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  • Lehman seeks to add indemnity claims against mortgage sellers

    Courts

    On October 1, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the firm’s plan administrator, and certain subsidiaries moved to increase the indemnification claims brought against mortgage sellers, seeking to include obligations resulting from more than $2.45 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) trust claims. Lehman’s prior claims addressed indemnification claims held against roughly 3,000 counterparties involving more than 11,000 mortgage loans related to litigation settlements reached with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Lehman now seeks to increase the indemnification claims to include claims from additional settlements reached earlier this year for an additional $2.45 billion in RMBS allowed claims. The proposed amended order does not seek to materially change existing procedures, but only seeks to add claims which had not accrued when the original order was entered pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9024. Lehman asserts the amendment is appropriate under Bankruptcy Rule 7015 and would benefit the creditors by “expediting the resolution and recovery on account of such claims and by increasing distributions to creditors.”

    Courts Bankruptcy Indemnity Claims Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages RMBS

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  • Fannie Mae announces updates to Selling Guide

    Federal Issues

    On October 2, Fannie Mae issued SEL-2018-08, announcing updates to its Selling Guide.  Notably, Fannie Mae expanded its policy on the use of employment-related assets as qualifying income, increasing to 80 percent the maximum LTV, CLTV, and HCLTV ratios for loans held by asset owners who are at least 62 years old upon loan closing. With respect to jointly-owned assets, all owners must be listed as borrowers on the loan, but only the borrower whose employment-related asset is being used as income must meet the minimum age requirement. Fannie Mae indicates that, until Desktop Underwriter is updated to reflect this policy change, it will accept delivery of any loan that receives an Approve/Ineligible recommendation because of a ratio over 70 percent and has been confirmed compliant by the lender.

    Effective immediately, other announced updates to the Selling Guide include: (i) clarifications to employment verification policies for union member borrowers employed in a series of short-term job assignments; (ii) changes intended to provide clarity to Fannie’s expectations for lenders managing third-party originators; and (iii) clarifications to comparable sales requirements for appraisers of MH Advantage homes.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Selling Guide Mortgages

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  • FHFA issues guidance for third-party provider relationships

    Federal Issues

    On September 28, FHFA released Advisory Bulletin AB 2018-08, which provides guidance to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Office of Finance (regulated entities) on the evaluation and management of risks associated with third-party provider relationships. (FHFA defines a third-party provider relationship as a “business arrangement between a regulated entity and another entity that provides a product or service.”)

    The bulletin sets forth the structure and describes the features of the third-party provider risk management programs that FHFA expects regulated entities to establish. With respect to governance, the bulletin recommends such programs address: (i) the responsibilities of the board and senior management; (ii) policies, procedures, and internal standards; and (iii) the implementation of a reporting system to ensure management and the board are adequately informed. The bulletin also specifies that an effective program include policies and procedures that cover each of the following phases of a third-party provider relationship life cycle: (i) Risk Assessment; (ii) Due Diligence in Third-Party Provider Selection; (iii) Contract Negotiation; (iv) Ongoing Monitoring; and (v) Termination. The bulletin suggests that regulated entities should ensure that their third-party risk management corresponds with the level of risk and complexity of their third-party relationships and notes that not every aspect of the bulletin may apply to every relationship.

    Federal Issues FHFA Third-Party Governance Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHLB

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  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issue servicing updates

    Federal Issues

    On September 26, Fannie Mae issued SVC-2018-07, which includes changes to the foreclosure and third party sale program. In order to encourage more third-party foreclosure sales, Fannie Mae is now requiring the use of Fannie Mae vendors for foreclosure sale marketing services in certain jurisdictions and encouraging the use of Fannie Mae vendors for public foreclosure auctions in certain jurisdictions. Servicers must implement the requirements for all sales scheduled on or after January 1, 2019. Additionally, effective October 28, Fannie Mae will now allow servicers to accept payment changes with future effective dates.

    Freddie Mac released Guide Bulletin 2018-16, which announces new and revised requirements to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages in support of affordable housing preservation and rural housing, including (i) allowing the sale of Community Land Trust Mortgages to Freddie Mac (effective November 5); (ii) updating requirements for mortgages secured by properties subject to resale restrictions (effective November 5); and (iii) revising the Home Possible mortgage requirements to permit sweat equity as a source of funds to cover the entire amount of cash to close for the down payment and/or closing costs (effective September 26).

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Servicing Guide Mortgages Mortgage Servicing Foreclosure

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  • Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac update servicing guides

    Federal Issues

    On September 18, Fannie Mae issued SVC-2018-06, which updates the Servicing Guide to include, among other things, changes to reduce servicer costs and risks and simplify certain loan modification options. Updates include: (i) relieving servicers of the responsibility for paying property taxes and ground rents on acquired properties, effective October 1, and co-op fees on properties acquired on or after October 1; (ii) effective immediately, removing the requirement for servicers to receive Fannie Mae approval when modifying a Texas Constitution Section 50(a)(6) loan under the Cap and Extend Modification for Disaster Relief policy (does not apply to reverse mortgages); (iii) clarifying servicing and subservicing transfer requirements, effectively immediately (iv) revising evaluation notices and solicitation letters, in alignment with Freddie Mac (described below), that take effect immediately but must be implemented by January 1, 2019; (v) adjusting maximum allowable foreclosure attorney fees for certain loans secured by properties in New Mexico and Hawaii for matters active as of September 18; and (vi) consolidating and aligning policies related to project liability and fidelity insurance to be implemented no later than January 1, 2019.

    On the same day, Freddie Mac released Guide Bulletin 2018-14 announcing, among other things, servicing updates concerning (i) revised borrower evaluation notices and solicitation letters that take effect immediately but must be implemented by January 1, 2019; (ii) a new temporary servicer reimbursement process effective for property inspections related to insurance loss settlements conducted on or after September 1; (iii) changes to the Servicer Success Scorecard, effective July 1, 2019; and (iv) reporting requirements for third-party foreclosure sale redemptions, effective December 1.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage Servicing Mortgages

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  • Fannie Mae updates Reverse Mortgage Loan Servicing Manual

    Federal Issues

    On September 18, Fannie Mae updated the Reverse Mortgage Loan Servicing Manual with changes related to a servicer’s responsibilities for paying escrow-related expenses for certain properties in Fannie Mae’s REO inventory. According to RVS-2018-03, Fannie Mae will now pay property taxes for all acquired proprieties in REO inventory and servicers are no longer required, except when directed by Fannie Mae, to pay co-op fees and assessments or ground rents for certain properties in REO inventory. The update applies to all property taxes and ground rents for all acquired properties effective on October 1, and applies to co-op fees and assessments for all acquired properties with a foreclosure sale or mortgage release date occurring on or after October 1.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Reverse Mortgages Mortgage Servicing Mortgages

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  • California updates foreign language disclosure requirements for mortgage modifications

    State Issues

    On September 11, the California governor approved SB 1201, which amends the state civil code to, among other things, require any supervised financial institution that negotiates a mortgage loan modification with a borrower primarily in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean and offers the borrower a final loan modification in writing, to deliver to the borrower at the same time, a specified form summarizing the modified terms in the same language as the negotiation. The amendments require the California Department of Business Oversight (CDBO) to make available—using CFPB and Fannie Mae forms as guidance—certain disclosures and forms in those specified languages.

    The amendments are generally effective on January 1, 2019, with the amendments relating to the new written disclosures to become operative 90 days following the issuance of forms by the CDBO, but not before January 1, 2019.

    State Issues State Legislation Mortgage Lenders Mortgages Loss Mitigation Mortgage Modification Language Access CFPB Fannie Mae

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  • Fannie Mae announces updates to Selling Guide

    Federal Issues

    On September 4, Fannie Mae issued SEL-2018-07, which announces updates to its Selling Guide including, among other things, the introduction of rural high-needs appraisal waivers. The rural high needs appraisal waiver is contingent on obtaining a home inspection to confirm safety, soundness, and structural integrity consistent with Fannie’s property condition guidelines. The waiver is available on a limited basis for purchase transactions containing certain characteristics, such as borrowers with income at or below 100 percent of the area median income and property located in designated rural-high needs areas, as defined by Fannie’s “Duty to Serve” obligations. Additionally, the Selling Guide includes updates to (i) the name of the property inspection and property field work waivers; (ii) liability and fidelity/crime insurance for projects; (iii) single-entity ownership of co-op projects; and (iv) the approved mortgage insurers list and mortgage insurance forms.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Selling Guide Mortgages Appraisal

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  • 8th Circuit rules Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac net worth sweep payments acceptable under FHFA statutory authority

    Courts

    On August 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of claims brought by shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) against the GSEs’ conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), alleging that FHFA exceeded its powers under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) and “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it entered an agreement with the Treasury Department requiring the GSEs to pay their entire net worth, minus a small buffer, as dividends to the Treasury every quarter.  In so holding, the 8th Circuit joined the 5th, 6th, 7th, and D.C. Circuits, each of which has previously “rejected materially identical arguments” presented by other GSE shareholders. (See previous InfoBytes coverage on the 5th Circuit decision here.) The shareholders sought an injunction to set aside the so-called “net worth sweep,” asserting that “HERA’s limitation on judicial review does not apply when FHFA exceeds its statutory powers under the Act . . . [and] that the net worth sweep exceeds, and is antithetical to, FHFA’s statutory powers.” However, the appellate court agreed with the lower court and found, among other things, the net worth sweep payments to be acceptable because HERA “grant[s] FHFA broad discretion in its management and operation of Fannie and Freddie” and permits, but does not require, the agency “to preserve and conserve Fannie’s and Freddie’s assets and to return [them] to private operation.”  The court also noted that HERA “authorize[d] FHFA to act ‘in the best interests’ of either Fannie and Freddie or itself,” thus affording FHFA more discretion than common law conservators.   Finally, the appellate court held that HERA’s anti-injunction provision, which states that “no court may take any action to restrain or affect the exercise of powers or functions of the [FHFA] as a conservator or a receiver,” also precludes enjoining the Treasury Department from participating in the net worth sweep because doing so would “restrain or affect” FHFA.

    Courts Appellate Eighth Circuit GSE Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHFA Single-Director Structure

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  • Fannie Mae updates Servicing Guide with streamlined mortgage insurance claims processing

    Federal Issues

    On August 15, Fannie Mae issued SVC-2018-05, which updates the Servicing Guide to include, among other things, a streamlined mortgage insurance (MI) claims process with certain mortgage insurers to “reduce the operational burden and cost associated with the process for servicers.” While servicers will continue to submit claims in accordance with the MI policy, participating mortgage insurers will now process all claims using an algorithm named the “MI Factor.” Effective October 1, claims settled using the MI Factor will not be subject to the curtailment billing process and servicers will not be required to submit supplemental claim submissions and claim appeals to the mortgage insurer. Fannie Mae also updated its Servicing Guide to include (i) clarification of the servicer’s responsibilities for addressing urgent property conditions; (ii) policy reminders regarding insured loss repay inspection reimbursements; and (iii) notification thresholds and timing requirements regarding the transfer of default-related matters between law firms within a single state.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Servicing Guide Mortgage Insurance Mortgage Servicing

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