Client Bulletin 1/28/22

Homeowner Assistance Fund Update

Last month, Cenlar shared initial information about the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program, a part of the American Rescue Plan Act that will provide $9.961 billion to states, Washington, D.C., territories, and tribes for homeowners impacted by COVID-19.

Each state HAF program must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Treasury before servicers can process homeowner requests to qualify for assistance. To date, Cenlar has signed agreements with Arkansas, California, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York and is now accepting homeowner “full reinstatement” requests from these states. We have not entered into agreements with any states that do not have Treasury approval. As of January 28, 2022, a total of 34 states have been approved by the Treasury.

We have received HAF program documents from 26 states and are working with them to execute agreements and complete required paperwork. Our team continues to be actively engaged with all states to make funds available to homeowners. We will persist in working toward a 50-state rollout. We expect to bring states on line as soon as their programs are approved by the Treasury. Our team has worked with each state to ensure we have integrated individual requirements.

We have previously communicated that you do not need to do anything to enable your homeowners to be considered for this assistance. Private-label clients with homeowners in California are the only exception.

Private-Label Clients in California

California stipulates private-label clients must take specific steps to make funds available to their homeowners. In California, private-label clients who have Cenlar as their sole subservicer must do the following:

  • Execute a Collaborative Agreement
  • Complete California Secure File Transfer Protocol or SFTP Sign Up. The SFTP will enable your institution and the state of California to safely communicate sensitive homeowner information.
  • Set Up a Contact Spreadsheet, a document that consists of contacts at the servicer so that California can easily reach out should they need to do so.
  • Complete Common Data File or CDF Training. A CDF is an Excel file that will facilitate the exchange of homeowner data. California will provide training on how to use it.

Private-label clients that directly service any portion of their portfolios must follow the steps above and complete an ACH Document and Verbal Verification. The state can provide details regarding the necessary steps.
California has appointed a HAF onboarding point of contact — Craig W. Witt — who will assist private-label clients through these steps. He can be reached at (317) 679-8915 or by emailing craig.witt@camortgagerelief.org. Keep in mind that although you will likely need to play a direct role in the initial stage of a homeowner’s HAF inquiry, Cenlar will provide the same level of support in fulfilling what is required to process the inquiry and apply any funds awarded.

Where Homeowners Can Get Help

Homeowners should apply directly with each state’s HAF administrator. Beginning early next month, our website will feature links for state HAF programs. Homeowners will be able to click on the link that pertains to them.

Again, we will continue to add state programs as they are approved. We will also update you as the process and our costs, including the processing fee we will charge per our agreement, become clearer.

Please reach out directly to your client manager with any questions.