Client Bulletin 12/03/21

Homeowner Assistance Fund Update

Our October 8, 2021 Client Bulletin shared initial details regarding the newly created Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program. HAF, which was included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will provide $9.961 billion to states, Washington, D.C., territories, and tribes for relief to homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 economic crisis.

HAF was created as a block-grant program to enable states to assist borrowers in mitigating financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Each state (50 states and 3 territories) was required by the U.S. Treasury to present plans explaining how their plans would be administered and funds allocated to distressed borrowers. All 53 jurisdictions will identify borrowers through various statewide outreach programs and determine borrower eligibility for HAF based on that state’s requirements. Treasury is currently reviewing these programs.

Standardized agreement speeding implementation

Cenlar has engaged in preliminary discussions with eligible jurisdictions. Many states have agreed to use a newly created Standard Collaboration Agreement drafted by the Housing Policy Council.

The availability of a standardized agreement has sped collaboration and our review process. Our state conversations reveal interest helping borrowers in one of three ways:

  • Reinstatement only
  • Reinstatement plus monthly payments – number of payments states will pay on behalf of the borrower post reinstatement varies by state
  • Other – some states appear to want proof that the borrower has applied for other loss mitigation options before offering assistance, while others do not plan to make that a requirement. Most are indicating that servicers and subservicers should follow investor guidelines.

We are currently building out phase one of the HAF infrastructure. Cenlar will work with each state in assisting qualified borrowers, but we will not determine borrower eligibility.

We will provide a further update in approximately 30 days once this process and our costs become clearer. At that time, we will discuss when we will be able to begin to accept state funds on behalf of borrowers and the processing fee we will charge as per our agreement.

Scott Goldman Joins Cenlar as Vice President of Issues Management

Scott Goldman has joined Cenlar as Vice President of Issues Management, supporting Cenlar’s business controls team. Scott will be responsible for leading a centralized Cenlar Issues Management Team focused on resolving issues and control deficiencies in an effective and timely manner.

Scott has nearly 20 years of experience in the mortgage servicing industry, with extensive knowledge in the areas of operations, corporate treasury, finance, and risk management. Prior, Scott was Senior Director of Mortgage Servicing at Ally Financial, where he was responsible for developing operational best practices for risk assessments to test applicable federal and state laws and regulations. He was also paramount in establishing the bank’s first-line of defense to oversee multiple high-risk vendors and monitor operations.

He holds has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and holds a Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation. He earned his Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) certification from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“Scott will be a valuable asset to our team,” said Chief Control Officer Lynn Tarantino. “He is an accomplished banker, with an impressive background in management, compliance and operations.”

New Client Support Matrix on CenAccess

The Cenlar Case Management (CCM) system has eliminated the need for most – but not all – client-facing email boxes. With this in mind, a new Client Support Matrix has been posted on CenAccess, found under the Support tab by clicking on “Need Assistance?” If your request type is not listed on the matrix, it has been transitioned to CCM. Please share this information with your CCM users and administrators.