Federal Forbearance Period Ending Will Test Mortgage Companies
Newsletter — June 2021
When June comes to an end, so will the federal foreclosure ban — and soon after, the forbearance programs set in place last year by the CARES Act.
More than 2 million homeowners are still in those forbearance plans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, while another 1.8 million homeowners were at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgages as of April.
So what happens come July?
While some banks have indicated they will end their suspension on foreclosures at the end of this month, Wells Fargo said it plans to extend foreclosure protections through the end of the year.
“For the loans that we own, we have extended our moratoriums for foreclosures and evictions until the end of the year,” said Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf. The bank also said it supports the rule proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that would prevent lenders from initiating foreclosure proceedings until 2022.
“The good news is the amount of deferrals is way down, and most of the clients have become current,” Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America. “Irrespective of that deadline passing, we’ll continue to work with a few clients we have left to help them.”
It’s doubtful that we’ll see another crisis like 2008, said Andrew Wang, CEO of the mortgage servicing firm Valon, but the coming months are likely to test mortgage companies — especially servicers.
“We have yet to see how servicers have reformed their practices in a distressed environment at scale,” he said, “and this will certainly be a high-stakes and potentially existential test for the servicing industry.”
Meanwhile, investors — who have endured a significant drop in foreclosure properties over the last year — should be prepared to act quickly once the foreclosure moratorium ends. The Federal Reserve has made clear it intends to keep interest rates low, and competition, worsened by the lack of inventory, will be stiff.
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