For Immediate Release
January 17, 2012
Strong enforcement is now key to making sure servicing abuses do not cost families their homes.
CLEVELAND, OH – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced new rules for mortgages servicers intended to protect borrowers from unfair and abusive practices that could cost them their homes.
“For years we’ve heard horror stories from homeowners who struggle to work with the mortgage company to keep their homes and they hit one brick wall after another,” said Scott Rose, ESOP’s Director of Foreclosure Prevention. “They send in documents and the bank claims they never received them. The homeowner might be in review for a modification or some other program, but then they get a sheriff’s sale notice. It’s maddening and it has to stop.”
Now it’s important to make sure servicers actually follow the rules and that there are real consequences if they don’t.
The new rules lay out several requirements for servicers:
·Restricted Dual-Tracking: When the servicer moves forward with foreclosure while simultaneously working with the borrower to avoid foreclosure – is restricted. Servicers cannot start a foreclosure proceeding if a borrower has already submitted a complete application for a loan modification or other alternative to foreclosure, and that application is still pending review.
· Notification of Foreclosure Alternatives: Servicers must let borrowers know about their “loss mitigation options” to retain their home after borrowers have missed two consecutive payments.
· Direct and Ongoing Access to Servicing Personnel: Servicers must have policies and procedures in place to provide delinquent borrowers with direct, easy, ongoing access to employees responsible for helping them.
· Fair Review Process: The servicer must consider all foreclosure alternatives available from the mortgage owners or investors – those with decision-making power over the loan – to help the borrower retain the home.
· No Foreclosure Sale Until All Other Alternatives Considered: Servicers must consider and respond to a borrower’s application for a loan modification if it arrives at least 37 days before a scheduled foreclosure sale.
· Clear Monthly Mortgage Statements
· Early Warning Before Interest Rate Adjusts
· Options for Avoiding Costly “Force-Placed” Insurance
· Payments Promptly Credited
· Prompt Response to Requests for Payoff Balances
· Errors Corrected and Information Provided Quickly
·Maintain Accurate and Accessible Documents and Information
The mortgage servicing rules can be found at: www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations <http://www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations>
A summary of the rules is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201301_cfpb_servicing-rules_summary.pdf
A factsheet about the rules can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201301_cfpb_servicing-fact-sheet.pdf