Fannie Mae Updates Servicer Disaster Assistance Policies

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On August 7, Fannie Mae issued Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2013-16, which updates assistance policies for borrowers affected by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or other catastrophes caused by a person or event beyond the borrower’s control. The announcement provides a table of new pre-approved forbearance terms for borrowers affected by a disaster. Fannie Mae reminds servicers that while they have discretion to determine the appropriate duration of forbearance, any forbearance that exceeds the set terms must be approved in writing by Fannie Mae. The announcement also (i) updates requirements for insurance claim settlements, (ii) requires that income documentation be no more than 180 days old at the time of the post-disaster foreclosure prevention alternative evaluation, (iii) directs servicers to suspend credit reporting for a disaster-impacted borrower during a repayment plan or Trial Period Plan if the borrower is making the required payments, (iv) reduces eligibility requirements for streamlined modifications for borrowers completing a disaster-related forbearance plan in a FEMA-declared disaster area, (v) introduces a new modification, the Cap and Extended Modification for Disaster Relief, and (vi) addresses escrow analysis requirements prior to offering a Trial Period Plan for certain disaster-related modifications. All of these policy changes took effect immediately.