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A Congressional Call to Strengthen Foreclosure Protections

Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, has issued two letters to federal agencies and banking regulators urging them to strengthen foreclosure and mortgage servicing protections for borrowers to provide greater oversight to prevent unnecessary foreclosures during the pandemic.

Rep. Waters’ first letter, written to the Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); the Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); and the Honorable Denis R. McDonough, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), calls on federal housing agencies to protect the nation’s homeowners.

“I write to highlight the gap in foreclosure protections beginning on August 1, the day after the federal foreclosure moratorium expired and August 31, when CFPB’s foreclosure protections rule come into effect,” wrote Chairwoman Waters. “The month-long gap in protections leaves communities vulnerable to foreclosure, especially Black and Latinx homeowners who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic-induced economic downturn. Therefore, it is important for your agencies to take additional steps to prevent unnecessary foreclosures during this critical time.”

In her second letter to David Uejio, Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); Jelena McWilliams, Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Michael Hsu, Acting Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Todd M. Harper, Chair of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); and Melanie Hall, Chair of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), Rep. Waters calls on banking regulators to update their guidance to protect borrowers and provide strong oversight of mortgage servicers.

“I call on your agencies to immediately update your Joint Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding the Mortgage Servicing Rules in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency and the CARES Act from April 3, 2020 and take other steps to provide vigorous oversight and encourage mortgage servicers to work with borrowers to avoid unnecessary foreclosures,” wrote Chairwoman Waters. “Providing clear guidance to mortgage servicers and enhancing supervision and enforcement during this period is critical to safeguarding homeowners from unnecessary foreclosures, especially before the CFPB rule goes into effect on August 31, as docs.house.gov/…14008/BILLS-1174791ih.pdfwell as before critical housing counseling funds and Homeowner Assistance Funds provided through the American Rescue Plan Act have reached communities and stabilized households.”

Rep. Waters recently introduced H.R. 4791—Protecting Renters from Evictions Act of 2021, a measure that would extend the eviction moratorium through December 31, 2021.

Earlier this week, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed an order determining the evictions of tenants for failure to make rent or housing payments could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC order is set to expire Sunday, October 3, 2021, and applies in U.S. counties experiencing substantial community transmission levels of COVID-19.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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