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  • Ginnie Mae tells companies to address VA refi churning

    Federal Issues

    On February 8, Ginnie Mae announced that it had sent notices to a small number of issuers in the Ginnie Mae multi-issuer mortgage-backed security (MBS) program warning them about their VA mortgage loan prepayment speeds, which deviated from the norm and put the veteran benefit at risk. According to Ginnie Mae, the notices require the issuers to create a “corrective action plan that identifies immediate strategies to bring prepayment speeds in line with market peers.” Issuers unable to correct their performance risk losing access to Ginnie Mae multi-issuer pools. The warnings are a result of a task force formed between Ginnie Mae and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to address refinance speeds and aggressive marketing in the VA loan space.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, Ginnie Mae also issued APM 17-06 which imposes tougher pooling standards on certain refinance loans. Additionally, the VA issued new policy guidance for its Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL) disclosures in an effort to assist borrowers in deciding whether the IRRRL is in their best interest, previously covered by InfoBytes here.

    Federal Issues Ginnie Mae Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages Refinance

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  • VA issues guidance for IRRRL loans

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On February 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs released Circular 26-18-1, which informs lenders about new policy guidance for Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL) disclosures. Effective April 1, lenders are required to provide the Veteran’s Statement disclosure and the Lender Certification disclosure (if applicable) with the initial disclosure documents, which should be no later than three business days after receiving an application, and should confirm delivery in the Loan Guaranty Certificate process. According to the circular, the early disclosure of the Veteran’s Statement will assist the borrower in making informed decisions about whether the IRRRL is in their best interest. The circular also provides details for lenders about what specific information needs to be included in the Veteran’s Statement throughout the loan process.

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

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  • Special Inspector General for TARP highlights MHA threat

    Federal Issues

    On January 30, the Office of the Special Inspector General (SIG) for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) delivered a report to Congress, which identified unlawful conduct by certain of the 130 financial institutions in TARP’s Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) as the top threat to TARP and, thus, the SIG’s top investigative priority. The SIG explained that “significant oversight [of MHA] is required because of the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse” that occurs by participants. Indeed, the report highlights specific instances of mismanagement of MHA by a select number of large financial institutions. Close to one million homeowners still participate in MHA initiatives. Accordingly, the risk of unlawful conduct by financial institutions in this area can destabilize the market and jeopardize other participants in MHA such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHFA, and the VA.

    Federal Issues TARP Mortgages MHA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHFA Department of Veterans Affairs

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  • VA Clarifies Third-Party Verification Requirements

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On December 29, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Circular 26-17-43 to clarify its policy that lenders may use third-party vendors to verify borrower income, employment, and asset information subject to the following caveats: (i) lenders must retain full responsibility for verifying the accuracy of information provided in the borrower’s loan application; (ii) lenders must initiate and receive all verifications related to employment and deposits, credit report requests, and credit information; (iii) lenders must assume responsibility for the quality and accuracy of information provided to the VA collected from third-parties; (iv) lenders must disclose the third party vendor relationships on VA form 26-1820, Report and Certification of Loan Disbursement, and (v) lenders must not charge veterans for the cost of obtaining third-party verification of borrower income, employment, or asset information. Where a real estate broker/agent or any other party requests borrower income, employment, or asset information, lenders must (i) identify the parties as their agents, (ii) ensure that report(s) are returned directly to them, and (iii) ensure completion of the required certification on the loan application. 

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Department of Veterans Affairs Third-Party Underwriting

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  • Financial Regulators Issue Joint Supervisory Guidance for Disaster Areas; VA Announces Wildfire Relief

    Federal Issues

    On December 15, the FDIC, Fed, OCC, and NCUA issued Interagency Supervisory Examiner Guidance for Institutions Affect by a Major Disaster (Guidance). The Guidance provides information on assessing the financial condition of institutions affected by a “major disaster with individual assistance” as declared by the President. The Guidance also encourages institutions affected by such disasters to discuss relevant issues with their examiners and notes that the supervisory agencies will consider extending report filing deadlines and rescheduling exams. Additionally, the Guidance states that examiners should consider factors related to the disaster, such as asset losses and staffing issues, when assessing capital adequacy and management capability requirements. And when considering the supervisory response to an institution that receives a lower component or composite rating, the Guidance provides that examiners should recognize the extent to which any weaknesses are related to the major disaster.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), on December 12, announced additional special relief following the California wildfires in Circular 26-17-42. The Circular encourages VA loan holders to extend forbearance to borrowers affected by the wildfires and VA loan servicers to continue solicitation of the VA Disaster Loan Modification program (as previously covered by InfoBytes here). Additionally, for affected borrowers and loans, the Circular suggests that loan holders follow the 90-day foreclosure moratorium and that servicers consider waiving late charges and suspending credit reporting. The Circular is effective until January 1, 2019.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on Disaster Relief here.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Department of Veterans Affairs FDIC OCC NCUA Federal Reserve Mortgages

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  • VA Releases New Disaster Loan Modification Option

    Federal Issues

    On November 27, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new Disaster Loan Modification option via circular 26-17-39. In addition to the existing VA Disaster Loan Modification process, which allows servicers to extend permanent payment relief to disaster-impacted borrowers without a completed application, the VA will now allow servicers the option to waive the three-month trial period payment (TPP) requirement. According to the circular, servicers will be able to waive the TPP requirement to extend the term of the new loan by the number of months the borrower is delinquent, and must waive any accrued delinquent interest. Additionally, the loan must have been current at the time of the disaster and the VA must approve any term extensions greater than 12 months.

    Find more InfoBytes disaster relief coverage here.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Department of Veterans Affairs Mortgages Mortgage Modification

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  • VA Extends Foreclosure Moratorium Following Hurricane Disasters; Federal Agencies Issue Appraisal Exceptions; Freddie Mac Extends Temporary Selling Requirements Related to Wildfire Areas

    Federal Issues

    Hurricane Relief. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is extending the foreclosure moratorium on properties affected by the recent hurricanes. For disaster areas impacted by Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the VA is updating the original circulars to change the 90-day moratorium to 180 days (a complete list of change notices can be found here).

    On October 24, the FDIC, Federal Reserve, National Credit Union Administration, and the OCC issued a temporary exception to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) appraisal requirements for areas affected by the recent hurricanes. More specifically, the FDIC's Financial institution Letter states that the agency will not require financial institutions to obtain appraisals for affected transactions, if (i) the properties involved are located in areas declared major disasters; (ii) there are binding commitments to fund the transactions within 36 months of the date the areas were declared major disasters; and (iii) the value of the real properties support the institutions' decisions to enter into the transactions.

    California Wildfire Relief. On October 25, Freddie Mac released Guide Bulletin 2017-24 extending the temporary selling requirements applied to hurricane disaster areas to eligible disaster areas impacted by the California wildfires. As previously covered by InfoBytes, Freddie Mac is requiring servicers to suspend foreclosure sales and eviction activities and has agreed to reimburse sellers for certain property inspections for property located in eligible disaster areas.

    Here is a complete list of InfoBytes disaster relief coverage.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Department of Veterans Affairs Freddie Mac Mortgages Lending FDIC FIRREA Mortgage Modification

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  • Federal Agencies Offer Consumer Relief Measures Following Recent Natural Disasters

    Lending

    On October 13, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released two circulars (here and here) describing measures mortgagees may employ to provide relief to VA home loan borrowers affected by recent California wildfires and Hurricane Nate. Referencing the VA’s guidance on natural disasters, the VA’s recommendations include: (i) extending forbearance to distressed borrowers; (ii) establishing a 90-day moratorium on initiating foreclosures on affected loans; (iii) waiving late charges; (iv) suspending credit bureau reporting with the understanding that servicers will not be penalized by the VA; and (v) extending “special forbearance” to National Guard members who report for active duty to assist recovery efforts.

    Separately, on October 17, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, National Credit Union Administration, and OCC released a joint notice under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act that temporarily eases appraisal requirements for real estate-related financial transactions in areas impacted by recent hurricane disasters. The four agencies will allow appraisal exceptions, provided that financial institutions determine, and obtain documentation related to, the following: (i) the property involved is located in a major disaster area; (ii) there exists a binding commitment to fund the transaction within 36 months of the date the area was declared a major disaster; and (iii) “the value of the real property supports the institution’s decision to enter into the transaction.” The expiration date for exceptions in each area covered by the notice is three years after the date the President declared the area to be a major disaster area.

    As previously discussed in InfoBytes, several federal agencies have announced regulatory relief for victims of recent natural disasters.

    Lending Disaster Relief Mortgages Foreclosure FIRREA Federal Reserve Department of Veterans Affairs FDIC NCUA OCC Consumer Finance Mortgage Modification

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  • Federal Agencies Offer Regulatory Relief for Hurricane Victims

    Federal Issues

    Federal agencies continue to announce regulatory relief for financial institutions aiding consumers affected by recent hurricane disasters. InfoBytes coverage on previous disaster relief measures can be accessed here, here, and here.

    Freddie Mac. On September 25, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2017-21 (Bulletin) to extend certain temporary selling and servicing requirements meant to provide flexibility and relief for mortgages and borrowers in areas impacted by all hurricanes occurring on or after August 25 through the 2017 hurricane season. In particular, Freddie Mac will reimburse sellers for property inspections completed prior to the sale or securitization of mortgages secured by properties in disaster areas caused by a 2017 hurricane. Freddie Mac is also requiring servicers to suspend foreclosure sales and eviction activities on property located in eligible disaster areas affected by Hurricane Maria. However, the Bulletin provides that a servicer can proceed with a foreclosure sale if it can confirm that (i) inspection was completed on a mortgaged property “identified as vacant or abandoned prior to Hurricane Maria,” and (ii) the property sustained no “insurable damage.” The Bulletin also reminds servicers to report all mortgages affected by an eligible disaster that are 31 or more days delinquent to Freddie Mac.

    Veterans Affairs (VA). On September 27, the VA issued Circular 26-17-28 to outline measures that it encourages mortgagees to utilize to provide relief to veterans affected by Hurricane Maria. Specific recommendations include: (i) extending forbearance to distressed borrowers; (ii) establishing a 90-day moratorium on initiating foreclosures on affected loans; (iii) waiving late charges; (iv) suspending credit bureau reporting with the understanding that servicers will not be penalized by the VA; and (v) extending “special forbearance” to National Guard members who report for active duty to assist recovery efforts.

    FDIC. On September 27, the FDIC released a financial institution letter to provide additional guidance for depository institutions assisting affected consumers. As previously covered in Infobytes, the FDIC released guidance for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, and issued a joint press release in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Board, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, and the OCC as a response to those affected by Hurricane Irma. The newest release, FIL-46-2017, announced regulatory relief for financial institutions affected by Hurricane Maria, and steps to facilitate recovery in affected areas, which include: (i) “extending repayment terms, restructuring existing loans, or easing terms for new loans,” and (i) “encourage[ing] depository institutions to use non-documentary verification methods permitted by the Customer Identification Program requirement of the Bank Secrecy Act for affected customers who cannot provide standard identification documents.” Further, banks that support disaster recovery efforts, the FDIC noted, may receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act consideration.

    SEC. On September 28, the SEC issued an order providing regulatory relief to companies and individuals with federal securities law obligations who have been affected by recent natural disasters. The order provides conditional exemptions to certain securities laws requirements for specified periods of time. The Commission additionally adopted “interim final temporary rules” applicable to Regulation Crowdfunding and Regulation A filing deadline extensions.

    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). On October 3, 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 recent hurricanes.

    Federal Issues Consumer Finance Compliance Disaster Relief Flood Insurance Mortgages Foreclosure Freddie Mac Department of Veterans Affairs FDIC SEC FinCEN Bank Secrecy Act CRA Securities Mortgage Modification

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  • CFPB Releases "Snapshot of Servicemember Complaints"

    Consumer Finance

    On November 14, the CFPB announced the release of its annual review of issues related to mortgage financing programs offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, entitled A Snapshot of Servicemember Complaints. According to the report, as of November 1, the CFPB has received over 12,500 mortgage complaints from servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents, with the CFPB identifying at least 14% (about 1,800) of those complaints relating to refinancing. The complaints concerned a wide range of issues, including aggressive solicitations, misleading advertisements, processing delays that resulted in less favorable terms than expected, a lack of clarity in loan documents, and poor communications during refinancing that resulted in customer confusion.

    Consumer Finance CFPB Servicemembers Miscellany Department of Veterans Affairs

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