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.



Fannie Mae Relaxes Waiting Period for Buying a New Home After a Short Sale

May 3, 2010

 

In Announcement SEL-2010-05, Fannie Mae updated several policies regarding the future eligibility of borrowers to obtain a new mortgage loan after experiencing a preforeclosure event (preforeclosure sale, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure).

The “waiting period” – the amount of time that must elapse after the preforeclosure event – is changing and may be dependent on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for the transaction and whether extenuating circumstances contributed to the borrower’s financial hardship (for example, loss of employment). In addition, Fannie Mae is updating the requirements for determining that borrowers have re-established their credit after a significant derogatory credit event.

***Note:  The terms “short sale” and “preforeclosure sale” both referenced in the Announcement have the same meaning – the sale of a property in lieu of a foreclosure, resulting in a payoff of less than the total amount owed, which was pre-approved by the servicer.***

Waiting Period After a Preforeclosure Sale, Short Sale, or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

Fannie Mae is changing the required waiting period for a borrower to be eligible for a mortgage loan after a preforeclosure event. The waiting period commences on the completion date of the preforeclosure event, and may vary based on the maximum allowable LTV ratios.

Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements(1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 4 years  2 years – 80% maximum LTV ratios,  4 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios,  7 years – LTV ratios per the Eligibility Matrix
 Short Sale  2 years

 

Exceptions to Waiting Period for Extenuating Circumstances
Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements (1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 2 years      Additional requirements apply after 2 years up to 7 years  2 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios
 Short Sale  No exceptions are permitted to the 2-year waiting period

 (1) The maximum LTV ratios permitted are the lesser of the LTV ratios in this table or the maximum LTV ratios for the transaction per the Eligibility Matrix.

Bankruptcies

The multiple bankruptcy policy is being clarified to state that 2 or more borrowers with individual bankruptcies are not cumulative. For example, if the borrower has one bankruptcy and the co-borrower has one bankruptcy, this is not considered a multiple bankruptcy. The current waiting periods for bankruptcies remain unchanged.

Effective Date

This policy is effective for beginning July 1, 2010.

Requirements for Re-Establishing Credit

The requirements for borrowers to re-establish their credit after a significant derogatory event are also being updated. Fannie Mae is replacing the requirements related to the number of credit references and applicable payment histories with the waiting periods and other criteria.

After a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or preforeclosure or short sale, the borrower’s credit will be considered re-established if all of the following are met:

  • The waiting period and the related requirements are met.
  • The loan meets the minimum credit score requirements based on the parameters of the loan and the established eligibility requirements.

The “Catch”?

Now to qualify after that 2 year period, the new regulations state that a minimum 20% down payment will be required; 10% for a down payment, the wait will revert to the 4 year minimum; less than 10% for a down payment, the wait could be even longer — UNLESS there are “extenuating circumstances” such as job loss, health problems, divorce, etc…

But doesn’t pretty much any short sale by default involve “extenuating circumstances”? Just show them the hardship letter you submitted with your short sale docs. Case closed.

Why This Matters?

So why does this matter, and how should you, as distressed homeowners, USE this information?

Well for starters, if you couple this with the Obama administration’s new short sale assistance program (where mortgage servicing companies are paid $1,000 to handle successful short sales and mortgage holders get $1,500 for signing over their property), you’ve now got more compelling reasons than ever to pursue a short sale rather than just throwing up your hands and “letting things go”.


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. 

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