Employee health, forbearance clarity industry's top COVID-19 concerns

by Ryan Smith01 Jul 2020

Lenders cited clarity about loan eligibility, supply-chain disruption and the health and safety of staff as the three biggest challenges they are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study by Fannie Mae.

Meanwhile, understanding borrowers’ post-forbearance options and gaining clarification of forbearance programs were mortgage servicers’ top concerns.

Lenders said that the outbreak has caused delays in getting employment verification appraisals, titles and closings completed due to office closure or reduced staff or hours. They also told Fannie Mae that the many policy changes made since the outbreak began are difficult to keep up with.

“There is so much information to review and convey to employees,” one mid-sized institution told the survey. “Policies need to be changed daily to keep up.”

Servicers, meanwhile, told Fannie Mae that there needs to be more clarity on government forbearance policies.

“The new forbearance policies are making it extremely easy for a borrower to request forbearance,” one mid-sized institution told the GSE. “That is a good thing since many people are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. However, how a customer exits forbearance will not be easy for the customer and will be complicated for servicers. There needs to be an easy-exit approach for consumers to reestablish their loan with no downstream impacts.”