In an email to members Monday evening, the Mortgage Bankers Association said it is taking steps to help members during the coronavirus outbreak.
“The mortgage industry can best support the economy and unleash billions of dollars of fiscal stimulus by helping Americans refinance to a lower rate, thereby freeing up resources for them to spend on other needs,” the letter from MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit said. “There are unnecessary obstacles to achieving this, which we are working to remove. “
“There will also be many homeowners who will need immediate assistance in paying their mortgage over the next few months,” Broeksmit continued. “We stand ready to help, but the immediate financing needs of advancing these missed mortgage payments to investors will likely be larger than the private sector alone can handle, and we will need public support to get us through the worst of the crisis.”
The MBA, and many others, have canceled nearly all upcoming conferences due to public health concerns.
The MBA said they “are working closely with policymakers and stakeholders on a variety of issues affecting you, your customers and the real estate market,” including, but not limited to:
- Borrower relief – forbearance logistics and highlighting for officials the need for consistency in policies among the GSEs/FHA/VA/USDA, including how servicers will report information to credit reporting agencies.
- Potential liquidity backstops for servicers who will undoubtedly be faced with having to advance payments on behalf of borrowers who are receiving forbearance.
- Bank regulatory flexibility for lenders providing warehouse lines and other secured financings to lenders and servicers.
- Possible relief for margin calls on pipelines and financed MSRs, particularly with quarter-end looming.
- Streamlining the rate/term refinance process – encouraging property inspection waivers for GSE-to-GSE refinances where Fannie and Freddie already hold the risk. Also looking at relief from some pre-funding re-verifications of employment, given the large number of employers (like entire state education agencies) that are closed.
- How to solve for title insurance issues given the growing number of county recorder office closings. The Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) maintains a list of counties that allow e-recording. Office closures should be less disruptive in these jurisdictions, and we are working with title insurers on coverage during any potential gap between disbursement and recording.
- Response to calls from policymakers for eviction and foreclosure moratoria.
- Legislation permitting remote online notarization (RON) nationwide and encouraging state legislatures to pass RON bills introduced in their legislative bodies.
- State licensing issues for employees working remotely.
Organizations and companies from across the industry are responding amid COVID-19 concerns. Last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria reminded servicers and borrowers that hardship forbearance is an option for those who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payments due to coronavirus.