Friday, January 31, 2014

Homeownership Counseling Disclosure

Lenders of federally-related mortgage loans are now required to provide the Homeownership Counseling Disclosure.  This disclosure is in addition to the GFE required under RESPA.

Here are the basics:

1.  Effective Date:  for loans with an application date of 01/10/2014 or later.

2. Scope:  This new requirement covers all federally-related mortgage loans.  Essentially, if the GFE is required for a loan, you must also provide this Homeownership Counseling Disclosure.

3. When: within three business days after the receipt of an application, or information sufficient to constitute an application.  The timing is identical with that of the GFE.

4. What: this disclosure must contain a list of at least ten HUD-approved housing counseling agencies located closest to the borrower's current address (zip code).  At this moment, the easiest way to generate this list of counseling agencies is to go here, plug in the zip code of the borrower's current address, hit "Find A Counselor", and print or save search results.  Before you send the list to the borrower, be sure to include the following language on your disclosure document:
The counseling agencies on this list are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and they can offer independent advice about whether a particular set of mortgage loan terms is a good fit based on your objectives and circumstances, often at little or no cost to you. This list shows you several approved agencies in your area. You can find other approved counseling agencies at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) website: consumerfinance.gov/mortgagehelp or by calling 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).  You can also access a list of nationwide HUD-approved counseling intermediaries at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/ohc_nint.
Lenders should pay special attention to this requirement for a number of reasons.  First, many loan originators may be aware that housing counseling is required for reverse mortgages and Section 32 high cost mortgage loans; therefore, they may mistakenly ignore this disclosure when sending out the early disclosures on federally-related loans.  Second, most, if not all, secondary market investors will be looking for this disclosure when auditing loans.  A few have expressly stated in their bulletins that they would not purchase a loan absent this disclosure.

  

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