Banking and Finance Law Daily House Financial Services members request mortgage servicers borrower relief communications
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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

House Financial Services members request mortgage servicers borrower relief communications

By Colleen M. Svelnis, J.D.

The committee members sent letters to 11 of the largest mortgage servicers asking for details on homeowner relief plans as the pandemic continues.

Democratic members of the House Committee on Financial Services have appealed to the nation’s largest mortgage servicers requesting information related to their communications about relief available to borrowers with federally-backed mortgages under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The letters were signed by House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif), along with subcommittee chairs Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo), and Rep. Al Green (D-Texas). The lawmakers expressed concern for homeowners who may struggle to make timely mortgage payments. "Millions of homeowners will rely on the relief included in the CARES Act as they struggle to make timely mortgage payments in the coming months," the Representatives wrote. Each letter appealed to the mortgage servicers, explaining that "it is critical that you communicate consistent and accurate information regarding the options available to borrowers who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to financial hardship that is directly or indirectly related to the pandemic. Similarly, borrowers seeking assistance must be able to contact a customer service representative without excessive wait times or other delays."

The letters were sent to Bank of America CorporationJP Morgan Chase & Co.Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLCLoanCare LLCMr. Cooper Group, Inc.New Rez, LLCPennyMac Financial Services, Inc.Quicken LoansTruist Financial CorporationU.S. Bancorp; and Wells Fargo & Company.

According to the letters, more than 26 million Americans have filed unemployment claims over the past five weeks. Under the CARES Act, individuals with federally backed mortgages have the right to request and receive a forbearance on their payments for up to six months, with the ability to extend for another six months. The CARES Act also includes mortgage protections including a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures, which expires on May 17, 2020.

The Legislators, under legislative and oversight authority under House Rule X, requested that the mortgage servicers produce documents and information related to communications with borrowers with federally-backed mortgages. The documents and information was requested by no later than May 15, 2020.

The requested information includes documents related to communications with borrowers since March 27, 2020:

  1. Policies and procedures related to: accepting and processing requests for forbearance; applicable standards and requirements for approving forbearance requests; and initiating and continuing foreclosure proceedings.
  2. Records showing the number of forbearance requests received and approved, as well as the average length of the forbearance period communicated to borrowers.
  3. Training materials, instructions, and call scripts provided to customer service employees related to responding to requests or inquiries from borrowers seeking assistance in making their mortgage payments or regarding foreclosure.
  4. Records showing how customer service employees are evaluated and compensated since Feb. 1, 2020, including any incentive pay or bonuses paid related to the handling of, responding, receiving, and processing borrower requests for assistance.
  5. Form letters, templates, and other standardized communications sent to homeowners, related to assistance available for borrowers experiencing financial hardship; and initiating and continuing foreclosure proceedings.
  6. Information on the website related to mortgage assistance and foreclosure proceedings.
  7. Records showing the weekly volume of calls from borrowers and average wait time; the percentage change in weekly call volume; the percentage change in average call wait time; and the percentage change in the number of calls dropped, all since Feb. 1, 2020.
  8. Records showing the number of complaints received from borrowers, broken down by the subject matter of the complaints, since Feb. 1, 2020.

Additionally, the members of Congress asked the mortgage servicers for a description of any operational challenges experienced since Feb. 1, 2020, related to responding to borrower inquiries. They also requested a summary of the actions taken to address those challenges.

Companies: Bank of America Corporation; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC; LoanCare LLC; Mr. Cooper Group, Inc.; New Rez, LLC; PennyMac Financial Services, Inc.; Quicken Loans; Truist Financial Corporation; U.S. Bancorp; Wells Fargo & Company

MainStory: TopStory Covid19 FinancialStability Mortgages

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