Homeowners continue to face risks, challenges after COVID-19 hardship forbearances

The CFPB on Monday published a report examining mortgage servicers’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data, collected across 16 large servicers from May through December 2021, reveal homeowners continue to face significant risks and challenges connected to working with their mortgage servicers, according to the CFPB. The bureau noted that the problem is particularly acute for those borrowers struggling to make their mortgage payments after exiting COVID-19 hardship forbearances.

“While many mortgage servicers are successfully assisting borrowers to avoid foreclosure, today’s report highlights that some servicers are lagging their peers and are less well-equipped to assist borrowers who have exited pandemic housing protections,” said Rohit Chopra, CFPB director. “We will be closely monitoring mortgage servicer performance to ensure that they are meeting their obligations under the law.”

Findings from the report in include that:

  • many borrowers exited COVID-19 hardship forbearance with no loss mitigation solution in place;
  • some mortgage servicers significantly lag industry peers in call center response times;
  • data on borrowers’ language preferences remained limited; and
  • some mortgage servicers relied on systems that could not provide information on key metrics.

Continued monitoring and supervision of the mortgage market shows borrowers are still struggling with the after-effects of the pandemic, and the CFPB is encouraging mortgage servicers to enhance outreach to borrowers exiting forbearance and closely monitor data on borrower demographics and outcomes.

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