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  • FHFA Requests Input on GSE Credit Score Requirements; Releases 2018 Scorecard

    Federal Issues

    On December 20, the Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA) announced a Request for Input (RFI) seeking feedback from interested parties regarding how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) should update their current credit score requirements. Specifically, the GSEs plan to stop using the Classic FICO credit score model and to replace it with one of four options. These options include (i) requiring the use of either the FICO 9 credit score model or the VantageScore 3.0 credit score model; (ii) requiring the use of both the FICO 9 and the VantageScore 3.0 credit score models; (iii) allowing lenders to choose between either the FICO 9 or the VantageScore 3.0 credit score models; or (iv) allowing lenders to deliver multiple scores through a waterfall approach that would establish a primary and a secondary score. The FHFA’s RFI asks interested parties to provide feedback on these options by responding to 22 questions outlined in the RFI by February 20.

    On December 21, FHFA released the 2018 Scorecard outlining specific conservatorship priorities for the GSEs and their joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions, LLC (CSS). The 2018 Scorecard continues to identify many of the priorities outlined in the 2017 Scorecard. In addition, the 2018 Scorecard highlights the FHFA’s focus on gathering information to support its assessment of single-family rental strategies and extends the timeline for implementation of the Single Security Initiative on the Common Securitization Platform to the second quarter of 2019.

    Federal Issues Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Credit Scores CRA

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  • Fannie and Freddie Extend Foreclosure Suspension for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

    Federal Issues

    On December 20, Fannie Mae, in Lender Letter LL-2017-11, and Freddie Mac, in Guide Bulletin 2017-29, extended the suspension of foreclosure sales through March 31, 2018 of mortgaged properties in FEMA-declared disaster areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The extension does not apply to any other jurisdictions similarly designated.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on Disaster Relief here.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages Foreclosure

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  • Freddie Mac Issues New Guidance on Borrowers Qualifying Income

    Lending

    On December 14, Freddie Mac issued Guide Bulletin 2017-28, providing updates and reminders to sellers regarding income used for qualifying borrowers and other matters. The bulletin expands the options for sellers when qualifying a borrower with income that starts after the date of the mortgage note, including increasing the allowable gap from 60 days to 90 days between the note date and the commencement of income, allowing for a “no-cash-out” refinance as a potential transaction type, and permitting fully approved future salary increases from a current employer as income. It also relaxes certain requirements in the event the income commences prior to the delivery date. In addressing other topics, the bulletin allows for relief from the enforcement of selling representations and warranties for mortgages that are subject to a disaster-related forbearance plan. The relief extends through the later of the applicable payment history period end date or the date the mortgage transitions out of the disaster-related forbearance plan and is brought current. Among other issues, the updates and reminders cover the eligibility of Land Trust Mortgages and “Texas Equity Mortgages” for sale to Freddie Mac, and incorporation of the new 2018 FHFA base conforming and super conforming loan limits (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

    Lending Freddie Mac Mortgages Disaster Relief

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  • Freddie Mac Issues Guidance on Reporting Imminent Default Data; Fannie Mae Updates Servicing Guide

    Lending

    On December 13, Freddie Mac issued Guide Bulletin 2017-27, providing updates and reminders to servicers regarding the imminent default evaluation requirements. The bulletin includes specifics on how servicers should process and report imminent default data using the “Workout Prospector” web-based application. According to the bulletin, servicers are must implement the new requirements by July 1, 2018. The bulletin also incorporates the additional non-discrimination guide language announced for sellers in Guide Bulletin 2017-26 (previously covered by InfoBytes here).

    On December 13, Fannie Mae announced that it has updated its Servicing Guide. One such update includes the removal of requirements related to individual mortgage loan file records retention. Instead, the information will be available solely in Fannie Mae’s Selling Guide, which it expects to be updated on December 19. Another notable update is the Servicing Guide’s extension of the $30 maximum expense reimbursement “for each insured loss repair inspection required on a current or delinquent mortgage loan” to all mortgages, and not just those affected by disasters.

    Lending Freddie Mac Fannie Mae Mortgage Servicing

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  • FHFA Increases Conforming Loan Limits for 2018

    Federal Issues

    On November 28, the FHFA announced that it will raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages purchased in 2018 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from $424,100 to $453,100. The announcement marks the second time FHFA has increased the baseline loan limit since 2006. In high-cost areas, such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., the maximum loan limit will be $679,650. For a county-specific list of the maximum loan limits in the U.S., click here.

    Federal Issues Mortgages FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Conforming Loan

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  • Freddie Mac Announces Guide Bulletin 2017-26 Covering Changes to Eligibility for Certain Mortgage Products

    Lending

    On November 15, Freddie Mac announced the issuance of Guide Bulletin 2017-26 (Bulletin), which, among other things, expands borrower options for mortgage financing, eases certain underwriting requirements, and adds non-discrimination language. Specifically, the Bulletin announces the availability of 5-year ARMs as a newly eligible product under “Home Possible,” “Freddie Mac Relief Refinance,” and “Financed Permanent Buydown” mortgage programs. Freddie Mac is also removing the requirement that all income reported on Home Possible Mortgage applications must be verified. Additionally, effective March 15, 2018, consistent with the FHFA Minority and Women Inclusion Amendments Final Rule, all covered sellers “must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information (including family medical history), pregnancy, parental status, familial status, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or other characteristics protected by law.”

    Lending Freddie Mac Mortgages Fair Lending Underwriting

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  • Fannie and Freddie Introduce Extended Modifications for Disaster Relief

    Federal Issues

    On November 2, at the direction of the Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA), Fannie Mae introduced in Lender Letter LL-2017-09 (Letter) a temporary forbearance mortgage loan modification (Extend Mod) for servicers with mortgage loans affected by the recent disasters. The Letter covers the requirements for an Extend Mod, including outlining loan eligibility criteria. Among other requirements, the loan must (i) be located in a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area; (ii) be less than 31 days delinquent when the disaster occurred and complete the forbearance plan while between 31 days delinquent and 360 days delinquent; (iii) not be delinquent after being previously modified with an Extend Mod from the same disaster; (iv) not be insured or guaranteed by a federal government agency; and (v) not be subject to a recourse or indemnification arrangement, another workout option, or a current repayment plan that is performing. The Letter also provides information on disbursing hazard loss draft proceeds, reimbursement for property inspections, and payment records for borrower-initiated termination of mortgage insurance.

    Under the same FHFA direction and in coordination with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac issued Guide Bulletin 2017-25 announcing the servicing requirements for the Freddie Mac Extend Modification for Disaster Relief. Both Fannie and Freddie note the deadline for implementing the Extend Mod is February 1, 2018.

    Find more InfoBytes disaster relief coverage here.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Mortgages Mortgage Modification Mortgage Servicing FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac

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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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  • Freddie Mac Announces Guide Bulletin 2017-23 Concerning Debt Payment-to-Income Calculations and Appraisals

    Lending

    On October 18, Freddie Mac announced the issuance of Guide Bulletin 2017-23 (Bulletin), which changes selling requirements related to, among other things, student loan monthly debt payment-to-income (DTI) ratio calculations and appraisals. Specifically, for student loans in repayment, sellers must use the greater of the following in calculating DTI ratios, as listed on a borrower’s credit report: (i) the monthly payment amount, or (ii) 0.5 percent of the original loan balance or outstanding balance (one percent for loans in deferment or forbearance). The revisions also remove the requirement that a seller must “obtain documentation if a monthly payment amount is not reported on the credit report.” Further, the Bulletin stipulates certain DTI ratio exclusions, which include specific contingent liabilities.

    Revisions to appraisal requirements include: (i) no longer requiring a “new appraisal when the settlement date is more than 120 days after the note date,” and (ii) accepting appraisal updates “performed by an unlicensed or trainee (or similar classification) appraiser if a supervisory appraiser signs the appraisal update.” While the revisions are applicable for mortgages with settlement dates on or after January 18, 2018, Freddie Mac also permits immediate implementation.

    Lending Freddie Mac Appraisal Student Lending

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  • FHFA Includes a Language Preference Question in the Universal Residential Loan Application

    Lending

    On October 20, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it would include a language preference question on its updated Universal Residential Loan Application (URLA). The question will allow borrowers to indicate if they prefer to communicate in a language other than English and to identify that language. In response to industry concerns, in the preferred language question text, FHFA includes disclosure language that informs borrowers their response will not negatively affect their application, indicates a preferred language does not mean the lender agrees to communicate in that language, and provides language assistance resources.

    FHFA plans to issue the new URLA form later this year, which will go into effect beginning in July 2019. The form will be mandatory for loans made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beginning in February 2020.

    Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FHFA URLA Fair Lending Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac

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