A Loan Officer’s Guide to Housing Assistance Fund Program

A Loan Officer’s Guide to Housing Assistance Fund Program

NRMLA has created this informational web page in case you’re contacted by prior clients who need help paying their property taxes and homeowners insurance.

The U.S. Treasury allocated $9.9 billion for aid to homeowners who were adversely impacted by COVID to be distributed through state administrators for the purpose of preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 2020.  Click Here: Treasury HAF Program

For Reverse Mortgage borrowers, the HAF program is anticipated to help borrowers who had a COVID impact (reduced income or increased expenses) minimize or cure their property charge (tax, insurance, HOA, etc.) defaults. Borrowers must review their state’s plan and requirements and apply for assistance on their state’s website which can be found at this link: Click Here for NCSHA State Map.

To help promote HAF programs that are being offered throughout the country, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created educational flyers in seven different languages that servicers may voluntarily provide to their borrowers. You can access the flyers here: www.consumerfinance.gov/compliance/compliance-resources/mortgage-resources/mortserv/.

Important Points:

  • All but about 10 state HAF portals are open online now and accepting applications. If a borrower’s state is not yet open, they can typically register to be notified when it is, or check back frequently.
  • Time is of the essence for borrowers to apply ASAP – some portals are temporarily closed as the state has been overrun with applications and my run out of money (i.e., NY, RI & AK).
  • Each state’s program is run by a different program administrator, has different requirements and guidelines and varying amounts of funds available to each household. Please review state requirements on the state’s website.
  • Borrowers must apply online; Servicers cannot apply for them. They may need help as there is documentation required to be uploaded. Counselors should be able to help them if no family/friends are available.
  • Servicers are not involved in qualifying borrowers for HAF funds – the state administrators do that.
  • If a borrower applies and is denied or doesn’t qualify, the Servicer is not informed; they only get notified of pre-approved and approved borrowers.
  • State administrators communicate with servicers once they have a complete application from a borrower and the borrower is pre-approved.
    • The administrator sends the servicer a Common Data File (CDF) “I” record indicating there is an initial approval.
    • Servicers return a record in the CDF to the state administrator including information requested by the administrator.
    • Upon final approval, the administrator will send the funds to the servicer to apply to the loan.
  • Some states have posted “dashboards” on the NCSHA website (2nd link above) tracking HAF program progress, including number of apps received and funds distributed.

Servicers have:

  • Trained Call Center agents to educate borrowers with property charge defaults about HAF and encourage them to apply
  • Programmed outbound call campaigns to borrowers in states accepting borrower applications
  • Sent out email campaigns
  • Added messaging to the monthly statements
  • Included messaging in Hazard Insurance Notifications
  • Updated websites

Published by

Darryl Hicks

Darryl Hicks is Vice President of Communications for the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. In this capacity, Hicks writes for NRMLA's publications, manages the association's web sites and social media accounts, assists committees and the Board of Directors, and manages the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designation. Prior to joining NRMLA in 1999, Hicks spent three years in the Washington, D.C. bureau for National Mortgage News.