Bank of America Short Sales and Bankruptcy: What Agents Need to Know

December 24, 2012

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Bank of America can review a short sale offer while the loan is in an active bankruptcy. To complete a short sale and issue the approval letter, the bankruptcy documents must be filed and approved by the court. Any final agreement will require Bankruptcy court approval.

Homeowner(s) should consult with their Bankruptcy Counsel about how these programs could affect their mortgage and their bankruptcy case.

When a loan is in bankruptcy, there is an Automatic Stay, also known as a “hold,” of any collection activity placed on any and/or all debts to which the debtor is a party. Before the short sale specialist can discuss the short sale, Bank of America must have written authorization from the Homeowner(s’) Bankruptcy attorney on the law firm’s letterhead to discuss loss mitigation options with the borrower. This is in addition to the Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form needed from the borrower to speak to the bankruptcy attorney and the listing agent.

If Homeowner(s) is/are currently in a bankruptcy proceeding, or have previously obtained a discharge of this debt under applicable bankruptcy law, all communication and notices are for information purposes only and is not an attempt to collect the debt, a demand for payment, or an attempt to impose personal liability for that debt. The Homeowner(s) is/are not obligated to discuss their home loan with Bank of America or enter into a short sale agreement or other loan-assistance program. Customers should consult with their bankruptcy attorney or other adviser about their legal rights and options.

For a short sale to be processed to completion for a loan in bankruptcy, Bank of America must receive one of the following releases issued by the bankruptcy court:

  • Granted Motion to Sell*
  • Granted Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay with noted short sale negotiation*
  • Dismissal
  • Discharge with Abandonment, Closing Order, Final Decree, Trustee No Asset Review

*A granted Motion differs from a requested Motion.

Note: If Homeowner(s) receive(s) a discharge under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding: discharge releases the Homeowner(s) from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. The Homeowner(s) is/are no longer legally required to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge is a permanent order prohibiting the creditors of the Homeowner(s) from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the Homeowner(s), such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts.

Although a Homeowner is not personally liable for discharged debts, a valid lien (i.e., a charge upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided (i.e., made unenforceable) in the bankruptcy case will remain after the bankruptcy case. Therefore, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien.

Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions:

What additional documents will be needed to complete this short sale?

Bank of America must have written authorization from the Homeowner’s bankruptcy attorney (on the law firm’s letterhead) to discuss loss mitigation options with the Homeowner. The customer and the attorney may determine that they do not want to give this authorization and the short sale can be negotiated through the attorney. This attorney authorization permitting Bank of America to speak to the Homeowner(s) is in addition to the Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form needed from the Homeowner(s) to speak to the bankruptcy attorney and agent. Communication cannot occur with the real estate agent/Homeowner(s) until the bankruptcy attorney’s written authorization on the firm’s letterhead and the Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form are received.

When will I receive the approval letter?

An approval letter cannot be issued until the releases, identified above from the Bankruptcy court has been received. Once the release is received, the file can be submitted for approval to the appropriate investor(s) and/or mortgage insurance company. The file will then follow the normal approval process to ensure it meets investor requirements.

Why can’t you approve a short sale file while waiting for the bankruptcy to be released?

An approval must follow the direction provided in the release by the Bankruptcy court. That is why a short sale will not be approved unless a court order permitting the sale is first received.

What fees can be paid related to the bankruptcy proceeding?

Any fees that are directly associated with the bankruptcy would be subject to further review and approval. For example, if Bank of America incurs fees to file a pleading to approve the short sale in the Bankruptcy court, Bank of America may seek permission from the Bankruptcy court to allow such attorney and filing fees.

Can a homeowner qualify for a Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) incentive while in bankruptcy?

Yes. However, any funds going to the Homeowner(s) through state incentives or other incentive programs must be properly disclosed and handled in accordance with bankruptcy legislation and local rules.

Are additional documents required for a short sale when the homeowner is in active bankruptcy?

Yes. Two additional documents are needed for a short sale that is in active bankruptcy:

  • An attorney authorization letter from the Bankruptcy attorney providing permission to speak with the Homeowner(s) is required. This is separate and in addition to the required Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form signed by the Homeowner(s) permitting Bank of America to speak with the bankruptcy attorney and the real estate agent.
  • Bank of America must receive a release issued by the Bankruptcy court (listed above).

If you have questions, first contact your short sale specialist (or closing officer) through Equator messaging. If there’s no response after two days, escalate to the team lead.

For urgent needs (such as a foreclosure postponement) or for escalation beyond the team lead, contact Short Sale Customer/Agent Care at 1.866.880.1232.

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Details on HUD Emergency Homeowners Loan Program

October 14, 2010


On October 5, 2010, HUD released details about the $1 Billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program (EHLP) authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

EHLP will offer declining balance, deferred payment “bridge loan” (non-recourse, subordinate loans with 0% interest rate) for up to $50,000 to assist eligible homeowners with payments of arrearages, including delinquent taxes and insurance plus up to 24 months of monthly payments on their mortgage principal, interest, mortgage insurance premiums, taxes, and hazard insurance.

Borrowers living in the following jurisdictions are eligible to receive funds through the EHLP:

TX Texas $ 135,418,959
NY New York $ 111,649,112
PA Pennsylvania $ 105,804,905
MA Massachusetts $  61,036,001
WA Washington $  56,272,599
MN Minnesota $  55,848,137
WI Wisconsin $   51,540,638
MO Missouri $   49,001,729
VA Virginia $   46,627,889
CO Colorado $   41,286,747
MD Maryland $   39,962,270
CT Connecticut $   32,946,864
KS Kansas $   17,748,782
AR Arkansas $   17,736,991
IA Iowa $   17,379,343
LA Louisiana $   16,691,558
UT Utah $   16,577,582
OK Oklahoma $   15,575,381
PR Puerto Rico $   14,714,668
ID Idaho $   13,284,075
NH New Hampshire $   12,655,243
NM New Mexico $   10,725,515
ME Maine $   10,379,657
WV West Virginia $     8,339,884
NE Nebraska $     8,304,512
HI Hawaii $     6,292,250
DE Delaware $     6,048,577
MT Montana $     5,710,580
VT Vermont $     4,830,215
AK Alaska $     3,890,898
WY Wyoming $     2,346,329
SD South Dakota $     2,051,563
ND North Dakota $     1,320,547
Total: $ 1,000,000,000

Program Administration

Delegated Approach: Borrowers who are listed in one of the above 32 states or Puerto Rico will meet with non-profit housing counselors who are part of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program administered by NeighborWorks® America to receive funding.

The non-profit housing counselors will provide intake and outreach services including:

  • (i) developing and disseminating program marketing materials, (ii) providing an overview of the program and eligibility requirements, (iii) conducting initial eligibility screening (including verifying income), (iv) counseling  potential applicants, providing information concerning available employment and training resources,  (v) collecting and assembling homeowner documentation, (vi) submitting homeowner application, and (vii) providing transition counseling to explore with the homeowner other loss mitigation options, including loan modification, short sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or traditional sale of home.
  • The counselors shall also be encouraged to conduct outreach to entities in local communities to provide information on assistance available to unemployed homeowners through this program and shall publicize the list of entities approved to assist potential applicants with applying to the program

State Law Approach: Borrowers or state HFAs that operate loan assistance programs that are determined by HUD to be substantially similar to the EHRF program will receive allocations to fund emergency loans for borrowers in the states below:

Alabama $60,672,471
California $476,257,070
Florida $238,864,755
Georgia $126,650,987
Illinois $166,352,726
Indiana $82,762,859
Kentucky $55,588,050
Michigan $128,461,559
Mississippi $38,036,950
Nevada $34,056,581
New Jersey $112,200,638
North Carolina $120,874,221
Ohio $148,728,864
Oregon $49,294,215
Rhode Island $13,570,770
South Carolina $58,772,347
Tennessee $81,128,260
Washington, DC $7,726,678

Allocation of Program Funds

Recipient Geography: HUD will assist borrowers living in Puerto Rico and the 32 states otherwise not funded by Treasury’s Innovation Fund for Hardest Hit Housing Markets (Hardest Hit Fund) program.

Allocation Amount: The total amount reserved will be based on the state’s approximate share of unemployed homeowners with a mortgage relative to all unemployed homeowners with a mortgage

Targeting Funds to Local Geographies: HUD will provide information that identifies pockets within each of the designated states that have suffered the most from recent spikes in unemployment and/or mortgage delinquencies.  HUD will encourage the use of program dollars in these hardest-hit areas.

Homeowner Eligibility and Program Operation

Income Thresholds: Has a total pre-event household income equal to, or less than, 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which includes wage, salary, and self-employed earnings and income.

Significant Income Reduction: Has a current gross income (income before taxes) that is at least 15% lower than the pre-event income.

  • “Pre-event income”: the income prior to the onset of unemployment, underemployment, or medical emergency
  • “Current income”: the income at the time of program application, as well as income during the period that the homeowner continues to receive assistance from the fund

Employment type: Both wage and salary workers and self-employed individuals are eligible.

Delinquency and Likelihood of Foreclosure: Must be at least 3 months delinquent on payments and have received notification of an intention to foreclose.  This requirement can be documented by any written communication from the mortgagee to the homeowner indicating at least 3 months of missed payments and the mortgagee’s intent to foreclose.  In addition, the homeowner can self-certify that there is a likelihood of initiation of foreclosure on the part of their mortgagee due to the homeowner being at least 3 months delinquent in their monthly payment.

Ability to Resume Repayment: Has a reasonable likelihood of being able to resume repayment of the first mortgage obligations within 2 years, and meet other housing expenses and debt obligations when the household regains full employment, as determined by:

Back-end DTI ratio:

Total Monthly Debt Expenses ÷ Total Gross Monthly Income

  • Total monthly debt expenses = mortgage principal, interest, taxes, insurance, & revolving and fixed installment debt

***Note: For this calculation, gross income will be measured at the “pre-event” level***

Principal Residence: Must reside in the mortgaged property and be your  principal residence.  The mortgaged property must also be a single family residence (1 – 4 unit structure or condominium unit).

Creation of HUD Note:  After the first assistance payment is made on behalf of the homeowner, the fiscal agent will create an open-ended “HUD note” and a mortgage to be  in the name of the Secretary HUD of sufficient size to accommodate the expected amount of assistance to be provided to homeowner.

Ongoing Qualification of Homeowner

Termination of Monthly Assistance: Assistance is terminated and the homeowner resumes full responsibility for meeting the first lien mortgage payments in the event of any of the following circumstances:

  • The maximum loan ($50,000) amount has been reached;
  • The homeowner fails to report changes in unemployment status or income;
  • The homeowner’s income regains 85% or more of its pre-event level;
  • The homeowner no longer resides in, sells, or refinances the debt on the mortgaged property; or
  • The homeowner defaults on their portion of the current first lien mortgage loan payments

Income re-evaluation: After initial income verification at application intake, the homeowner shall be required to notify the fiscal agent of any changes in the household income and/or employment status at any point throughout the entire period of assistance

Forms of Assistance

Use of Funds for Arrearages: On behalf of the homeowner, the fiscal agent shall use loan funds to pay 100% of arrears (mortgage principal, interest, mortgage insurance premiums, taxes, hazard insurance, and ground rent, if any)

Homeowner Payments: Homeowner contribution to monthly payment on first mortgage will be set at 31% of gross income at the time of application, but in no instance will it be less than $25 per month

Use of Funds for Continuing Mortgage Assistance: The fiscal agent will make monthly mortgage payments to the servicer of the first lien mortgage in excess of the payments made by the homeowner

Duration of Assistance: If at any time the household’s gross income increases to 85% or more of its pre-event level, assistance will be phased out by the fiscal agent over a 2 month period.  In any event, assistance with monthly payments may not continue beyond 24 months

Repayment Terms

Transition Counseling:   The designated counseling agent shall contact each homeowner that is approaching the last months of program eligibility and remains un/underemployed (3-6 months before the assistance ends) and require the homeowner  to meet with a HUD approved counseling agent to explore other loss mitigation options, including loan modification, short sales, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or traditional sale of home

Repayment of HUD Note: Following the last payment on behalf of the homeowner, the fiscal agent will process the homeowner’s “HUD Note” and record a mortgage with a specific loan balance.  The note and mortgage will be in the form of a 5 year declining balance, 0% interest, non-recourse loan, and the mortgage shall be in the form of a secured junior lien on the property

Terms for Declining Balance Feature:  No payment is due on the note during the 5 year term so long as the assisted household maintains the property as principal residence and remains current in his or her monthly payments on the first mortgage loan.  If the homeowner meets these two conditions, the balance due shall decline by 20% annually, until the note is extinguished and the junior loan is terminated

Events Triggering Note Repayment: The homeowner will be responsible for repayment of the applicable balance of the HUD note to the fiscal agent or its successor,  if, at any time during the 5 year repayment period, any of the following events occur:

  • The homeowner no longer resides in the mortgaged property as a principal residence, but maintains ownership;
  • The homeowner defaults on its portion of  the current mortgage; or
  • The homeowner receives net proceeds from selling or refinancing debt on the home.

***Note: Net proceeds — after paying outstanding applicable brokers fees, first balances (and second lien balances, as applicable), and an allowance of $2,000 to the homeowner for relocation expenses when the home is sold — will go towards paying down the HUD note.  In the event that proceeds of a sale or loan refinance are not sufficient to repay the entire HUD note, the remaining applicable balance of the HUD note shall be considered to have been met, and the lien against the property shall be released***

Provisions for Underwater Homeowners: At all stages of the program, “underwater” homeowners will be encouraged to explore participation in short sale or short refinancing programs offered by their servicer and/or the federal government (i.e. Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives), which will not trigger repayment of the HUD note

  • Underwater homeowners = homeowners with mortgage debt in excess of the market value of their home

Program Start Date

HUD intends for EHLP to begin taking applications by the end of 2010


$3 billion additional assistance for jobless homeowners

August 17, 2010

On August 11, 2010, the Obama Administration announced additional support to help homeowners struggling with unemployment through two targeted foreclosure-prevention programs.

Through the existing Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets (HFA Hardest Hit Fund), the U.S. Department of the Treasury will make $2 billion of additional assistance available for HFA programs for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will soon launch a complementary $1 billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program to provide assistance – for up to 24 months – to homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and have experienced a substantial reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or a medical condition.

“HUD’s new Emergency Homeowner Loan Program will build on Treasury’s Hardest Hit initiative by targeting assistance to struggling unemployed homeowners in other hard hit areas to help them avoid preventable foreclosures,” said Bill Apgar, HUD Senior Advisor for Mortgage Finance. Together, these initiatives represent a combined $3 billion investment that will ultimately impact a broad group of struggling borrowers across the country and in doing so further contribute to the Administration’s efforts to stabilize housing markets and communities across the country.”

Hardest Hit Fund

President Obama first announced the HFA Hardest Hit Fund in February 2010 to allow states hit hard by the economic downturn flexibility in determining how to design and implement programs to meet the local challenges homeowners in their state are facing.

Under the additional assistance announced, states eligible to receive support have all experienced an unemployment rate at or above the national average over the past 12 months. Each state will use the funds for targeted unemployment programs that provide temporary assistance to eligible homeowners to help them pay their mortgage while they seek re-employment, additional employment or undertake job training.

States that have already benefited from previously announced assistance under the HFA Hardest Hit Fund may use these additional resources to support the unemployment programs previously approved by Treasury or they may opt to implement a new unemployment program. States that do not currently have HFA Hardest Hit Fund unemployment programs must submit proposals to Treasury by September 1, 2010 that, within established guidelines, meet the distinct needs of their state.

The states eligible to receive funds through this additional assistance, along with allocations based on their population sizes, are as follows:

Alabama $60,672,471
California $476,257,070
Florida $238,864,755
Georgia $126,650,987
Illinois $166,352,726
Indiana $82,762,859
Kentucky $55,588,050
Michigan $128,461,559
Mississippi $38,036,950
Nevada $34,056,581
New Jersey $112,200,638
North Carolina $120,874,221
Ohio $148,728,864
Oregon $49,294,215
Rhode Island $13,570,770
South Carolina $58,772,347
Tennessee $81,128,260
Washington, DC $7,726,678

HUD Emergency Homeowners Loan Program

This new program will complement Treasury’s HFA Hardest Hit Fund by providing assistance to homeowners in hard hit local areas that may not be included in the hardest hit target states. Those areas are still being determined.

The program will work through a variety of state and non-profit entities and will offer:

  • a declining balance
  • deferred payment “bridge loan” (0% interest, non-recourse, subordinate loan) for up to $50,000 on their mortgage principal, interest, mortgage insurance, taxes and hazard insurance for up to 24 months.

Under the program, eligible borrowers must:

  • Be at least 3 months delinquent in their payments and have a reasonable likelihood of being able to resume repayment of their mortgage payments and related housing expenses within 2 years;
  • Have a mortgage property that is the principal residence of the borrower, and eligible borrowers may not own a second home;
  • Demonstrate a good payment record prior to the event that produced the reduction of income.

HUD will announce additional details, including the targeted communities and other program specifics when the program is officially launched in the coming weeks.


Fannie Mae Launches Distressed Borrower Education Site

August 9, 2010

 

Fannie Mae launches a borrower-facing outreach site designed to educate distressed homeowners on potential retention strategies and foreclosure alternatives.

The online education resource — available in both English and Spanish — offers calculators to demonstrate to borrowers the mechanics of refinance, repayment, forbearance, and modification options if the borrowers would like to keep their home. In addition, it covers information on Fannie’s Deed-For-Lease program, which allows borrowers to become renters in the same property after pursing deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

For borrowers who would like to leave their home, the online education resource offers possible options such as, a short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure when you can no longer stay in your home but want to avoid foreclosure.

For borrowers who aren’t sure what the best option is for them, the Options Finder can assist you. By answering some questions, the Options Finder determines which option may be right based on your current situation.

When you need additional assistance, the Resources section offers the following and much more:

Fannie Mae Resources

Review what Fannie Mae is doing to assist homeowners and how they can help you.

Contact your Mortgage Company

Find and contact your mortgage company to discuss your situation.

Helpful Forms

Download forms to help you prepare for (and keep track of) working with your mortgage company or a housing counselor.

Calculators

Use the calculators to determine which scenario fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Search for helpful answers to some of the most common questions regarding your options.

Take Action – What You Should Do Next

Once you ‘ve learned about options that may be available for your situation, it’s time to take action.

Step 1: Research

Be sure to bookmark the page and print the information on the option(s) that applies best to your situation. You will want to refer to this information when speaking with your mortgage company.

Step 2: Gather

Gather the information shown below. You’ll need this information handy so you can refer to it during your discussion with your mortgage company. Use the Financial Checklist to help get organized and prepared.

  • Your mortgage(s): Loan number, past due notices, monthly statement, etc. for your first mortgage and second mortgage or other liens (if applicable).
  • Your other debts: Copies of bills and monthly statements for all other debts such as credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, utilities, etc.
  • Your income: Paystubs, unemployment benefits letter, alimony, child support, etc. for all borrowers on the mortgage.
  • Your hardship: Explain your situation and any hardship that has affected your income or ability to make your payments, etc.

Step 3: Contact

Contact your mortgage company and ask them about the options that are available for your specific situation. Also ask for the name and/or employee number of the mortgage specialist who is helping you and be sure to give them your up-to-date contact information. Use the Contact Log to keep track of your conversations and follow-up items.

Step 4: Discuss

Make sure you are ready to discuss everything about your current situation—the more the mortgage company understands and the more accurate the information, the more they can help you find the right option.

Step 5: Confirm

Ask them to confirm your current situation to be certain there are no other issues. Make sure you understand the next steps involved and if there is anything you will need to complete for the specific option.


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