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  • Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae release updates to servicing guides

    Federal Issues

    On June 13, Freddie Mac released Guide Bulletin 2018-9, which among other things, updates servicer requirements for short-term, long-term, and unemployment forbearance plans and consolidates the offerings into a single plan. Effective December 1, the streamlined plan will allow servicers to approve forbearance plans lasting up to six months without requiring eligible borrowers to submit a Borrower Response Package. Servicers may also offer consecutive forbearance plans that do not exceed 12 months in total to qualifying borrowers. Separately, the Bulletin includes the introduction of Freddie Mac’s NextJob re-employment services company designed to serve high-needs areas and provide job search skills and training for unemployed or underemployed borrowers who have requested loss mitigation assistance.

    On the same day, Fannie Mae updated its Servicing Guide to consolidate and simplify its forbearance policies into a single plan, and encouraged servicers to implement the changes immediately, but no later than December 1. Fannie Mae clarified, however, that forbearance plans “entered into prior to the servicer’s implementation would adhere to existing policy until the expiration of such forbearance plan.” Additional changes to the Servicing Guide include: (i) clarifications to the escrow advances reimbursement policy for real estate taxes and flood/property insurance premiums; and (ii) updates to be implemented by August 1 for when servicers are required to notify Fannie Mae that a mortgage loan has been placed under military indulgence.

     

    Federal Issues Freddie Mac Fannie Mae Servicing Guide Mortgages Loss Mitigation Flood Insurance Escrow

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  • FHFA proposes rule on capital requirements for Freddie and Fannie

    Federal Issues

    On June 12, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a proposed rulemaking, which implements a regulatory capital framework for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the Enterprises) including (i) a new framework for risk-based capital requirements; and (ii) two alternative approaches to setting minimum leverage capital requirements. Regulatory capital requirements for the Enterprises have been suspended since the Enterprises were placed in conservatorship in September 2008, and these new requirements would continue to be suspended while the Enterprises remain under conservatorship. FHFA stated that the purpose of the rulemaking effort is to develop a risk measurement framework to better evaluate each Enterprise’s business decisions while in conservatorship. As a result, the proposed risk-based capital requirements would “provide a granular assessment of credit risk specific to different mortgage loan categories, as well as market risk, operational risk, and going-concern buffer components.” The two options for minimal leverage capital requirements include (i) requiring the Enterprises to hold capital equal to 2.5 percent of total assets and off-balance sheet guarantees related to securitization activities; and (ii) requiring the Enterprises to hold capital equal to 1.5 percent of trust assets and 4 percent of non-trust assets. Comments on the proposed rulemaking must be submitted within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.

    Federal Issues FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac GSE Capital Requirements

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  • Fannie Mae issues Selling Guide updates, announces MH Advantage program

    Federal Issues

    On June 5, Fannie Mae issued Selling Guide update SEL-2018-05, which announces, among other things, the MH Advantage initiative. MH Advantage is a manufactured home that meets specific construction, design, and efficiency standards. Fannie Mae offers a number of flexibilities on loans secured by these properties, including higher loan-to-value ratios and standard mortgage insurance. The Selling Guide is updated to include the requirements for loans secured by MH Advantage homes, such as property eligibility, appraisal, and underwriting requirements. The requirements for MH Advantage loans are effective immediately. Additionally, the Selling Guide includes updates to (i) HomeStyle Energy loans in Desktop Underwriter; (ii) HomeStyle Renovation loan forms; and (iii) project standards updates to condo, co-op, and PUD project policies.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Selling Guide Manufactured Housing Mortgage Insurance Mortgages

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  • Fannie Mae issues industry alert concerning borrower employment scheme in Southern California

    Federal Issues

    On May 24, Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Fraud Program issued an industry alert to mortgage lenders in Los Angeles County identifying 34 entities and businesses listed as employers on loan applications, the existence of which could not be confirmed by Fannie Mae. In the event one of the identified companies is provided as a borrower’s place of employment, Fannie Mae warns lenders to exercise caution when reviewing the entire loan file and “take appropriate steps to prevent the institution from being the victim of fraud.” The alert provides additional fraud detection and prevention steps, including encouraging awareness of third-party originators/brokers, educating staff, and reporting suspicious activity.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Mortgages Fraud State Issues

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  • 9th Circuit affirms credit reporting agency’s code data did not violate the FCRA

    Courts

    On May 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed summary judgment for a national credit reporting agency, holding that the company did not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in its reporting of short sales executed by the plaintiffs. The decision results from a proposed class action suit alleging that the credit reporting agency violated the FCRA by reporting short sales executed between 2010 and 2011 with code numbers that misreported the data as foreclosures. In September 2016, the lower court found that the credit reporting agency provided creditors with clear instructions on how to interpret the code system and Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter program misinterpreted the “settled” code number “9” as a foreclosure, which was not the credit reporting agency’s fault. In affirming the lower court’s decision, the 9th Circuit held that the credit reporting agency “clearly and accurately disclosed to [consumers] all information that [the company] recorded and retained that might be reflected in a consumer report.” Additionally, the panel noted that the credit reporting agency was not required to report that Fannie Mae mishandled the code data when it became aware of it.

    Courts Ninth Circuit FCRA Credit Reporting Agency Short Sale Foreclosure Fannie Mae Appellate

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  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac update high LTV refinance ratio for one-unit, principal residences

    Federal Issues

    On May 22, Fannie Mae issued Lender Letter LL-2018-02, which updates options related to the high loan-to-value (LTV) refinance option released in September 2017 (LL-2017-05). Fannie Mae, at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Authority and in conjunction with Freddie Mac, increased the minimum refinance LTV ratio from 95.01 percent to 97.01 percent for one-unit, principal residences. Additionally, there are no minimum credit score requirements or a maximum debt-to-income ratio for most high LTV refinances. The Lender Letter also notes that the Loan-Level Price Adjustment Matrix on Fannie Mae’s website is updated to include the high LTV refinances and provides specific loan delivery requirements.

    Freddie Mac announced the same LTV ratio change in Guide Bulletin 2018-8. The bulletin also announced, among other things, a “Credit Fee in Price” cap structure, effective on January 1, 2019, for applicable refinance mortgages. According to the bulletin, the pricing cap is designed to balance affordability to the consumer and risk to the lender. The pricing cap structure is related to the LTV ratio of the refinance and occupancy type of the property. Other updates include, (i) clarification of income stability and credit inquiries; (ii) concurrent transfers of servicing; and (iii) investor reporting change initiative.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Refinance LTV Ratio FHFA Mortgages

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  • FHFA and the Enterprises release Language Access Plan

    Federal Issues

    On May 10, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), in conjunction with the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), released a Language Access Multi-Year Plan (Plan), which identifies potential solutions for the obstacles faced by limited English proficiency (LEP) borrowers in accessing mortgage credit. The Plan was developed based on research and testing conducted in 2016 and 2017 to assist the Enterprises and FHFA in identifying the issues faced by LEP borrowers throughout the mortgage cycle. Key milestones for the Enterprises and FHFA for 2018 and beyond include (i) creating a clearinghouse with centralized resources, such as translated mortgage documents; (ii) establishing a language access working group; (iii) developing a disclosure that accompanies the Preferred Language Question on the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) (previously covered by InfoBytes here); (iv) developing glossaries that include mortgage and real estate terms; (v) in addition to Spanish, translating the URLA into additional languages; and (vi) creating a language access line to provide consumers with assistance expeditiously.

    Federal Issues FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages URLA Language Access

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  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac release updates to servicing guides

    Federal Issues

    On April 11, Fannie Mae updated its Servicing Guide, regarding servicing transfer welcome calls. Pursuant to Fannie Mae SVC-2018-03, transferee servicers are no longer required to, among other things, initiate welcome calls within five days of the transfer of servicing. Transferee servicers may now implement their own processes for borrower contact as long as the servicer remains in compliance with applicable laws. Fannie Mae also updated the Servicing Guide to add flexibility in connection with the collection of escrow shortages during a mortgage modification.  Under the amendment to the Servicing Guide, servicers may spread repayment of the shortage amount over a term of up to 60 months, unless the borrower decides to pay up-front. Additionally, Fannie Mae released a revised Reverse Mortgage Loan Servicing Manual, which includes updates to expense reimbursement claim submissions and mortgage loan status codes.

    On the same day, Freddie Mac released Guide Bulletin 2018-6, which, among other things, updates servicer requirements on Subsequent Transfers of Servicing (STOS) and borrower-paid mortgage insurance. Effective July 23, transferor servicers must use the automated STOS request system and new transfer requests must be submitted at least 45 days and no more than 60 days prior to the effective date of the transfer. The Bulletin also provides additional details on initiating the electronic STOS and executing the STOS agreement. There will be a temporary moratorium on STOS requests and modifications to existing requests from July 9 through July 20, in order for Freddie Mac to implement the new process.

    Separately, the Bulletin includes various changes to streamline servicer responsibilities in canceling borrower-paid mortgage insurance, such as now allowing servicers to process a borrower’s verbal request to cancel mortgage insurance and simplifying the process to determine current value.  

    Consistent with the Fannie updates, Freddie Mac also modified its escrow shortage collection requirements to allow repayment to be spread over up to 60 months.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Servicing Guide Mortgages Mortgage Modification Mortgage Servicing Reverse Mortgages Mortgage Insurance

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  • Fannie Mae updates Selling Guide with lender contribution clarifications

    Federal Issues

    On April 3, Fannie Mae updated its Selling Guide, including changes to clarify its lender contribution policy and add the option of full-service certificate custodians (FCCs). According to Fannie Mae SEL-2018-03, lender-sourced contributions to fund closing are permitted as long as the contribution is not (i) used to fund any portion of the down payment; (ii) subject to repayment requirements; or (iii) sourced from a third party. While the contribution cannot exceed borrower-paid closing costs, there is otherwise no limit on the amount of the lender contribution unless the lender is an interested party to the transaction. If the lender is an interested party, the contribution is subject to the Interested Party Contributions policy. Additionally, the Selling Guide includes information related to lenders’ option to use a Fannie Mae approved FCC for whole loans and for loans in mortgage-backed securities. The updated information includes (i) documentation and delivery requirements for loans delivered to FCCs; (ii) certification process for loans delivered to FCCs; and (iii) recognition of the new Master Custodial Agreement, which will govern the relationships involved. The Selling Guide also clarifies transaction timing related to whether a single-closing construction-to-permanent transaction is processed as a purchase or a refinance.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Selling Guide Mortgages

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  • FHFA announces new Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security

    Federal Issues

    On March 28, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) announced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will issue a new security, the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS), on June 3, 2019. The UMBS will replace all current offerings of mortgage-backed securities that occur in the to-be-announced (TBA) forward market. According to the announcement, the new UMBS will be issued using the Common Securitization Platform (CSP) through the Enterprises’ joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions (CSS). See previous InfoBytes coverage here

    Federal Issues FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac MBS

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