CFPB, other agencies post website for consumers seeking housing relief
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched a joint website with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to be a central repository of information on housing relief options for consumers and scams to watch out for during the coronavirus pandemic.
The website, announced Tuesday, describes potential strategies for both homeowners and renters economically affected by COVID-19. It also features a tool for homeowners to determine if their mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration.
The agencies unveiled the site on the same day of a virtual video meeting of the National Association of Realtors. CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger told the group that the bureau is monitoring a range of housing-related issues tied to the pandemic, including a spike in consumer complaints against certain companies, a drop in new mortgage inquiries and a big increase in forbearance requests.
“A growing concern for many [homeowners] is the notion that they would have to make a balloon payment at the end of the mortgage forbearance,” Kraninger said in her prepared remarks. “Consumers report that they are seeking changes to loan terms, such as suspension of payments, lower interest rates, longer loan terms, and other ways to postpone or lower monthly payments because they have lost their jobs or are working fewer hours.”
In a joint press release announcing the website, FHFA Director Mark Calabria described it as a one-stop shop for housing-related information.
“Protecting and empowering borrowers and renters while ensuring the mortgage market functions as efficiently as possible has been a priority for FHFA during the national health emergency,” Calabria said in the release.