To All Interested Parties:
The Massachusetts Division of Banks (the Division) is issuing this Industry Letter to provide guidance to mortgage servicers (Servicers) as consumers exit pandemic-related forbearances. The Division expects mortgage servicer compliance with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) 2021 final servicing rule (Rule) protecting Massachusetts borrowers affected by the COVID-19 emergency and encourages its supervised financial institutions to participate in the state-administered “Homeowner Assistance Fund” (HAF), a federal assistance program established under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Compliance Expectations/CFPB final rule
The Division expects Servicers to closely review and comply with the Rule by proactively establishing procedural safeguards to ensure: (1) that borrowers have a meaningful opportunity for loss mitigation before servicers make their first notice or filing required for foreclosure, and (2) that foreclosure does not proceed until certain protections have been met if a borrower has made a complete application for loss mitigation more than 37 days prior to a scheduled foreclosure.
Information on the Rule can be found at the links below:
This Rule became effective on August 31, 2021.
Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF)
The Massachusetts HAF Program is being administered by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) and MassHousing, in collaboration with several of Massachusetts Executive Offices: Administration and Finance (A&F), Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the Division of Banks (the Division).
The Division wishes for all licensees, banks, and credit unions to be aware that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is participating in the Massachusetts HAF Program. HAF was established to mitigate financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to eligible borrowers for the purpose of preventing mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures and displacements of eligible homeowners. The Division expects all entities under the Division’s supervision to participate in the HAF program where applicable for eligible consumers.
The Role of Mortgage Servicers
Mortgage servicers will play a critical role in the success of the Massachusetts HAF Program. MHP has established an online self-service portal (FAMS – Financial Aid Management System) for mortgage servicers to participate in the HAF Program including any exchange of loan level information, submit onboarding information and access to service agreements and payment information. For more information, please visit www.MHP.net/masshaf or email the MHP Homeownership team at MassHAF@mhp.net.
Please refer to the HAF Informational Outline and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about the program.
Should you have any questions with regard to this Industry Letter, please contact Deputy Commissioner of Mortgage Supervision Kevin Cuff at (617) 956-1539 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Deputy Commissioner for Consumer Protection and Outreach Mayté Rivera, Depository Institution Supervision, at (617) 956-1557 or email@example.com.
Mary L. Gallagher
Commissioner of Banks
|Date published:||November 19, 2021|