CFPB unveils new service rules to avoid avoidable foreclosures
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“As the nation shifts from the COVID-19 emergency to economic recovery, we cannot be content with the dangers we still face,” said Dave Uejio, CFPB acting director. “An uncontrolled wave of foreclosures would drain billions of dollars in wealth to black and Hispanic communities hardest hit by the pandemic and still recovering from the impact of the Great Recession just over a decade ago. An uncontrolled wave of foreclosures would also risk destabilizing the housing market for all consumers. “
Among the modifications, repairers are required to:
- Allow borrowers to research loss mitigation options, and service providers must adhere to temporary special procedural guarantees before initiating foreclosures on certain mortgages until the end of the year.
- Offer affordable mortgage repayment plans faster without requiring borrowers to submit all documents for every possible option. These simplified loan modifications cannot increase borrower payments and come with other protections.
- Educate borrowers about their options and increase their reach with borrowers before starting foreclosure. They should also communicate critical information about their repayment or other options to borrowers when communicating with borrowers coming out of forbearance or struggling to make their mortgage payments.
According to the CFPB, borrowers will have at least three options to discount their mortgages and avoid foreclosure. Among these options: borrowers can resume their regular mortgage payments and defer their missed payments at the end of the loan, also called deferral. Borrowers can also ask their lenders to change the interest rate, principal balance, or term of their mortgage by changing their loan. Additionally, homeowners with sufficient equity can choose to sell their home.
In cases where foreclosures are not avoidable, the new CFPB rule will allow foreclosures to begin if the borrower has abandoned the property; was more than 120 days late on their mortgage before March 1, 2020; is more than 120 days late on mortgage payments and has not responded to the specific communication required from the mortgage department for 90 days; or has been assessed for all options other than foreclosure and there is no option available to avoid foreclosure.