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MBA Responds To HUD IG Report On COVID-Related Loss Mitigation

Bob Broeksmit, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), issued a statement in response to the release by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of audit reports examining the loss mitigation options that loan servicers provided to borrowers with Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured loans after their COVID-19 forbearance ended. He said:

“The report from the OIG confirms what we all know – the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to homeowners, servicers, and the federal agencies like HUD that administer loan guarantee programs. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, mortgage servicers provided payment relief to nearly 8 million borrowers via forbearance. Today, only approximately 255,000 borrowers remain in forbearance, and delinquency rates are near historic lows.

“The OIG’s report details the difficulties that HUD faced in effectively communicating extensive and rapidly changing COVID-related loss mitigation program requirements. These difficulties are understandable in light of the challenges faced by both HUD and servicers in an unprecedented and rapidly changing environment. Those difficulties increased the challenges that servicers faced in implementing these new and evolving programs for a never-before-seen volume of borrowers.

“A number of the technical faults that the report identifies were made by servicers in the spirit of helping COVID-affected borrowers exit forbearance and remain in their homes in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Others were the unfortunate outcome of confusing or conflicting program requirements and the inherent difficulties of quickly scaling such a massive borrower assistance effort. But make no mistake, by focusing on delivering positive outcomes for homeowners, servicers’ implementation of COVID-19 relief is a major success story.”