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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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  • Fannie Mae issues updated mortgage industry alert in California

    Federal Issues

    Recently, Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Fraud Program issued an industry alert to mortgage companies operating in California regarding the use of false employment information by mortgage loan applicants. (See previous coverage in InfoBytes here). Fannie Mae extended its alert to Northern California and identified additional employers whose existence could not be verified by Fannie Mae. The alert provides “red flags” to help lenders and originators identify potential mortgage fraud when reviewing employment information.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Mortgages Fraud State Issues

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  • Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac issue forbearance relief to homeowners affected by California wildfires

    Federal Issues

    On August 8, Freddie Mac extended its disaster relief options to homeowners affected by ongoing California wildfires who have access to federal individual assistance programs in FEMA-declared disaster areas. The relief suspends foreclosures by providing forbearance for up to 12 months. Penalties and late fees will also be waived. Freddie Mac also reminded servicers to consider borrowers who work in eligible disaster areas but have homes outside the affected area for standard relief policies. Moreover, servicers may leverage Freddie Mac forbearance programs to provide immediate mortgage relief to those affected by the wildfires in areas where FEMA has not made individual assistance available.

    On August 7, Fannie Mae issued a notice to mortgage servicers reminding them that homeowners impacted by the California wildfires are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, during which time late fees will not be incurred nor delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus. Furthermore, servicers may immediately suspend or reduce mortgage payments for up to 90 days without any contact with homeowners believed to have been affected by the wildfires. Additionally, foreclosures and other legal proceedings must be suspended for impacted homeowners.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Mortgages Mortgage Servicing Disaster Relief

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  • Fannie Mae issues Selling Guide updates, removes requirement to use Market Conditions Addendum for appraisals

    Federal Issues

    On August 7, Fannie Mae issued Selling Guide update SEL-2018-06, which announces, among things, the removal of the requirement to use the Market Conditions Addendum (Form 1004MC) for appraisals and clarification of the policies regarding disbursement of HomeStyle Renovation funds. Specifically, effective immediately, the Selling Guide provides that lenders are no longer required to use Form 1004MC for appraisals as the agency’s Collateral Underwriter program provides market trend information for lenders and Fannie Mae to measure and manage market risks. However, appraisers remain responsible for analyzing market conditions and reporting them in the Neighborhood section of Fannie Mae’s appraisal forms. The update also clarifies that for HomeStyle Renovation funds disbursed using a wire transfer, the lender must obtain written consent to release the funds. Additionally, the update clarifies that all mechanics liens must be cleared or waived by the final disbursement of funds—a lien waiver is not required at each disbursement stage. The announcement also notes that the previously released information regarding Fannie Mae’s high loan-to-value refinance option (covered by InfoBytes here) is now available in the Selling Guide.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Selling Guide Refinance Appraisal

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  • FHFA reports results of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac annual stress tests

    Federal Issues

    On August 7, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a report providing the results of the fifth annual stress tests conducted by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). According to the report, Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests Results – Severely Adverse Scenario—which provides modeled projections on possible ranges of future financial results and does not define the entirety of possible outcomes—the GSEs will need to draw between $42.1 billion and $77.6 billion in incremental Treasury aid under a “severely adverse” economic crisis, depending on how deferred tax assets are treated. The losses would leave $176.5 billion to $212 billion available to the companies under their current funding commitment agreements. Notably, the projected bailout maximum is lower this year than FHFA reported last year, which ranged between $34.8 billion and $99.6 billion.

    Federal Issues Lending Mortgages GSE Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Stress Test Dodd-Frank FHFA

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  • FHFA extends comment deadline for proposed rule on capital requirements for Freddie and Fannie

    Federal Issues

    On July 31, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a 60-day extension on the public comment period for a proposed rule that would implement a new regulatory capital framework for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Among other things, the proposed rule would implement: (i) a new framework for risk-based capital requirements; and (ii) two alternative approaches to setting minimum leverage capital requirements. (Previously covered by InfoBytes here). The previous deadline for comments was September 17, and the deadline is now November 16.

    Federal Issues FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac GSE Capital Requirements

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  • FHFA pauses credit score initiative, will use formal rulemaking to create new credit score model

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 23, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it will not decide this year whether to update the credit score model used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), as previously announced. Instead, FHFA will focus on implementing Section 310: Credit Score Competition, of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law 115-174) (the Act). Section 310 requires FHFA to establish, through the rulemaking process, standards and criteria to govern the verification and validation of credit score models used by the Enterprises. According to the press release, prior to Section 310 becoming law, FHFA and the Enterprises had been engaged in an ongoing initiative to evaluate a new credit score model’s potential impact on “access to credit, safety and soundness, operations in the mortgage finance industry, and competition in the credit score market.” However, after Section 310 was enacted in May, FHFA “determined that proceeding with efforts to reach a decision based on our [initiative] and timetable would be duplicative of, and in some respects inconsistent with, the work we are mandated to do under Section 310 of the Act. In light of that, we are communicating to Congress that we are transferring our full efforts to working with the Enterprises to implement the steps required under Section 310.” FHFA will release a proposed rule open for public comment in the future to govern the verification of credit score models.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FHFA Credit Scores Fannie Mae Freddie Mac

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  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issue disaster relief policy reminders and updates

    Federal Issues

    On July 18, Fannie Mae, in Lender Letter LL-2018-04, and Freddie Mac, in an industry letter released the same day, reminded servicers of requirements that continue to be in effect for servicing mortgages impacted by eligible disasters. Specifically, Fannie Mae provides information on (i) reimbursements related to insured loss repair inspection costs; (ii) disaster-impacted inspections; (iii) the Extend Modification for Disaster Relief policy—developed in conjunction with Freddie Mac for post-disaster forbearance mortgage loan modifications; and (iv) the disbursement of hazard loss draft proceeds. Freddie Mac also reminds servicers of property inspection reimbursement requirements and changes to insurance loss settlement distributions.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Disaster Relief Mortgage Servicing

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  • Fannie Mae updates borrower-initiated mortgage insurance termination requirements

    Federal Issues

    On July 18, Fannie Mae released Lender Letter LL-2018-03 (Letter) to provide updates to requirements for single-family servicers related to borrower-initiated conventional mortgage insurance (MI) termination requests. The Letter covers requirements for borrower-initiated MI terminations and outlines various processes for verifying current property values. Among other things, the Letter also incorporates into the Servicing Guide changes previously announced in LL-2017-09 (see previous InfoBytes coverage here), which allows for temporary forbearance mortgage loan modification for servicers with mortgage loans affected by recent disasters. Fannie Mae encourages servicers to implement the new requirements on January 1, 2019, but will not require them to do so until March 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Mortgage Insurance Servicing Guide Disaster Relief

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  • 5th Circuit rules FHFA structure violates Constitution’s separation of powers

    Courts

    On July 16, in a divided opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court’s decision that addressed two claims brought by a group of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government-sponsored entities or GSEs) shareholders: (i) whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) acted within its statutory authority when it adopted a dividend agreement, which requires the GSEs to turn over every quarter “dividends equal to their entire net worth” to the Treasury Department; and (ii) whether the structure of the FHFA is unconstitutional and in violation of the separation of powers. The lower court previously dismissed the shareholder’s statutory claims and granted summary judgment in favor of the Treasury Department and the FHFA on the constitutional claim. In addressing the first claim, the appellate court agreed with the lower court and found the government-sponsored entities’ payments acceptable under the agency’s statutory authority and that the FHFA was lawfully established by Congress through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which places restrains on judicial review. However, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision as to the second claim and agreed with shareholders that Congress went too far in insulating the FHFA’s single director from removal by the president for anything other than cause, ruling that the agency’s structure violates Article II of the Constitution. “We hold that Congress insulated the FHFA to the point where the Executive Branch cannot control the FHFA or hold it accountable,” the opinion stated. The divided appellate panel remanded to the lower court for further proceedings.

    Earlier this year, in response to a challenge to the CFPB's single-director structure, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit en banc upheld the CFPB’s constitutionality in a 7-3 decision (see Buckley Sandler Special Alert). The 5th Circuit is also scheduled to hear a challenge by two Mississippi-based payday loan and check cashing companies to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s single-director structure, in which 14 state Attorney General filed an amici curiae brief encouraging the appellate court to disagree with the en banc decision of the D.C. Circuit. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here and here.)

    Courts Appellate Fifth Circuit FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Congress CFPB

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