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On October 19, the FHFA announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) that would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) to provide advance notice to FHFA of new activities and obtain prior approval before launching new products. According to a factsheet released in conjunction with the proposed rule, the NPR would allow “FHFA to assess the impact, risks, and benefits of a new activity, and to determine whether the new activity is a new product that merits public notice and comment,” and would replace an interim final rule that has been in effect since 2009. Among other things, the NPR would (i) establish revised criteria for determining “what is a new activity and a new product, and the process for that activity’s review and approval” by FHFA; (ii) provide a “unified notice process,” which will require the GSEs “to make a single form of submission”; (iii) streamline and simplify the advance notification process; and (iv) outline FHFA’s process for reviewing notices of new activity and provide timelines for both the public notice and request for comment period as well as final approval. Comments on the NPR must be submitted within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.
On October 19, the FHFA announced the extension of several loan origination guidelines put in place to assist borrowers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, FHFA extended until November 30 existing guidelines related to: (i) alternative appraisal requirements on purchase and rate term refinance loans; (ii) alternative methods for documenting income and verifying employment before loan closing; and (iii) expanding the use of power of attorney to assist with loan closings. The extensions are implemented in updates to Fannie Mae Lender Letters LL-2020-03, LL 2020-04, and Freddie Mac Guide Bulletin 2020-37.
On October 21, FHFA announced an extension of a temporary policy related to the Covid-19 pandemic that allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) to purchase qualified single-family mortgages in forbearance that meet specific eligibility criteria. The policy is now extended for loans originated through November 30. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in an effort to provide liquidity to ensure continued lending during the Covid-19 pandemic, FHFA is allowing the GSEs to buy certain mortgages that enter forbearance within the first month after loan closing, prior to delivery to the GSEs.
On August 27, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend their moratorium on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until at least December 31 (which was set to expire on August 31, previously covered here). The foreclosure moratorium applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgage and the REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that were acquired by the GSEs through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions.
FHA also further extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31 (also set to expire on August 31 and previously covered here). The moratorium applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages, excluding legally vacant or abandoned properties (previously discussed here and here). Additional details can be found in Mortgagee Letter 2020-27.
Additionally, on August 26, FHFA announced an extension of a temporary policy that allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) to purchase qualified single-family mortgages in forbearance that meet specific eligibility criteria due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The policy is now extended for loans originated through September 30. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in an effort to provide liquidity to ensure continued lending during the Covid-19 pandemic, FHFA is allowing the GSEs to buy certain mortgages that enter forbearance within the first month after loan closing, prior to delivery to the GSEs.
FHFA also extended several loan origination flexibilities put in place to assist borrowers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, FHFA has further extended until September 30, the following provisions: “(i) alternative appraisals on purchase and rate term refinance loans; (ii) alternative methods for documenting income and verifying employment before loan closing; and (iii) expanding the use of power of attorney to assist with loan closings.”
On August 19, a group of Democratic Senators wrote to FHFA Director Mark Calabria expressing concern over the newly announced adverse market refinance fee of 50 basis points, or 0.5 percent, on certain refinance mortgages (covered by InfoBytes here). The letter acknowledges that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) “have adopted policies to ease purchase and most refinance transactions,” to assist homeowners. However, the new refinance fee “that will be implemented just three weeks after it was announced” was a “surprise to see,” according to the letter. The senators stress that the new fee “will shift more of a financial burden to consumers,” which would contradict the GSEs’ purpose of providing stability in the secondary mortgage market.
The letter follows an August 14 letter from the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Mike Crapo (R-ID), which expresses similar concern for consumers but also notes that the short window before the effective date can complicate the refinance process for current buyers and negatively impact community lenders who already have closed loans that cannot be delivered before September 1.
Both letters request Calabria provide more information on the policy change, including details regarding the market conditions that would be addressed by the fee and how the fee amount was determined.
On August 12, Fannie Mae updated its Covid-19 frequently asked questions regarding the underwriting and loan eligibility for sellers. Fannie Mae’s FAQs (previously discussed here) were updated to address questions on selling loans in forbearance. The FAQs cite to Lender Letter 2020-06 (covered by InfoBytes here), stating that Fannie Mae will purchase loans that go into forbearance after loan closing before sale that became eligible for sale beginning May 1 and have note dates on or before August 31 and are delivered by October 31. Additionally, the FAQs state there are no plans to further extend the August 31 date.
On August 12, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a new adverse market refinance fee of 50 basis points, or 0.5 percent, on certain refinance mortgages. According to Freddie Mac’s Guide Bulletin 2020-32, the refinance fee applies to cash-out and no cash-out refinance mortgages “except for Construction Conversion Mortgages that qualify for single-closing Interim Construction Financing and Permanent Financing.” The Bulletin notes that the fee is a result of economic and market uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fannie Mae’s Lender Letter LL-2020-12 notes that the new fee applies to limited cash-out refinances and cash-out refinances but provides a limited exception for certain single-closing construction-to-permanent loans.
The new fee is effective for applicable refinance mortgages with settlement dates on or after September 1.
On July 31, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced an extension of a temporary policy that allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) to purchase “certain single-family mortgages in forbearance that meet specific eligibility criteria” due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The temporary policy is extended for loans originated through August 31 from the original deadline of May 31. As previously covered by InfoBytes, standard policies dictate that the GSEs do not purchase loans that are in forbearance; however, due to the economic effects of Covid-19, and in an effort to provide liquidity to ensure continued lending, FHFA allowed the GSEs to buy certain mortgages that enter forbearance within the first month after loan closing, prior to delivery to the GSEs. The extension of the policy is reflected in Fannie Mae’s updated Lender Letter 2020-06 and Freddie Mac’s Guide Bulletin 2020-30.
Recently, FHFA announced a postponement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve (DTS) Underserved Markets Plan submissions for 2021-2023, due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, FHFA is allowing unlimited modifications for the 2020 plan year, and is requiring the Enterprises to submit both 2020 modification requests and proposed 2021 activities and objectives by September 15. The 2021 activities and objectives will be structured as a one-year extension to the previous 2018-2020 plans. FHFA also released (i) a summary table indicating Evaluation Guidance provisions that apply in 2021; (ii) revised Evaluation Guidance 2020-4a, which includes special exceptions that will apply in 2020 and 2021; and (iii) special procedures the Enterprises will follow to submit their 2020 modifications and 2021 plans.
FHFA notes it will seek feedback on the proposed 2021 activities and select proposed 2020 modifications during a consolidated public comment period beginning in September.
On July 15, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac introduced a new home-retention workout option, the “disaster payment deferral,” for borrowers experiencing financial hardship. According to Fannie Mae’s Lender Letter LL-2020-11 and Freddie Mac’s Guide Bulletin 2020-28, the disaster payment deferral would bring the borrower current on their mortgage by deferring the delinquency amount (which includes up to 12 months of past-due principal and interest payments; out-of-pocket escrow advances paid to third parties; and servicing advances paid to third parties in the ordinary course of business) as a non-interest bearing balance, due and payable at liquidation, refinance, or maturity. To qualify for the program, an eligible disaster event is defined as (i) a financial hardship that impacts the borrower's ability to pay their contractual monthly payment; and (ii) either: the property securing the mortgage loan experienced an insured loss, the property securing the mortgage loan is located in an eligible FEMA-Declared Disaster Area, or the borrower's place of employment is located in an eligible FEMA-Declared Disaster Area. Among other requirements detailed by the Lender Letter and Bulletin, servicers must confirm that the borrower has resolved the financial hardship and have the ability to continue paying the contractual monthly payments. Servicers must begin evaluating borrowers for the disaster payment deferral beginning July 1.
- Thomas A. Sporkin to discuss "Managing internal investigations and advanced government defense" at the Securities Enforcement Forum
- Jeffrey P. Naimon to discuss "2021 - A new beginning/what's to come" at the QuestSoft Lending Compliance & Risk Management Virtual Conference
- H Joshua Kotin to discuss "Mortgage servicing in a recession: Early intervention, loss mitigation and more" at the NAFCU Virtual Regulatory Compliance Seminar
- Daniel R. Alonso to discuss "Independent monitoring in the United States" at the World Compliance Association Peru Chapter IV International Conference on Compliance and the Fight Against Corruption
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Cyber security, incident response, crisis management" at the Legal & Diversity Summit
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "The future of fair lending" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Michelle L. Rogers to discuss "Major litigation" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Kathryn L. Ryan to discuss "Pandemic fallout – Navigating practical operational challenges" at the Mortgage Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference
- Jonice Gray Tucker to discuss "Consumer financial services" at the Practising Law Institute Banking Law Institute
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "BSA/AML - Covid impact and regulatory/guidance roundup" at an NAFCU webinar