Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced the Borrower Protection Program (the Program), a new joint initiative that enables CFPB and FHFA to share servicing information to protect borrowers during the coronavirus national emergency.
Under the program, the CFPB will make complaint information and analytical tools available to FHFA via a secure electronic interface; and FHFA will make available to the Bureau information about forbearances, modifications and other loss mitigation initiatives undertaken by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises).
“Help for consumers is always here at the CFPB through our complaints process. In addition to working with your lender to get an answer for you, we analyze the information to better educate consumers, provide clear rules for financial institutions, and hold companies accountable,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “Through the partnership being announced today, the Bureau will share our insights with FHFA and ensure we get their data on how mortgage servicers are working with their customers during this critical time and going forward.”
“Protecting and helping homeowners during this national crisis is my top priority. No one should be worried about losing their home,” said Director Mark Calabria. “Borrowers are entitled to accurate information about their forbearance options. This partnership with CFPB ensures FHFA can address misconceptions stemming from consumer complaints by working with Fannie and Freddie servicers.”
FHFA’s regulated entities, the Enterprises and the Federal Home Loan Banks provide more than $6.3 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage market and set the standard for how the mortgage system works. In response to the COVID-19 national emergency the Enterprises permitted borrowers with a financial hardship due to the pandemic the ability to enter into forbearance, a pause or reduction in their monthly mortgage. The missed payments will have to be paid back by the borrower. The missed payments can be added to the normal monthly payments, paid back all at once, tacked on to the end of the loan, or the borrower can have the term of the loan extended. To see the actions FHFA has taken to help Americans impacted by the coronavirus remain in their homes please visit FHFA’s Webpage on Coronavirus Actions.
The CFPB has taken numerous steps to protect and assist consumers during the COVID-19 national emergency including making it easier for consumers to receive pandemic-relief payments; informing consumers about their options as it relates to mortgage forbearance; ensuring consumers will be able to continue to send remittance transfers without disruption; releasing a policy statement outlining the responsibility of credit reporting companies and furnishers; and, providing needed flexibility to enable financial companies to work with customers in need. The Bureau continues to process consumer complaints through the consumer compliant system. Through the consumer complaint system, the CFPB gets responses from companies to resolve consumer issues and takes the information into account in supervisory and enforcement work. The CFPB has also released timely information on new programs aimed at helping struggling consumers during this time. These programs include student loan payment suspension; mortgage forbearance; stimulus payments; and the paycheck protection program. Additionally, the Bureau has a centralized webpage with information on how consumers can protect their finances during the pandemic.