In an announcement Thursday afternoon, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will engage in additional foreclosure protection to consumers. The announcement comes on the heals of a recorded $16 Billion record settlement by Bank of America for violations in failing to resolve its claims related to its toxic mortgages leading up to the financial crisis.
Among the proposed rules would be a requirement that servicers actively participate in extending additional loss mitigation options to its borrowers in crisis. Those targeted are consumers that brought their loans current during the mortgage crisis, either through a loss mitigation option or otherwise, but are still struggling. Those who obtained permanent loan modifications and have made payments as required, but have suffered an unexpected death of a spouse, medical bills or otherwise, will be targeted for assistance.
Mortgage Heirs. Equally as important, are the excluded class, that has struggled so hard to obtain loss mitigation options, after the death of the mortgagor, but has faced probate hurdles, with lenders excluding them since they did not sign the note or mortgage. Mortgage heirs, or successors in interest of the properties left behind by mothers, fathers, deceased spouses, or property transferred through a family trust, or through death of a joint tenant, will be afforded additional protection. The lenders will be required to work with them to identify and communicate about possible loss mitigation options available to ensure the heirs receive foreclosure protection.
Divorced spouses. Property transferred through a divorce settlement, wherein one spouse wants to keep the house and is unable to due to the loss of income from the other spouse, will also be afforded protection under the proposed measures.
Additional safeguards are also proposed to ensure lenders work with borrowers once the loss mitigation applications are received. Included in such protections, which has been the center of much complaints over the years since the Making Home Affordable Program began are:
Loan Service Transfers during a pending loan modification. Under the proposed plan, borrowers will need to be timely notified of any service transfer when the loss mitigation applications are in process or complete. If completed and approved, the new servicer would be required to evaluate it within 30 days of receipt. If incomplete, other safeguards will be put in place. For involuntary transfers to new servicers, the new servicer would have 15 days to evaluate it from transfer.
Bankrupt Borrowers. Servicers will be required to provide early intervention notices to let borrowers know of their options prior to filing for bankruptcy.
And perhaps the greatest proposed measure:
Stalling a foreclosure during the pendency of a loan modification application. This seems to be the number one misconception for many borrowers, particularly the elderly, and non-native Americans, or Hispanics, who are under the false impression that applying for a modification will stop or stall the initiation of a foreclosure. While measures and protections were already in place with prior CFPB regulations, lenders often failed to follow them. The proposed CFPB measures will more strictly monitor this requirement to make sure lenders take adequate steps to work with borrowers so that wrongful foreclosures are not initiated, costing millions of dollars in attorneys fees, and costs, for wrongfully initiated foreclosures.
A full summary of the proposal can be found on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website. The rules and disclosures are open for public comment for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.
For additional information, call attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq. We are well versed in all the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules and regulations as well as hold lenders accountable for their loss mitigation violations. We work closely with consumers to make sure they are qualified for the type of loss mitigation program they desire, and then work zealously to obtain those goals on behalf of the consumer client.
Call us today for a free consultation to see if you qualify for a loss mitigation program.