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  • VA updates fee guidance for IRRRLs

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 28, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-19-17, which provides new funding fee guidance to lenders and servicers concerning Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans (IRRRLs). The new guidance, effective immediately, requires, among other things, that: (i) a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) be obtained for IRRRLs to ensure the funding fee exemption information is up to date at the time of closing; (ii) lenders ask active duty servicemembers if they have a pre-discharge claim pending, and, if so, contact the Regional Loan Center to request assistance in obtaining a proposed or memorandum rating in the event the servicemember is eligible for a funding fee exemption; and (iii) if a lender or servicer is notified by the VA or the veteran of an overpayment of a funding fee, such lender initiate a refund request in the Funding Fee Payment System (FFPS) within three business days.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Department of Veterans Affairs Refinance Fees Mortgages IRRRL

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  • Legislation eliminates VA conforming loan cap

    Federal Issues

    On June 25, President Trump signed HR 299, the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.” Among other changes, the bill (i) adjusts the loan fees applicable to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) home loan guaranty program by providing a new loan fee table; and (ii) eliminates the program limit on the guaranty amount, which is based on the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit determined under section 305(a)(2) of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act. The bill will allow VA borrowers to borrow above the conforming loan limit, currently set at $484,350, for loans guaranteed on or after January 1, 2020.

    Federal Issues Freddie Mac FHFA Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages

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  • VA encourages relief for Arkansas borrowers

    Federal Issues

    On June 20, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-19-16, encouraging mortgagees to provide relief for VA borrowers impacted by severe storms and flooding in Arkansas. Among other forms of assistance, the Circular encourages loan holders and servicers to (i) extend forbearance to borrowers in distress because of the severe storms and flooding; (ii) establishes a 90-day moratorium from the disaster date on initiating new foreclosures on affected loans; (iii) waives late charges on affected loans; and (iv) suspends credit reporting. The Circular is effective until July 1, 2020. Mortgage servicers and veteran borrowers are also encouraged to review the VA’s Guidance on Natural Disasters.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief guidance here.

    Federal Issues Department of Veterans Affairs Disaster Relief

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  • VA encourages loan holders to extend relief to Louisiana and Oklahoma borrowers

    Federal Issues

    On June 18, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-19-14 and Circular 26-19-15, encouraging relief for VA borrowers impacted by severe storms in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Among other things, the Circulars encourage loan holders to (i) extend forbearance to borrowers in distress because of the severe storms and flooding; (ii) establish a 90-day moratorium from the disaster date on initiating new foreclosures on affected loans; (iii) waive late charges on affected loans; and (iv) suspend credit reporting. The Circulars are effective until July 1, 2020. Mortgage servicers and veteran borrowers are also encouraged to review the VA’s Guidance on Natural Disasters.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief guidance here.

    Federal Issues Department of Veterans Affairs Disaster Relief

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  • OIG finds exempt veterans being charged VA home loan funding fees

    Federal Issues

    On June 6, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report concluding that the VA improperly charged exempt veterans VA home loan funding fees. According to the OIG, from 2012 through 2017, the VA charged approximately 72,900 exempt veterans around $286.4 million in funding fees, which represents 3 percent of the total amount of funding fees collected during that time. The OIG reports that, while the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that the VA produces is intended to assist lenders in identifying the exempt veterans, “many COEs reflected an outdated, incorrect, or missing exemption status resulting in veterans being incorrectly charged a funding fee.”

    Additionally, the OIG found that the VA does not have a policy in place to identify and issue refunds for inappropriate funding fee charges. Currently the VA relies on the veterans to contact the VA and file a claim for a refund, although the VA has not published a standard form for the request. Based on the findings, the OIG recommends that the VA develop a plan to (i) identify exempt veterans who were inappropriately charged funding fees and issue refunds; (ii) create system enhancements or procedural changes that minimize inappropriate funding fee charges; (iii) conduct periodic reviews to identify exempt veterans charged funding fees from January 1, 2018, forward and issue refunds in a timely manner; and (iv) consistently obtain documentation and verify lenders apply the funding fee refunds to loan balances in a timely manner.

    Federal Issues Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages OIG

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  • Ginnie Mae seeks feedback on changing standards for VA loan securitization

    Federal Issues

    On May 3, Ginnie Mae published a Request for Input (RFI) soliciting feedback on potential changes to the parameters governing loan eligibility for pooling into its mortgage-backed securities (MBS). As previously covered by InfoBytes, in May 2018, Ginnie Mae announced changes to pooling eligibility requirements for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans “to address abnormal prepayment patterns in some mortgages pooled in Ginnie Mae MBS that negatively affect MBS pricing, to the detriment of home mortgage loan affordability.” In the RFI, Ginnie Mae notes its focus on adverse trends in the trading of some Ginnie Mae MBS relative to securities issued by Fannie Mae, and cites published commentary and analysis that its MBS are “believed to be susceptible to refinance activity out of proportion to what should be expected from prevailing economic conditions.” The RFI now seeks feedback on, among other things, the propensity of high-LTV VA cash-out refinances to prepay in comparison with those of other loan type categories, any related impact on MBS pricing, and whether a loan-to-value ceiling of 90 percent for cash-out refinance loans “is an appropriate threshold for identifying the loan type category that would be subject to an alternative securitization path.” Ginnie Mae is considering such an alternative securitization path to provide liquidity for excluded (or restricted) loan type categories, highlighting (i) single-issuer custom securities; (ii) securities that are restricted based on a de minimis standard; and (iii) shorter duration loan types as logical possibilities. Comments on the RFI must be received by May 22.

    Federal Issues Ginnie Mae Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages Mortgage-Backed Securities Fannie Mae

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  • VA encourages loan holders to extend relief to Iowa borrowers

    Federal Issues

    On March 29, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-19-10, encouraging relief for VA borrowers impacted by severe storms and flooding in Iowa. Among other things, the Circular encourages loan holders to (i) extend forbearance to borrowers in distress because of the severe storms and flooding; (ii) establish a 90-day moratorium from the disaster date on initiating new foreclosures on affected loans; (iii) waive late charges on affected loans; and (iv) suspend credit reporting. The Circular is effective until April 1, 2020. 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

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  • VA encourages loan holders to extend relief to Alabama borrowers

    Federal Issues

    On March 8, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-19-07, requesting relief for homeowners impacted by severe weather in Alabama. Among other things, the Circular encourages loan holders to (i) extend forbearance to borrowers in distress because of the wildfires; (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 April 1, 2020. 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

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  • CFPB analyzes first-time homebuying data for servicemembers

    Lending

    On March 1, the CFPB released its latest Quarterly Consumer Credit Trends report titled, “Mortgages to First-time Homebuying Servicemembers,” which analyzes mortgages made to first-time homebuying active duty servicemembers and veterans (collectively defined as “servicemembers”). The report, using data from the Bureau’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) supplemented with data on military service, offers information on the mortgage choices and mortgage performance outcomes of servicemembers who bought homes between 2006 and 2016. Key findings include:

    • The share of first-time homebuying servicemembers using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guaranteed home loan program significantly increased, from 30 percent before 2007 to 63 percent in 2009. By 2016, 78 percent of servicemembers relied on a VA mortgage for their first home loan.
    • Conventional mortgages, which accounted for approximately 60 percent of loans among first-time homebuying servicemembers in 2006 and 2007, declined to 13 percent by 2016. During this period, the use of conventional mortgages among non-servicemembers also decreased, as the use of FHA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased.
    • In 2016, the median servicemember first-time homebuyer VA loan amount was $212,000, increasing from $156,000 in 2006.
    • Early delinquency rates for nonprime servicemember first-time VA-loan borrowers decreased from an average of 5 percent to 7 percent in 2006 and 2007 to slightly above 3 percent in 2016. Notably, early delinquency rates were lower for active duty VA-loan borrowers than for veteran VA-loan borrowers.

    Lending CFPB Military Lending Servicemembers Mortgages Department of Veterans Affairs FHA Department of Agriculture

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  • VA Circular clarifies rules on cash-out refis

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 14, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released Circular 26-19-05 (and on February 15, accompanying Change Circular 26-19-05) to clarify the VA’s interim final rule regarding VA-guaranteed cash-out refinancing loans, which was released in December 2018 and became effective on February 15. The interim final rule was previously covered by InfoBytes. Among other things, the Circular provides clarification regarding (i) the Net Tangible Benefit test; (ii) the contents of the loan comparison and home equity disclosures (including sample 3-day and final loan closing disclosures); (iii) the loan seasoning requirements, including a new obligation that, for loans refinanced within 1 year of the original closing date, lenders obtain a payment history/ledger documentating all payments, unless a credit bureau supplement clearly identifies all payments made in that timeframe; and (iv) the manner by which lenders should calculate fee recoupment.  

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Department of Veterans Affairs Refinance Mortgages Lending EGRRCPA

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