Industry Briefs Dec. 23, 2020

FHA Updates Single-Family Loan-Level Certification Form

The Federal Housing Administration announced completion of its revised and streamlined loan-level certification form required from lenders when originating a single-family mortgage intended for FHA insurance endorsement.

The updated form eliminates “unnecessarily dense” language while remaining consistent with pertinent statutes and other program requirements. The updated form also continues to safeguard FHA against fraud and misrepresentation by requiring lenders and borrowers to certify to the truthfulness and accuracy of required information.

“We believe the revised loan-level certification strikes the right balance between clarity and accuracy and our ability to take strong enforcement actions against those who willingly harm FHA and the American taxpayer. This certification can and should survive the test of time,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Dana Wade.

The revised form, officially called the HUD Form 92900-A, Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application is mandated by FHA and must have signatures from the underwriter and/or other lender representative, as well as the borrower. The revised HUD Form 92900-A may be used by lenders immediately but is required for all FHA single family forward and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages submitted for FHA insurance endorsements with case numbers assigned on and after March 22, 2021.

Qualia Raises $65m Series D Funding; Acquires Adeptive Software

Qualia, San Francisco, announced it raised $65 million in Series D financing, increasing its total funding to $160 million and valuing the five-year-old company at more than $1 billion. The latest round was led by existing investor Tiger Global, alongside other existing investors 8VC and Menlo Ventures.

Additionally, Qualia announced acquisition of Adeptive Software, developer of ResWare, a complementary title and escrow production software within the real estate industry. Adeptive brings a 20-year track record of software and services to the title and escrow industry through its core product, ResWare.

CFPB Issues Advisory Opinion on Reg B, ECOA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory opinion to address regulatory uncertainty regarding Regulation B, which implements the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as it applies to certain aspects of special purpose credit programs.

The ECOA and Regulation B prohibit discrimination on certain prohibited bases in any aspect of a credit transaction, but they clarify that it is not discrimination for for-profit organizations to provide SPCPs designed to meet special social needs. The Bureau does not determine whether individual programs qualify for special purpose credit status. Instead, the creditor offering the SPCP must determine the status of its program. Regulation B provides creditors with general guidance for developing SPCPs that are compliant with ECOA.

To guide this determination and to address this regulatory uncertainty, the Bureau is issuing an advisory opinion with the hope that more creditors will offer SPCPs and increase access to credit to underserved groups. Specifically, the Bureau seeks to clarify the content that a for-profit organization must include in a written plan that establishes and administers a SPCP under Regulation B. The advisory opinion also clarifies the type of research and data that may be appropriate to inform a for-profit organization’s determination that a SPCP would benefit a certain class of people.

A copy of the advisory opinion can be found at

Planet Home Lending Creates Advocacy Team

Planet Home Lending LLC, Meriden, Conn., expanded and improved its Advocacy Team, a department dedicated to onboarding new retail branches and mortgage loan originators and providing an ongoing support experience to ensure long-term success.

The Advocacy Team was a natural outgrowth of Planet Home Lending’s need to create virtual onboarding to replace in-person events and travel curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team is managed by Brenda Colter, director of branch advocacy, and reports to Kirsten Johnson, VP of branch administration. The Advocacy Team includes experienced mortgage professionals in underwriting, sales, and systems support.

FHA Extends Options for Single-Family Borrowers Financially Impacted by COVID-19

The Federal Housing Administration announced it is extending the foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family FHA-insured mortgages for an additional two months, through February 28, 2021. The FHA is also extending through February 28, 2021, the deadline for single family borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages to request an initial COVID-19 forbearance from their mortgage servicer to defer or reduce their mortgage payments for up to six months, which can be extended for an additional six months.

The moratorium prohibits servicers from initiating or proceeding with foreclosure and foreclosure-related eviction actions for FHA-insured single family forward and reverse mortgages, except for those secured by legally vacant and abandoned properties. Further, FHA requires mortgage servicers to provide up to six months of COVID-19 forbearance when a borrower requests this assistance, and up to an additional six months of COVID-19 forbearance for borrowers who request an extension of the initial forbearance. Borrowers needing assistance must engage with their servicer to obtain an initial COVID-19 forbearance on or before February 28, 2021.

MAXEX Launches ESG Loan Programs for Minority, Women and Veteran-Owned Lenders

MAXEX, Atlanta, launched the first two programs in its new Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance business line. The initial programs are designed to support the growth of minority, women and veteran-owned mortgage lenders.

MAXEX will facilitate lending in underserved market segments by offering preferred loan pricing for qualified lenders through these ESG programs. As a leader in the capital markets, J.P. Morgan has agreed to purchase and securitize certain qualifying loans which ultimately allows for more liquidity and better access to home mortgages in a critical part of the housing market.

CFPB Issues Final Rule on Debt Collection Consumer Disclosures

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a final rule to implement Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requirements regarding certain disclosures for consumers. The rule requires debt collectors to provide, at the outset of collection communications, detailed disclosures about the consumer’s debt and rights in debt collection, along with information to help consumers respond.  The rule requires debt collectors to take specific steps to disclose the existence of a debt to consumers, orally, in writing, or electronically, before reporting information about the debt to a consumer reporting agency. The rule prohibits debt collectors from making threats to sue, or from suing, consumers on time-barred debt. 

Under the final rule, collectors will also be required to provide readily understandable disclosures that contain more information than consumers currently receive when the collector first begins to communicate with the consumer to collect the debt. The disclosures must include details about the debt and consumer protections, including the right to dispute the debt and to request information about the original creditor. The disclosures also must continue to include a statement that indicates the communication is from a collector and is about a debt. The disclosures will help ensure that consumers are able to recognize debt they may owe and raise concerns about unfamiliar debts.  A model form in plain language is provided that debt collectors may use to comply with the rule.

The final rule can be found at

STRATMOR Insights: ‘20 Things That Happened in 2020’

The latest Insights Report from STRATMOR Group, Greenwood Village, Colo., discusses 20 key highlights from 2020, including historically low interest rates, record origination volumes and strong profits for mortgage companies

STRATMOR Senior Partner Jim Cameron said all of this has resulted in record volumes and huge profits in 2020—but it also created other problems. “Most lenders simply don’t have enough capacity to handle the historic influx of loan volume,” Cameron notes in the report. “One of the primary techniques to manage capacity is to raise margins, but this has done little to slow down deal flow.”

When rates increase or even flatten, refinance activity will plummet and mortgage lenders will be dealing with excess capacity, Cameron adds. “This can happen in a matter of weeks. Lenders will cut overtime, eliminate temps and raise margins to slow down the flow of applications. Then finally, only when they must, lenders will likely cut operations staff.”

In a second Insights article, “Make the Season Brighter,” Mike Seminari, director of STRATMOR’s MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, writes that the end of the year is a great opportunity for lenders to show their customers that they are thinking about them.