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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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  • Fannie Mae Updates Selling Guide

    Lending

    On October 31, Fannie Mae issued Announcement SEL-2017-09, highlighting recent updates to its Selling Guide, that generally affirm the ability to conduct activity using electronic records.  Among other things, the update (i) confirms that sellers and servicers are authorized to originate, service, and modify loans using electronic records; (ii) requires that validation and security measures be put in place for systems generating electronic records; (iii) specifies that recorded mortgages and deeds of trust are not required to be maintained in paper form; and (iv) clarifies that all electronic signatures must comply with ESIGN, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and other applicable laws. The updates are effective immediately.

    Additional changes address the (i) introduction of Fannie Mae’s Servicing Execution Tool and Servicing Marketplace, which are designed to improve transfers of servicing; (ii) clarification that property owned by inter vivos revocable trusts qualify as eligible collateral; and (iii) updates to policies related to mortgage debts paid by parties other than the borrower.

    Lending Fannie Mae Electronic Signatures Mortgages UETA ESIGN

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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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  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Update Servicing Guides

    Lending

    On October 11, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced updates to their respective Servicing Guides.

    Fannie Mae. Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2017-09 highlights recent updates to the Servicing Guide, including topics related to the management of electronic transactions such as: (i) confirmation that sellers and servicers may originate, service, and modify loans using electronic records (electronic promissory notes require special approval); (ii) streamlined language clarifying requirements for the accuracy of information in electronic records; (iii) specification that paper records are not required for recorded mortgages and deeds of trust; (iv) clarification that all electronic signatures must comply with ESIGN, UETA, and other applicable laws; and (v) the removal of requirements for document custodians from the Servicing Guide that were duplicative of requirements set forth in Fannie Mae’s Requirements for Document Custodians. Additional updates address changes made to the reimbursement of foreclosure sale publication costs for costs incurred on or after January 1, 2018, and specific guidance for servicers pertaining to mortgage liens (to be implemented by December 1, 2017).

    Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2017-22 announcing servicing updates concerning (i) modifications to imminent default evaluation and process requirements (jointly developed with Fannie Mae) that will take effect July 1, 2018; and (ii) provisions under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) related to compliance time frames for servicers when responding to, or submitting requests for, interest rate reductions, along with updates that take effect February 1, 2018, concerning Guide Exhibit 71 used by servicers to report eligible SCRA interest rate subsidized loans. The updates also eliminate the manual property condition certificate process and modify time frame requirements for cancelling property insurance policies on real estate owned properties.

    Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage Servicing Electronic Signatures ESIGN UETA SCRA

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  • Fannie Mae Updates Servicing Guidelines for Multifamily Residences

    Lending

    On September 29, Fannie Mae released updates to its servicing guidelines for multifamily residences, effective October 2. Fannie Mae is updating provisions concerning Asset Management and Watchlist Management. Changes include:

    • removing color descriptions that previously corresponded to defined Mortgage Loan rating classifications;
    • updating the rating classification descriptions and/or characteristics to conform to regulatory definitions for Pass/Watch and Special Mention Assets; and
    • requiring Servicers provide an explanation and status of the issues causing an Asset to be reported on the Servicer Watchlist.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Fannie Mae Lending Mortgage Servicing Federal Issues

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  • FHFA Director Provides Update on GSE Conservatorship to House Financial Services Committee

    Federal Issues

    On October 3, the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Melvin L. Watt, testified at a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony provided an update on FHFA’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) and Watt’s views on housing financing reform. In his prepared remarks, Watt informed the Committee that the GSEs’ financial performance has improved significantly over the course of the FHA’s conservatorship and that the GSEs continue to provide liquidity to the housing finance market. Nonetheless, Watt stressed that in less than three months, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s taxpayer-financed capital buffer will run out, and any loss the GSEs experience after that would require additional money from taxpayers. Watt warned that any additional draw of taxpayer support could erode investor confidence in the GSEs, which could result in reduced liquidity in the mortgage-backed securities market and increase the cost of credit for borrowers.

    Federal Issues House Financial Services Committee FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages

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  • Second Circuit Upholds Large Monetary Judgment Against International Bank

    Courts

    On September 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a New York District Court’s 2015 ruling, which requires a major international bank to pay $806 million for selling allegedly faulty mortgage-backed bonds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the original suit brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), FHFA alleged that the bank overstated the reliability of the loans for sale. In upholding the lower court’s decision, the Second Circuit concluded that the marketing prospectus used to sell the mortgage securities to Fannie and Freddie between 2005 and 2007 contained “untrue statements of material fact.” Specifically, the prospectus falsely stated that the loans were compiled with the underwriting standards described therein, including standards related to assessing the creditworthiness of the borrowers and appraising the value of properties.

    As previously covered in InfoBytes, the same international bank recently settled with FHFA regarding residential mortgage-back securities trusts purchased in the same timeframe.

    Courts Litigation Second Circuit Appellate Securities FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages

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  • DOJ Announces Settlements with Non-Bank Mortgage Lender to Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Violations

    Lending

    On August 8, the DOJ announced a $74.5 million settlement with a non-bank mortgage lender and certain affiliates to resolve potential claims that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly originating and underwriting mortgage loans insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Administration (VA), and by selling certain loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that did not meet applicable requirements. According to the terms of the two settlement agreements, $65 million of the settlement will be paid to resolve allegations relating to FHA loans, and $9.45 million will be paid to resolve potential civil claims relating to certain specified VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans. The settlements also fully resolved a False Claims Act qui tam lawsuit that had been pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

    The settlement included no admission of liability by the lender. The lender issued a statement responding to the settlements: “We have agreed to resolve these matters, which cover certain legacy origination and underwriting activities, without admitting liability, in order to avoid the distraction and expense of potential litigation. While we cooperated fully in these investigations since receiving subpoenas in 2013, we concluded that settling these matters is in the best interest of [the company] and its constituents.”

    Lending Mortgages False Claims Act / FIRREA Mortgage Origination HUD Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHA Settlement DOJ Nonbank Supervision

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  • FHFA Reports Results of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Annual Stress Tests

    Federal Issues

    One August 7, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a report providing the results of the fourth annual stress tests conducted by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). In March 2017, the FHFA issued orders directing the GSEs to report the results of the required Dodd-Frank Act stress test to enable financial regulators to determine whether the companies have sufficient capital to support operations in adverse or severely adverse economic conditions. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) 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 $34.8 billion and $99.6 billion in incremental Treasury aid under a “severely adverse” economic crisis, depending on how deferred tax assets are treated. The losses would leave $158.4 billion to $223.2 billion available to the companies under their current funding commitment agreements. Notably, the projected bailout need is lower than what the FHFA reported last year, which ranged between $49.2 billion and $125.8 billion.

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

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  • FHFA Releases Q1 2017 Credit Risk Transfer Progress Report; Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Transfer $5.5 Billion in Risk to Investors

    Lending

    On July 26, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its Credit Risk Transfer Progress Report, presenting a comprehensive overview of the status and volume of credit risk transfer transactions to the private sector by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) through the first quarter of 2017 in the single-family market. As outlined in the progress report, since the beginning of the Enterprises’ Single-Family Credit Risk Transfer Programs in 2013 through March 2017, the Enterprises have transferred more than $54.2 billion in credit risk to private investors, amounting to about 3.4 percent of $1.6 trillion in unpaid principal balance. In Q1 the Enterprises transferred about $5.5 billion worth of credit risk. Transfers occurred through “debt issuances, insurance/reinsurance transactions, senior-subordinate securitizations, and a variety of lender collateralized recourse transactions.” Additionally, the report examines the role of primary mortgage insurance in credit risk transfer transactions and the Enterprises’ debt issuances.

    Lending FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac

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