Independent Foreclosure Review FAQs

November 16, 2011

 

Q1. What is the Independent Foreclosure Review?

As part of a consent order with federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) (independent bureaus of the U.S. Department of the Treasury), or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 14 mortgage servicers and their affiliates are identifying customers who were part of a foreclosure action on their primary residence during the period of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is providing homeowners the opportunity to request an independent review of their foreclosure process. If the review finds that financial injury occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the servicer’s foreclosure process, the customer may receive compensation or other remedy.

Q2. What is a foreclosure action? What foreclosure actions are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Foreclosure actions include any of the following occurrences on a primary residence between the dates of January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010:

  • The property was sold due to a foreclosure judgment.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process but was removed from the process because payments were brought up-to-date or the borrower entered a payment plan or modification program.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, but the home was sold or the borrower participated in a short sale or chose a deed-in-lieu or other program to avoid foreclosure.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process and remains delinquent but the foreclosure sale has not yet taken place.

Q3. How do I know if I am eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Your loan must first meet the following initial eligibility criteria:

  • Your mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers in Question 4.
  • Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  • The property was your primary residence.

If your mortgage loan does not meet the initial eligibility criteria outlined above, you can still have your mortgage concerns considered by calling or writing your servicer directly.

Q4. Who are the participating servicers? What mortgage servicers and their affiliates are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review process?

The list of participating servicers includes:

  • America’s Servicing Co.
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • Bank of America
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • CitiMortgage
  • Countrywide
  • EMC
  • EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage Services
  • MetLife Bank
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wachovia Mortgage
  • Washington Mutual (WaMu)
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Q5. What are some examples of financial injury due to errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

Listed below are examples of situations that may have led to financial injury. This list does not include all situations.

  • The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than you actually owed.
  • You were doing everything the modification agreement required, but the foreclosure sale still happened.
  • The foreclosure action occurred while you were protected by bankruptcy.
  • You requested assistance/modification, submitted complete documents on time, and were waiting for a decision when the foreclosure sale occurred.
  • Fees charged or mortgage payments were inaccurately calculated, processed, or applied.
  • The foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended and the servicemember did not waive his/her rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Q6. How does my mortgage loan get reviewed as part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Homeowners meeting the initial eligibility criteria will be mailed notification letters with an enclosed Request for Review Form by December 31, 2011.

If you believe that you may have been financially injured, you must submit a Request for Review Form postmarked no later than April 30, 2012. Forms postmarked after this date will not be eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

If you have more than one mortgage account that meets the initial eligibility criteria for an independent review, you will receive a separate letter for each. You will need to submit a separate Request for Review Form for each account. It is important that you complete the form to the best of your ability. All information you provide may be useful.

Q7. How can I submit the Request for Review Form?

Homeowners meeting the initial eligibility criteria will be mailed notification letters with an enclosed Request for Review Form before the end of 2011. If you received the notification letter, you can send in your Request for Review Form in the prepaid envelope provided, postmarked no later than April 30, 2012.

If your loan is part of the initial eligible population and you need a new form by mail, have questions, or need help completing the form you have received in the mail, call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Q8. Who can submit or sign the Request for Review Form?

Either the borrower or a co-borrower of the mortgage loan can submit and sign the form. The borrower signing the Request for Review Form should be authorized by all borrowers to proceed with the request for review. In the event of a finding of financial injury, any possible compensation or remedy will take into consideration all borrowers listed on the loan, either directly or to their trusts or estates.

Q9. What if one of the borrowers has died or is injured or debilitated?

Any borrower, co-borrower or attorney-in-fact can sign the form. In the event of a finding of financial injury, any possible compensation or other remedy will take into account all borrowers listed on the mortgage loan either directly or to their trusts or estates.

Q10. Do I need an attorney to request or submit the Request for Review Form?

No. However, if your mortgage loan meets the initial eligibility criteria and you are currently represented by an attorney with respect to a foreclosure or bankruptcy case regarding your mortgage; please refer to your attorney.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is FREE. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service to complete the Request for Review Form.

Q11. If I have already submitted a complaint to my servicer, do I need to submit a separate Request for Review Form to participate in this process?

If your mortgage loan meets the initial eligibility criteria, you should submit a Request for Review Form to ensure your foreclosure action is included in the Independent Foreclosure Review process.

Q12. What happens during the review process?

You will be sent an acknowledgement letter within one week after your Request for Review Form is received by the independent review administrator. Your request will be reviewed for inclusion in the Independent Foreclosure Review. If your request meets the eligibility requirements, it will be reviewed by an independent consultant.

Your servicer will provide relevant documents along with any findings and recommendations related to your request for review to the independent consultant for review. Your servicer may be asked to clarify or confirm facts and disclose reasons for events that occurred related to the foreclosure process. You could be asked to provide additional information or documentation. Because the review process will be a thorough and complete examination of many details and documents, the review could take several months.

The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine whether financial injury has occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy.

Q13. How do I know who my servicer is? How do I find them?

The company you sent your monthly mortgage payments to is your mortgage servicer. It is not necessarily the company whose name is on the actual foreclosure documents (although in most cases, it is). If you don’t remember the name of the servicer for your foreclosed property, we suggest you review cancelled checks, bank statements, online statements or other records for this information.

If you are still unsure of who your mortgage servicer is or do not see their name listed in Q4, please call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Q14. If I request an Independent Foreclosure Review, is there a cost or will there be a negative impact to my credit?

The Independent Foreclosure Review is a FREE program. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service to complete the Request for Review Form.

The review will not have an impact on your credit report or any other options you may pursue related to your foreclosure.

Q15. Where can I call if I need help completing the form or have any questions about the review process?

Call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET. If you have already submitted a Request for Review Form, please have your Reference Number available to expedite your call.

Q16. How are military servicemembers affected by the Independent Foreclosure Review?

In the review, servicers are required to include all loans covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that meet the qualifying criteria. However, servicemembers or co-borrowers may also request a review through this process. Financial injury may have occurred if the foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended.

Q17. How am I affected if I submit a Request for Review Form while in active bankruptcy?

If you submit a Request for Review Form and a review is conducted of your foreclosure process, this will have no impact on your bankruptcy. The letter being sent to you about the Independent Foreclosure Review is not an attempt to collect a debt. If you are in bankruptcy, please refer this letter to your attorney.

Q18. I’m still working with my servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale. Will I still be able to work with them?

Yes, continue to work with your servicer. Participating in the review will not impact any effort to prevent a foreclosure sale. The review is not intended to replace current active efforts with your servicer.

Q19. How long will the review process take and when can I expect a response?

You will be sent an acknowledgement letter within one week after your Request for Review Form is received by the independent review administrator. Because the review process will examine many details and documents, the review could take several months. The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine if financial injury occurred as a result of the servicer’s errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q20. What happens if the review finds that I was financially injured as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy. The compensation or other remedy you may receive will be determined by your specific situation. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q21. What happens if the review finds that I was not financially injured as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

You will receive a letter with the findings of the review. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q22. What if I disagree with the eligibility requirements or the result of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

The decision of the review is considered final and there is no further recourse within the Independent Foreclosure Review process. The Independent Foreclosure Review will not have an impact on any other options you may pursue related to the foreclosure process of your mortgage loan.

Q23. Does filing a Request for Review Form prevent me from filing other litigation or action against the servicer?

No. Submitting a request for an Independent Foreclosure Review will not preclude you from any other options you may pursue related to your foreclosure.


Independent Reviews of Foreclosure Cases Begin

November 16, 2011

Independent third-party reviews of foreclosure cases at the 14 largest mortgage servicers and their affiliates began Tuesday, November 1st, 2011.

Consultants hired by the banks and approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will evaluate whether eligible borrowers who were foreclosed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 suffered financially due to improper practices.

Borrowers are considered eligible if their loan meets the following initial eligibility criteria:

  • Your mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers below.
  • Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  • The property was your primary residence.

If your mortgage loan does not meet the initial eligibility criteria outlined above, you can still have your mortgage concerns considered by calling or writing your servicer directly.

Eligible customers will be mailed a letter by December 31, 2011 that explains the Independent Foreclosure Review process and a Request for Review Form that identifies some examples of situations that may have led to financial injury. The borrower has until April 30, 2012 to request a review. There is no cost to the borrower, and the OCC warned against any firm that would charge a fee up front for the review.

If eligible borrowers believe that they were financially injured as a result of servicer errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process on their primary residence, they can request a review of their foreclosure file to verify that their foreclosure process was handled properly.

Throughout this process, servicers will continue their efforts to help homeowners who have not yet gone through a foreclosure sale stay in their homes, where possible.

The reviews are a requirement under consent orders signed between regulators and the servicers. The reviews could cover more than 4.5 million cases and take more than a year to complete.

The participating servicers are:

  • America’s Servicing Company
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • Bank of America
  • EMC
  • EverBank/Everhome Mortgage Company
  • First Horizon
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage
  • Wachovia
  • Washington Mutual
  • CitiMortgage Services Wells Fargo
  • Countrywide MetLife Bank

If your loan is part of the initial eligible population and you need a new form by mail, believe you may be eligible for a review but did not receive a mailing, have questions, or need help completing the form you have received in the mail, call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. EST or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. EST.


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


Bank of America Short Sale Process Presentation

April 19, 2010

 

 On April 8, 2010, Bank of America (BOA) executives held a webinar presentation for over 10,000 Realtors to discuss BOA’s short sale process.

Tip: Refer to the Equator Agent/Homeowner Guide for step-by-step instructions 

Summary

10 Tips to Avoid Delays in Processing Time

  1. Review all documents and images for accuracy prior to uploading in Equator
  2. Ensure that property is listed in the MLS
  3. Negotiate external party fees prior to submission of HUD-1
  4. Supply HUD-1 that is valid for at least 60 days
  5. Ensure that agent and customer tasks are completed as timely as possible in Equator (i.e. accepting short sale assignment, submitting short sale offer, and uploading offer documents within 7 days)
  6. Only submit fully executed purchase offers with all appropriate addendums signed by both buyer and homeowner
  7. Work to get purchase offer representing the best possible fair market value and highest net proceeds for the lender
  8. Set appropriate expectations with buyers/sellers so they understand the complexity and resulting length of time a short sale can take
  9. Work to get a release on outside liens as early as possible
  10. The following situations will cause delays: (1) Change in buyer or agent at any time during the process; (2) Customer files bankruptcy; (3) Deal change after the approval letter is issued

Steps Already Taken to Improve the Short Sale Process

  • Increased staffing and updated training
  • Dedicated Short Sale Call Center:  1-866-880-1232
  • Hours of Operation: 8 AM – 9PM (EST), Monday -Friday
  • Extended Saturday hours – Coming Soon!
  • Equator – primary tool for initiating the short sale
  • Changed procedures to improve associate responsiveness
  • Enhanced the procedure to proactively provide loan status

Steps Underway to Enhance Programs

Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA):

  • Implemented on April 5, 2010 and are following the HAFA guidelines 
  • HAFA is first in short sale waterfall of options for a homeowner
  • Remember: Some investors (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are not participating; offering a cooperative or traditional short sale
  • Proactive outreach to homeowners
  • Offering a pre-approved short sale solicitation 
  • After offer is submitted, approval within 14 days
  • Promissory Note – Not required with HAFA 
  • Homeowner required to clear second liens
  • Homeowner leaves the home – no deficiency and no contribution

Cooperative Short Sales:

  • Similar in approach to HAFA but wider in scope
  • Includes homeowners who are not eligible for HAFA – non-owner occupied, jumbo loans, Fannie, Freddie
  • Currently in pilot stages with rollout expected 2nd Quarter of 2010

Steps Underway to Educate Agents

Education Materials:

  • Overview of the process so agents can lead process
  • Step-by-Step Guidelines for working through the system as an agent and homeowner
  • Tips to avoid common problems

Outreach Events to Distribute Materials

  • Large Realtor Events
  • Webinars
  • Participation with Short Sale Certification Programs

Want Agents’ Input

  • Developing mechanisms for on-going feedback on process, systems, materials
  • Will act on feedback with continuous improvements

Introduction to Equator

  • 24/7 access to the short sale system
  • Status tracking
  • Direct communication with the Short Sale Negotiator
  • Documents are uploaded directly to Equator instead of faxing
  • Streamlined approval process
  • Historical view of offers and counter offers

Coming Soon in Equator:

  • There are a few specific loan investor types (i.e., FHA/VA) that are not on the Equator system and will be added at a later date
  • Agent feedback, homeowner feedback, and internal data is being leveraged to identify system and/or enhancements for future process rollouts and educational material improvements

Agent Communication within Equator

  • Throughout the process you will receive notifications of the status of the short sale. The system automatically tracks the agent, customer, and bank tasks and will alert you after key milestones have been achieved and to let you know the next steps.
  • For specific questions/concerns you have, the negotiator assigned to the short sale is your primary contact.
  • Please ensure when sending a message in Equator you only select “Negotiator”.
  • We request that you only send messages via Equator and not directly through email. This enables our associates to effectively manage the case load and respond to agent inquires in a timely manner.
  • If you have submitted a request to the Negotiator via Equator AND there has been no response after 2 business days: You should escalate to a “Team Lead” by selecting this role in your message drop down menu.
  • In the event of an urgent issue, such as, a foreclosure sale date within 48 hours: You should immediately escalate to the “Team Lead” and “Manager”; and also call the Short Sale support team at 1-866-880-1232. 


FAQs for Fannie Mae’s Alternative HAMP Modification

March 30, 2010

 What is Fannie Mae’s Alternative Modification (Alt Mod)?

The Alt Mod is an alternative to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modification for those borrowers who were eligible for and accepted into a HAMP trial period plan but were subsequently not offered a HAMP permanent modification because of eligibility restrictions.

Are servicers required to offer the Alt Mod?

Yes, for mortgage loans in active HAMP trials initiated prior to March 1, 2010, all Fannie Mae-approved servicers must consider the Alt Mod prior to the initiation of foreclosure for all eligible borrowers who were not offered a permanent HAMP modification after making all required payments under a HAMP trial period plan. All borrowers must meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

What are the benefits of an Alt Mod?

An Alt Mod offers you a permanent long-term solution to make your mortgage more affordable.

If I didn’t qualify for a permanent modification under HAMP, will I qualify for an Alt Mod?

The requirements for an Alt Mod have been designed specifically to assist borrowers, who were unable to qualify for a permanent modification through HAMP. If borrowers made their HAMP Trial Period Plan payments and have completed the HAMP Trial Period Plan, borrowers are likely a candidate for an Alt Mod. Once the servicer has the borrower’s required information, the servicer will review to see if the borrowers are eligible.

How do I qualify for Alt Mod/What do I need to do to get approved?

To begin the qualification process, review the Alt Mod Loan Modification Agreement and the Hardship Affidavit and return back to the servicer by the specified date.

Why do I need to sign another Loan Modification Agreement…I already did this for HAMP?

Alt Mod is a new loan modification option offered by Fannie Mae (the owner of your loan). It is not a part of the government’s loan modification program, HAMP. The Alt Mod was created for borrowers who were not approved for HAMP. The borrowers’ terms and payment amount should be the same as that of HAMP. All eligible borrowers who want to accept the terms of an Alt Mod, must read, agree, and sign a new Loan Modification Agreement

I am currently paying the trial period payment that was specified under HAMP. Do I keep paying this same amount? Will my payment change if I get an Alternative Modification?

Yes, keep paying the same payment amount you were paying during the HAMP Trial Period. If you are eligible for an Alternative Modification, your payment should stay the same. The Alt Mod Loan Modification Agreement will specify your payment amount and when your payments are due.

When are my payments due?

If you are eligible for an Alternative Modification, you will sign an Alt Mod Loan Modification Agreement which specifies your payment amount and the day each month that your payment is due.

Is there a trial period I have to complete?

No. There is no trial period for Alt Mod. If you are eligible for an Alt Mod, once approved and the Loan Modification Agreement completed, your loan will be permanently modified.

Will I still receive the incentive compensation offered through the HAMP program?

No. An Alt Mod does not offer an incentive compensation for borrowers. The borrower incentive compensation is only available to borrowers who were eligible/qualified for a permanent modification under HAMP.

Is the Alt Mod a temporary servicing policy change?

Yes, Alt Mod cases must be submitted through the HomeSaver Solutions® Network (HSSN) prior to the final date of the program offering, August 31, 2010.

Which Fannie Mae loans are eligible for an Alt Mod?

All conventional mortgage loans held in Fannie Mae’s portfolio and mortgage loans that are part of an MBS pool that has the special servicing option or a shared-risk MBS pool for which Fannie Mae markets the acquired property.

Who qualifies are an Alt Mod?

To be eligible for the Alt Mod:

  • The loan must have been evaluated and considered eligible for HAMP
  • The HAMP trial period must have been initiated prior to March 1, 2010
  • The loan must be secured by a 1- 4 unit owner-occupied property
  • The borrower must have made all required payments in accordance with a HAMP trial period plan, including subsequent payments that may have been due while the servicer attempted to convert the trial period to a permanent modification
  • Any subsequent trial period payment(s) due from the borrower must be submitted prior to executing a permanent modification agreement

Additionally, one of the following is required for Alt Mod eligibility:

  • The monthly mortgage payment ratio based on verified income was less than 31%
  • The target monthly mortgage payment ratio of 31% based on verified income could not be reached using the standard HAMP modification waterfall
  • The borrower failed to provide all income documentation required for a HAMP modification but meets the streamlined income documentation requirements for the Alt Mod as described below

 What are the underwriting guidelines for an Alt Mod?

A servicer must have a property valuation as required for HAMP in Announcement 09-05R. The servicer must use that valuation to underwrite the Alt Mod.

For loans with a current mark-to-market loan-to-value (LTV) of 80% or greater (LTV ratio based upon the HAMP valuation), the payment calculated for HAMP using the standard modification waterfall should be used for the Alt Mod, and verification of income documentation (as described below) is not necessary.

For loans with a current mark-to-market LTV ratio of less than 80%, the payment calculated for HAMP using the standard modification waterfall should be used for the Alt Mod and income verification is required (as described below). However, the Alt Mod mortgage payment may not be reduced below 20% of the borrower’s verified monthly gross income.

  • If the borrower did not qualify for a HAMP modification because the borrower failed to provide all required income documentation but the income documentation meets the streamlined income documentation requirements for the Alt Mod, the servicer may use the payment previously calculated for the HAMP trial period for the Alt Mod provided that the payment meets the criteria outlined above.
  • If, after applying the modification waterfall steps based on verified income documentation, the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment cannot be reduced without going below a 20% monthly mortgage payment ratio, the servicer may not perform the modification without the express written consent of Fannie Mae. A principal write-down or principal forgiveness is prohibited on Fannie Mae mortgage loans.

What are the Alt Mod income verification requirements for loans with current mark-to-market LTV ratios less than 80%?

A servicer may use the verified income documentation required under HAMP to calculate the payment for the Alt Mod. If the borrower is ineligible for a HAMP modification because of failure to provide the required income documentation, the servicer may rely upon the following streamlined documentation requirements for the Alt Mod.

If the borrower is employed: A copy of the most recent paystub indicating year-to-date earnings or if year-to-date earnings are not available, copies of paystubs for the last two months.

If the borrower elects to use other earned income such as bonus, commission, fee, housing allowance, tips, overtime: Reliable third party documentation describing the nature of the income (for example, an employment contract or printouts documenting tip income).

If the borrower is self-employed: A signed copy of the most recent federal income tax return, including all schedules and forms, if available, or signed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Request for Transcript of Tax Return (Form 4506-T); and copies of bank statements for the business account for the last two months to document continuation of business activity.

If the borrower elects to use alimony or child support income to qualify, acceptable documentation includes: Photocopies of the divorce decree, separation agreement or other type of legal written agreement or court decree that provides for the payment of alimony or child support and states the amount of the award and the period of time over which it will be received; and documents supplying reasonably reliable evidence of full, regular, and timely payments, such as bank deposit slips or bank statements for the last two months.

If the borrower has other income such as Social Security, disability or death benefits, a pension, public assistance or adoption assistance: Acceptable documentation includes letters, exhibits, a disability policy or benefits statement from the provider that states the amount, frequency and duration of the benefit; and the servicer must obtain copies of the most recent bank statement showing these deposits.

If the borrower receives unemployment: Acceptable documentation includes letters, exhibits or a benefits statement from the provider that states the amount, frequency, and duration of the benefit. The servicer must have determined that the income will continue for at least 9 months from the date of the HAMP eligibility determination.

If the borrower has rental income, acceptable documentation includes: Copies of all pages from the borrower’s signed federal income tax return and Schedule E – Supplemental Income and Loss, for the most recent tax year.

  • When Schedule E is not available because the property was not previously rented, servicers may accept a current lease agreement and bank statements or cancelled rent checks.
  • If the borrower has rental income from a 1 – 4 unit property that is also the borrower’s principal residence, the monthly net rental income to be calculated for HAMP purposes must equal 75% of the gross rent, with the remaining 25% being considered vacancy loss and maintenance expense.
  • If the borrower has rental income from a property that is other than the borrower’s primary residence, the income should be 75% of the monthly gross rental income, reduced by the monthly debt service on the property (i.e., principal, interest, taxes, insurance, including mortgage insurance and association fees, if applicable

Income documentation previously obtained during the HAMP evaluation may be relied upon for the purposes of verifying income for the Alt Mod. All other income documentation must not be more than 90 days old from the date of the Alt Mod evaluation.

Is a hardship affidavit required for Alt Mod?

Yes, in all cases a signed hardship affidavit is required. For borrowers that did not provide one under HAMP, a hardship affidavit may be included in the Alt Mod offer package for signature along with the Loan Modification Agreement (Form 3179).

How should servicers treat loans with mortgage insurance?

Fannie Mae is seeking blanket delegations of authority from mortgage insurers so that servicers can more efficiently process Alt Mods without having to obtain mortgage insurer approval on individual loans. Servicers must obtain approval on a case-by-case basis from mortgage insurers that have not provided delegated authority agreements.

Servicers must include the mortgage insurance premium in the borrower’s modified payment and must ensure that any existing mortgage insurance is maintained. Servicers must maintain their mortgage insurance processes and comply with all reporting required by the mortgage insurer for Alt Mod loans.

What are the escrow requirements for Alt Mod?

All of the borrower’s trial period payments under HAMP as well as the payments due under the Alt Mod must include a monthly escrow amount unless prohibited by applicable law.

What are the messaging requirements for the Alt Mod offer from servicers to borrowers?

  • Clearly indicate that, while the Alt Mod contains the same payment terms as the HAMP modification, the borrower did not meet the requirements of HAMP and as a result, the Alt Mod does not include borrower incentive payments that are otherwise payable under HAMP
  • Provide the borrower with a simplified Summary of the Loan Modification Agreement
  • Inform the borrower that, in the event of re-default, the servicer will pursue liquidation options
  • Remind the borrower of the consequences of material misstatements when submitting documentation in connection with a request for a loan modification

What are the timing expectations for Alt Mod offers?

For qualified borrowers who are already identified as ineligible for a permanent HAMP Modification, Alt Mod offers should be sent no later than 30 days from the date of Lender Letter LL-2010-04. Going forward, for other borrowers who:  1) entered into a trial period plan prior to March 1, 2010, 2) fail to qualify for a permanent HAMP modification, and 3) are determined to be eligible for Alt Mod, offers should be sent within 10 days of completion of the trial periods and expiration of the 30-day HAMP Borrower Notice. All Alt Mod offers should also include an expiration date of 30 days from the date of the offer

For borrowers who do not respond to the Alt Mod offer, servicers must conduct follow-up:

  • Between the fifth and the 15th days after the offer is mailed, servicers must attempt at least 3 phone calls.
  • On the 15th day after the offer is mailed, servicers must mail a follow-up letter by either mail or a direct contact, door-knocking campaign.
  • Between the 15th and 30th day, after the offer is mailed, servicers must attempt to contact the borrower a minimum of 3 additional times regarding the offer by either phone calls and/or use of field servicers (door knockers).

What are the incentive fees for Alt Mod?

A servicer will receive compensation of $800 for each completed modification. Incentive fee payments on eligible mortgage loans will be sent to servicers upon receipt of a closed case entered into HSSN. Servicers need not submit requests for payment of modification incentive fees. Modification incentive fees on eligible mortgages will be sent to servicers on a monthly basis.

Unlike HAMP, there are no borrower incentive payments available with Alt Mod.

How should servicers handle a borrower who re-defaults after receiving an Alt Mod?

If a borrower becomes 60 days delinquent on the Alt Mod within the first 12 months after the effective date of the modification, then the servicer must immediately pursue either a pre-foreclosure sale (short sale), deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure or commence foreclosure proceedings in accordance with applicable state law. Should a servicer determine that another modification is appropriate for the borrower; the servicer must submit the loan information as a non-delegated case into HSSN for Fannie Mae’s prior approval.


HAMP Update: Documentation Collection Process

January 30, 2010

On January 28, 2010, the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  released updated guidance for the mortgage servicers who initiate the modifications and monitor the trial periods.  The guidance refines the documentation requirements and other procedures in order to expedite conversions of current trial modifications to permanent ones.

Phyllis Caldwell, Chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office states that the “guidance represents our commitment to more efficiently move qualified homeowners into permanent modifications.”

“Increasing the number of borrowers receiving permanent modifications under HAMP is critical to our efforts to preserve affordable and sustainable homeownership,” said HUD Senior Advisor for Housing Finance William Apgar. “While we continue to meet our goals to provide immediate assistance, the updates announced today should enable servicers to transition borrowers more quickly and easily from trial to permanent modification.

Guidance Details

Supplemental Directive 10-01 provides guidance on two major issues:

  1. New Requirements that Documentation be Provided Before Trial Modification Begins

A simple, standard package of documents will be required prior to the servicer’s evaluation of the borrower for a trial modification.  This process will be required for all new HAMP modifications that became effective after June 1, 2010, although mortgage servicers may implement it sooner.  The following documents, referred to as the “Initial Package” must include:

Step 1 – Complete the RMA Form

The RMA Form provides the servicer with borrower and co-borrower financial information including the cause of the borrower’s hardship. The financial information and hardship sections of the RMA must be completed and executed by the borrower and, if applicable, the co-borrower. The RMA also solicits data related to the race, ethnicity and gender of the borrower and co-borrower, referred to as Government Monitoring Data (GMD). The borrower and co-borrower are not required to provide GMD. Servicers may not refuse to accept an RMA because the borrower or co-borrower did not complete this section. Click here for instructions for completing the form.

Servicers may require use of the RMA by all borrowers requesting consideration for HAMP or may continue to use other proprietary financial information forms that are substantially similar in content to the RMA. When provided by or on behalf of the borrower, the RMA form must be accepted by servicers in lieu of any servicer specific form(s). When the RMA is not used, servicers must obtain an executed MHA Hardship Affidavit.

Step 2 – Complete the IRS Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ

The IRS Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ gives permission to your mortgage servicer to request a copy of your most recent tax return you have filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). After you have completed the form, print two copies – one for your records and one to send to your mortgage servicer. Only one taxpayer is required to sign to Tax Form. Click here for instructions for completing the form.

Step 3 – Gather Evidence of Income

Your mortgage servicer is required to verify your income to ensure that the modified mortgage payments will be affordable for you.  The type of documentation you need to provide depends on the source of your income. The simple Proof of Income Checklist will tell you what documents you need to collect if you are a wage earner, self-employed, or receive retirement income.  Be sure to make copies of your income documentation and keep the originals for your records.

***Note: The income evidence and financial information provided by the borrower may not be more than 90 days old as of the date the Initial Package is received by the mortgage servicer.***

Step 4 – Send the Documentation to your Servicer

After you complete, print, and sign the RMA and Tax Form, send these documents, along with your proof of income, to your mortgage servicer.  You will find the correct mailing address and fax number at Contact Your Mortgage Servicer.

***Note: For all documents required by Treasury (other than the Tax Form), electronic submission and signatures are acceptable.***


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