Making Government Funded Assistance Work For Homeowners & Servicers
All of you mortgage servicing insiders know how the U.S. Treasury Department’s Homeownership Assistance Fund (HAF) provided $9.961 billion to states to help vulnerable homeowners – and you also know it was a clunky start because each state had so much leeway.
Sagent’s chief product officer Courtney Thompson told HousingWire how it began as a “50 states, 50 programs” challenge for servicers. But now Courtney notes how servicers have made great progress on delivering the HAF program’s benefits to homeowners in compliance with state and Federal rules.
Here are a few key excerpts and highlights from a HousingWire HAF briefing featuring Courtney.
Courtney said this about the HAF program’s early days:
“My favorite tagline when discussing HAF is ‘50 states, 50 programs’. I think the rationale of the Treasury is that states experienced delinquency and the impact from COVID-19 differently, so they wanted to give the states the flexibility.”
HousingWire correctly noted that, because each state has different program nuances, it’s been challenging for servicers to meet regulatory requirements to clearly communicate Homeownership Assistance Fund options to consumers.
And Courtney points out how servicers have remained proactive in explaining HAF along with other homeowner hardship options before, during, and after the pandemic.
“The consumer is always instructed to call the servicer and the servicer is responsible, under penalty of unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) to communicate clearly to the consumer and without confusion. In this instance, the servicer has its own loss mitigation programs that the consumer can apply for, and in the wake of COVID-19, there are more programs and more opportunities for assistance, and then you have HAF that a borrower can potentially apply for.”
Critically, Courtney notes how servicers have done a great job making progress on behalf of consumers and in line with regulator expectations
“The servicing community has done a fantastic job keeping up with the velocity of change during this time period. And ultimately, because the federal investors and insurers have now been very, very clear from a rulemaking perspective that consumers have to be offered HAF prior to foreclosure processes, that makes me think everything is going to be fine.“
Courtney, in her signature style of simplifying complex subject matter, added a Bob Marley reference to explain how servicers will keep working to make the HAF program impactful for struggling homeowners:
“This is what I call a ‘three little birds moment,’ where there’s been all this noise and there’s been all this work to keep up to get to a place, but at the end of day, because there is some consistency now in the expectation that HAF is a thing that needs to be paid attention to, every little thing will be alright from a consumer perspective.”
You can check out the full HousingWire piece here, and complete the form below to connect with Courtney about how we can help you!