Guidance allows lenders to assign loan to HUD and keep non-borrowing spouse in the home
WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today issued a new policy under its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Program giving FHA-approved lenders the option to delay calling HECMs with eligible ‘non-borrowing spouses’ due and payable. A delay would postpone foreclosure normally triggered by the death of the last surviving borrower. FHA’s new guidance will allow reverse mortgage lenders to assign eligible HECMs to HUD upon the death of the last surviving borrowing spouse, thereby allowing eligible surviving spouses the opportunity to remain in the home despite their non-borrowing status.
Last year, FHA amended its HECM policies to allow for the deferral of foreclosure, or ‘due and payable status’ for certain Eligible Non-Borrowing Spouses for case numbers assigned on or after August 4, 2014. Today’s action allows lenders to offer similar treatment for eligible HECMs and Eligible Non-Borrowing Spouses with FHA case numbers issued before August 4, 2014.
Under FHA’s new policy, lenders will be allowed to pursue claim payments for HECMs with Eligible Surviving Non-Borrowing Spouses and Case Numbers assigned before August 4, 2014 by:
- Allowing claim payment following sale of the property by heirs or estate;
- Foreclosing in accordance with the terms of the mortgage, and filing an insurance claim under the FHA insurance contract as endorsed; or
- Electing to assign the HECM to HUD upon the death of the last surviving borrower, where the HECM would not otherwise be assignable to FHA. (The MOE Assignment)
By electing the Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment, lenders will be permitted to modify their FHA mortgage insurance contracts to permit assignment of an eligible HECM to HUD despite the HECM being eligible to be called due and payable as a result of the death of the last surviving borrower.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro today announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums new borrowers will pay by half of a percent. This action is projected to save more than two million FHA homeowners an average of $900 annually and spur 250,000 new homebuyers to purchase their first home over the next three years.
Today’s action also reflects the improved economic health of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF). FHA’s recent annual report to Congress demonstrates the economic condition of the agency’s single-family insurance fund continues to improve, adding $21 billion in value over the past two years.
“This action will make homeownership more affordable for over two million Americans in the next three years,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. “Since 2009, the Obama Administration has taken bold steps to reduce risks in the mortgage market and to protect consumers. These efforts have made it possible to take this prudent measure while also ensuring FHA remains on a positive financial trajectory. By bringing our premiums down, we’re helping folks lift themselves up so they can open new doors of opportunity and strengthen their financial futures.”
In the wake of the nation’s housing crisis, FHA increased its premium prices to stabilize the health of its MMI Fund. In addition, the Obama Administration took dramatic steps to safeguard consumers in the mortgage market to ensure responsible borrowers continued to have access to mortgage capital as many private lending sources tightened their lending standards.
Today’s reduction will significantly expand access to mortgage credit for these families and is expected to lower the cost of housing for the approximately 800,000 households who use FHA annually.
FHA’s new annual premium prices are expected to take effect towards the end of the month. FHA will publish a mortgagee letter detailing its new pricing structure shortly.
2015 Loan limits for highest and lowest cost areas to remain unchanged
WASHINGTON - The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today announced the agency's news schedule of loan limits for 2015. These loan limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2015, and will remain in effect through the end of the year.
FHA's calculation for maximum loan limits in high cost metropolitan areas of the country will remain the same as the 2014 level of $625,500. The current standard loan limit for areas where housing costs are relatively low will also remain unchanged at $271,050.
Each year, FHA recalculates its national loan limit based on a percentage calculation of the national conforming loan limit. Depending on those limits, FHA's minimum national loan limit "floor" is at 65 percent of the national conforming loan limit. The floor applies to those areas where 115 percent of the median home price is less than 65 percent of the national conforming loan limit.
Conversely, any area where the loan limit exceeds the "floor" is considered a high cost area. The maximum FHA national loan limit "ceiling" is at 150 percent of the national conforming limit. In areas where 115 percent of the median home price (of the highest cost county) exceeds 150 percent of the conforming loan limit, the FHA loan limits remain at 150 percent of the conforming loan limit.
Areas are eligible for FHA loan limits above the national standard limit, and up to the national ceiling level, based on median area home prices. Additional information and loan limit adjustments for two-, three-, and four-unit properties, and in Special Exception Areas, are noted in FHA's mortgagee letter. An attachment to the Mortgagee Letter provides information on which counties are eligible for loan limits above the national standard. Borrowers with existing FHA insured mortgages may continue to utilize FHA's Streamline refinance program regardless of their loan balance.
The mortgage loan limits for FHA-insured reverse mortgages will also remain unchanged. The FHA reverse-mortgage product, known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), will continue to have a maximum claim amount of $625,500, with actual loan limits based on property value, borrower age, and current interest rates. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 and older to age in place by borrowing against the value of their homes without any requirements for monthly payments; no repayment is required as long as a homeowner lives in the home. The reverse mortgage is repaid, with interest, when the homeowner leaves the home.
Washington, DC – The Obama Administration announced an almost $17 billion global settlement with Bank of America. $1 billion of the total settlement amount resolves claims arising from allegations of fraud involving certain Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured single-family mortgage loans and a failure to perform under its servicing contract with the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae).
Under the terms of the settlement, Bank of America will pay $800 million to resolve the claims relating to FHA and $200 million to Ginnie Mae. The remaining nearly $16 billion of the total settlement amount resolves fraud claims involving the pooling of residential mortgage backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and other claims by the United States, along with the States of California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and includes $7 billion in consumer relief with a focus on borrowers that were in the hardest-hit areas during the housing crisis.
"Today’s settlement with Bank of America is another important step in the Obama Administration’s efforts to provide relief to American homeowners who were hurt during the housing crisis,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro. “This global settlement will strengthen the FHA fund and Ginnie Mae, and it will provide $7 billion in consumer relief with a focus on helping borrowers in areas that were the hardest hit during the crisis. HUD will continue working with the Department of Justice, state attorneys general, and other partners to take appropriate action to hold financial institutions accountable for their misconduct and provide consumers with the relief they need to stay in their homes. HUD remains committed to solidifying the housing recovery and creating more opportunities for Americans to succeed.”
This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group.
Working with the Department of Justice, HUD’s Office of General Counsel, Office of Housing, and Office of the Inspector General worked extensively on the fraud investigation involving FHA-insured single-family mortgage loans that were underwritten by Bank of America during the period from May 1, 2009, to April 1, 2011. HUD also provided assistance with respect to a breach of contract claim involving Bank of America’s role as one of two master subservicers for Ginnie Mae’s portfolio of defaulted single-family mortgages.
The $7 billion in consumer relief will focus on areas that were hardest hit during the housing crisis. Consumer relief will take various forms including loan modification for distressed borrowers, including FHA-insured borrowers, and new loans to credit worthy borrowers struggling to get a loan in hardest hit areas, borrowers who lost homes to foreclosure or short sales, and moderate income first-time homebuyers. Bank of America will also make donations to community development funds, legal aid organizations, and housing counseling agencies to assist individuals with foreclosure prevention and to support community reinvestment and neighborhood stabilization. They will also provide financing for affordable rental housing with a focus on family housing in high-cost areas. An independent monitor will be appointed to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement.