Fannie Mae Extends Mortgage Relief for Unemployed Borrowers
By: Carrie Bay
Fannie Mae issued new guidelines to its servicers Wednesday, introducing an unemployment forbearance program which provides servicers the flexibility to assist borrowers who have a financial hardship due to job loss, including those facing imminent default.
With unemployment forbearance, the servicer reduces or suspends monthly payments for a specified period for a borrower who is unemployed.
With the new guidelines, the servicer can approve an unemployment forbearance term of six months without
obtaining Fannie Mae’s approval, provided that all borrower eligibility requirements are met.
If during the final month of the initial unemployment forbearance period, the borrower remains unemployed, the servicer must determine if the borrower is eligible for an extension no more than six additional months.
Forbearance extensions may be recommended on a case-by-case basis and must be submitted to Fannie Mae for review and a final decision.
The new directive from Fannie Mae mirrors the unemployed forbearance guidelines issued by Freddie Mac last week.
Fannie Mae says the program “simplifies and streamlines the use of forbearance options” for the GSE’s servicers.
The new guidelines prohibit the servicer from proceeding with foreclosure during the forbearance period.
Servicers are required to implement Fannie Mae’s unemployment forbearance policies and procedures no later than March 1, 2012, for borrowers who become eligible for such assistance on or after that date. However, the D.C.-based GSE is encouraging all servicers to adapt their processes to the program guidelines immediately.
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