U.S. finalizes rules to protect homeowners facing foreclosure

U.S. finalizes rules to protect homeowners facing foreclosure
# 18 January 2013 20:08 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The U.S. federal regulator has issued rules to protect mortgage borrowers facing foreclosure, the first national standard governing treatment of homeowners by mortgage servicers, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Under the new rules laid out by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), mortgage servicers will have to consider all possible loan modifications to help the borrower retain the home before moving to foreclosure.

Specifically, servicers must send a written notice to a borrower within 15 days of the borrower' s second missed payment. The notice must include information about counseling and alternatives to foreclosure such as changing the interest rate, extending the terms of the loan and deferring or forgiving principal.

In addition, mortgage lenders are not allowed to start the foreclosure process until borrowers have missed payments for more than 120 days. This will give borrowers reasonable time to submit modification applications.

Mortgage financiers also cannot move for a foreclosure sale if a borrower submits an application for loss mitigation more than 37 days before the home is put up for the foreclosure sale.

However, small mortgage servicers that service 5,000 mortgage loans or less are excused from the new rules.

The CFPB's move is a response to the housing collapse after the 2008financial crisis, when some U.S. lenders foreclosed on borrowers without properly reviewing documents and other paperwork, a practice known as "robo-signing," which resulted in massive delinquencies and foreclosures.

To prevent another housing crisis in the future, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act charged CFPB with responsibility for implementing reforms to mortgage servicing.