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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • FHA proposes revisions to single family servicing policies

    Federal Issues

    On July 14, FHA published proposed revisions to the Servicing and Loss Mitigation section (Section III) of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 (SF Handbook) on the agency’s drafting table. The proposed revisions include: (i) changes to the standard servicing loss mitigation home retention waterfall; (ii) elimination of certain borrower documentation requirements for Trial Payment Plans to be consistent with industry practices; and (iii) modification of certain operational policies to provide more consistency between FHA policies and those used by Government Sponsored Enterprises and the private market. The proposed revisions do not address the immediate servicing and loss mitigation challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Comments on the proposed revisions must be received by September 12.

    Federal Issues HUD FHA GSE Mortgages Mortgage Servicing Loss Mitigation

  • FHA expands Covid-19 loss-mitigation options

    Federal Issues

    On July 8, the FHA announced additional home retention measures to assist homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who are financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Mortgagee Letter 2020-22, effective immediately, mortgage servicers are able to offer a new suit of loss mitigation “waterfall” options to homeowners whose mortgages were current or less than 30 days past due as of March 1. ML 2020-22 updates existing options previously outlined in ML 2020-06 (covered by InfoBytes here) and introduces several new measures including (i) a standalone partial claim, not to exceed the 30 percent maximum statutory value; (ii) an owner-occupant loan modification (for homeowners who do not qualify for a standalone partial claim) that will modify the rate and term of the existing mortgage at the end of the Covid-19 forbearance period; (iii) a combination partial clam and loan modification (for homeowners who are ineligible for either of the first two options); and (iv) a FHA Home Affordable Modification Program combination loan modification and partial claim with reduced documentation, which may include principal deferment and is for homeowners who are ineligible for the other home retention solutions. ML 2020-22 also provides that borrowers who do not currently occupy their FHA-insurance single family property may obtain a modification to their mortgage rates and terms under a Covid-19 non-occupant loan modification.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FHA HUD Loss Mitigation Mortgages

  • CFPB eases Covid-19 loss mitigation rules

    Federal Issues

    On June 23, the CFPB issued an interim final rule that provides relief to mortgage servicers from certain Regulation X requirements when offering Covid-19 related loss mitigation options. Among other things, the interim final rule amends Regulation X to temporarily permit servicers to offer eligible loss mitigation options without obtaining a complete loss mitigation application from borrowers who have experienced a financial hardship due to Covid-19. In order to qualify for the exception, the loss mitigation option must satisfy certain criteria, including that (i) it must permit the borrower to delay paying certain amounts until liquidation, refinance, maturity, or, for a mortgage insured by FHA, the mortgage insurance terminates; (ii) the servicer cannot charge interest on delayed payment amounts, cannot charge fees in connection with the option, and must waive all existing penalties and fees upon acceptance; and (iii) the borrower’s acceptance must resolve any prior delinquency. The interim final rule is effective on July 1.

    Federal Issues CFPB Covid-19 Loss Mitigation RESPA Regulation X Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Mortgages

  • Fannie updates Covid-19 payment deferral lender letters

    Federal Issues

    On May 27, Fannie Mae issued technical updates to Lender Letter LL-2020-07 and LL-2020-05 to include operational requirements related to reporting and completing a Covid-19 payment deferral, as well as the process for obtaining reimbursement for expenses related to the Covid-19 payment deferral. Among other things, servicers are required to pay any expenses associated with the execution of a Covid-19 payment deferral, such as required notary fees, recording costs, and title costs, but Fannie Mae will reimburse allowable expenses in accordance with F-1-05: Expense Reimbursement, in the Fannie Mae Servicing Guide.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the new Covid-19 payment deferral option to “help borrowers impacted by a hardship related to Covid-19 return their mortgage to a current status after up to 12 months of missed payments.” The new option is for borrowers who (i) are on a Covid-19 related forbearance plan, or (ii) have a resolved financial hardship due to Covid-19. If a borrower is eligible for the Covid-19 payment deferral, the servicer must allow the borrower to resume their contractual monthly payments; however, the delinquency amount must be deferred as a non-interest bearing balance, due and payable at liquidation, refinance, or maturity.

    Servicers must begin evaluating borrowers for the Covid-19 payment deferral beginning July 1.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Loan Modification Loss Mitigation Forbearance Mortgages

  • Fannie launches Covid-19 resource online portal

    Federal Issues

    On May 26, Fannie Mae announced a new online resource for homeowners and renters titled, “Here to Help,” which compiles tools and resources to assist consumers with financial hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The online portal features videos, fact sheets, and mortgage loan look-up tools for consumers and also provides lenders and servicers with tools to better assist their customers, including explanations of loss mitigation offerings and training videos for loan servicers.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 Fannie Mae Forbearance Loss Mitigation Mortgage Origination Mortgage Servicing

  • Fannie and Freddie: Borrowers eligible for refinance or purchase while in forbearance

    Federal Issues

    On May 19, the FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued temporary guidance that would allow borrowers who are in forbearance, or have recently ended forbearance, to be eligible to refinance or purchase a new home. According to Fannie Mae Lender Letter LL-2020-03 and Freddie Mac Bulletin 2020-17, borrowers are eligible to purchase a new home or refinance their mortgage if they are current on their mortgage—defined as having “made all mortgage payments due in the month prior to the note date of the new loan transaction by no later than the last business day of that month”—or if the mortgage is currently in a loss mitigation solution (the borrower must have made at least three timely payments as of the note date of the new transaction). Lenders are required to apply the guidance to loans with application dates on or after June 2, but may apply them immediately.

    On the same day, Fannie Mae also issued an update to LL-2020-06, which extends the effective date for eligible loans in forbearance due to a Covid-19 hardship to June 30 with delivery to Fannie Mae by August 31.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Forbearance Loss Mitigation Refinance Mortgages

  • FHA issues mortgagee letter on extension of foreclosure and eviction moratoriums

    Federal Issues

    On May 14, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 2020-13, which extends the foreclosure and eviction moratorium in connection with the Covid-19 emergency and issues new reporting requirements related to FHA single family’s CARES Act loss mitigation options. The foreclosure moratorium is extended to June 30, 2020, and applies to FHA-insured single family mortgages, except vacant or abandoned properties. The moratorium on evictions of persons from properties securing FHA-insured single family mortgages, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties, is also extended for the same period. The bulletin also provides guidance on how mortgagees must report the Default/Delinquency Reason Codes that apply to the borrower at the end of each reporting cycle. The mortgagee must update the code as the borrower’s circumstances change.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FHA Mortgages Foreclosure Evictions Loss Mitigation CARES Act

  • Agencies jointly release fact sheets for services and consumers regarding CARES Act forbearance

    Federal Issues

    The Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Rural Housing Service have jointly issued fact sheets for servicers and for consumers outlining certain requirements and obligations under CARES Act mortgage payment forbearance. The fact sheet for servicers provides guidance for assisting and educating borrowers and explains that loss mitigation options will vary based on the program under which the loan is insured or guaranteed. The fact sheet for consumers provides guidance on requesting forbearance and information on the forbearance program.

    Federal Issues Covid-19 FHA Department of Veterans Affairs CARES Act Consumer Finance Forbearance Mortgages Loss Mitigation

  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issues guidance to mortgage servicers

    State Issues

    On March 30, the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation, Division of Banking and Division of Financial Institutions (Department), issued guidance to Illinois-licensed mortgage servicers and exempt mortgage servicers urging support for borrowers impacted by Covid-19. The Department urges all servicers of nonconforming and private mortgages to implement policies at least as helpful to borrowers as those offered for conforming loans, including, among others: (i) forbearing mortgage payments for at least 90 days without incurring additional interest or fees; (ii) refraining from reporting late payments to credit rating agencies and, when payments are deferred or modified, coding those payments as deferred with the applicable disaster order; (iii) offering loss mitigation options to borrowers; and (iv) waiving late payment fees and online payments fees; and (v) postponing foreclosures and evictions for at least 90 days. Prudent actions taken during this period will be considered to be consistent with safe and sound banking practices and will not be subject to examiner criticism.

    State Issues Illinois Covid-19 Mortgage Servicing Mortgages Forbearance Credit Rating Agencies Loss Mitigation Foreclosure

  • FHA issues Covid-19 guidance

    Federal Issues

    On March 9, FHA issued a reminder to servicers of FHA’s loss mitigation options, noting that Covid-19 could be an event negatively impacting a borrower’s ability to pay their monthly mortgage payment.

    Federal Issues FHA Loss Mitigation Mortgages Covid-19


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