relief—along with notice of updates to Loan Selling Advisor, Loan Quality Advisor, and Loan Product Advisor. The Bulletin notes that the Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide will not be updated to include the temporary requirements and advises sellers and servicers that they must retain a copy of the Bulletin to ensure compliance with these requirements.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Freddie Mac Selling Guide Disaster Relief Mortgages

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  • FinCEN encourages financial institutions affected by Hurricane Florence to communicate Bank Secrecy Act filing delays; extends FBAR filing deadline

    Financial Crimes

    On September 26, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a notice to financial institutions that file Bank Secrecy Act reports to encourage communication with FinCEN and their functional regulator regarding any expected filing delays caused by Hurricane Florence. FinCEN also reminded financial institutions to review advisory FIN-2017-A007, previously covered by InfoBytes, which discusses potential fraudulent activity related to recent disaster relief efforts.

    The same day, FinCEN issued a second notice for certain filers affected by Hurricane Florence to extend the deadline for submitting their 2017 calendar year Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). FBAR reports for affected filers are now due January 31, 2019.

    Find more InfoBytes disaster relief coverage here.

    Financial Crimes FinCEN Disaster Relief Bank Secrecy Act

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  • Agencies offer relief following Hurricane Florence

    Federal Issues

    On September 19, the SEC announced regulatory relief to publicly traded companies, investment companies, accountants, transfer agents, municipal advisors, and others impacted by Hurricane Florence. The SEC order conditionally exempts affected persons not able to meet a filing deadline due to the weather event and its aftermath from certain reporting and filing requirements of the federal securities laws, for the period from and including September 14 to October 26, with all reports, schedules or forms to be filed on or before October 29. Additionally, the SEC adopted interim final temporary rules that extend the filing deadlines for certain reports and forms that companies must file under Regulation Crowdfunding and Regulation A. 

    On September 18, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued Circular 26-18-18, requesting relief for homeowners impacted by Hurricane Florence. Among other things, the Circular encourages loan holders to (i) extend forbearance to borrowers in distress because of the storms; (ii) establish a 90-day moratorium from the date of the disaster on initiating new foreclosures on affected loans; and (iii) waive late charges on affected loans. The Circular is effective until October 1, 2019.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues SEC Department of Veterans Affairs Disaster Relief Mortgages Securities

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