7 CFR § 3555.303 - Traditional servicing options.

§ 3555.303 Traditional servicing options.

(a) Eligibility. To be eligible for traditional servicing, all the following conditions must be met:

(1) The borrower presently occupies the property;

(2) The borrower is in default or facing imminent default for an involuntary reason. A borrower is “facing imminent default” if that borrower is current or less than 30 days past due on the mortgage obligation and is experiencing a significant reduction in income or some other hardship that will prevent him or her from making the next required payment on the mortgage during the month in which it is due. The borrower must be able to document the cause of the imminent default, which may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following types of hardship:

(i) A reduction in or loss of income that was supporting the mortgage loan;

(ii) A change in household financial circumstances;

(3) The borrower demonstrates a reasonable ability to support repayment of the debt in the future;

(4) There are no adverse property conditions that inhibit the inhabitability or use of the property; and

(5) The borrower has not received assistance due to the submission of false information by the borrower.

(b) Servicing options. The lender must consider traditional servicing options in the following order to resolve the borrower's default or imminent default:

(1) Repayment agreement. A repayment agreement is an informal plan lasting 3 months or less to cure short-term delinquencies.

(2) Special forbearance agreement. A special forbearance agreement is a longer-term formal plan to cure a delinquency not to exceed the equivalent of 12 months of PITI. The agreement may gradually increase monthly payments in an amount sufficient to repay the arrearage over a reasonable amount of time and/or temporarily reduce or suspend payments for a short period. If the borrower is at least 3 months delinquent, the special forbearance agreement may resume normal payments for several months followed by a loan modification.

(3) Loan modification plan. A loan modification is a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a loan that results in a payment the borrower can afford and allows the loan to be brought current. A loan modification must be a written agreement.

(i) Loan modifications must be a fixed interest rate and cannot exceed the market interest rate at the time of modification.

(ii) Loan modifications may capitalize all or a portion of the arrearage and/or reamortization of the balance due including foreclosure fees and costs, tax and insurance advances, and past due Agency annual fees imposed by the lender. Late charges and lender fees may not be capitalized.

(iii) If necessary to demonstrate repayment ability, the loan term after reamortization may be extended for up to 30 years from the date of the loan modification.

(iv) The lender's lien priority cannot be adversely affected by providing a loan modification.

(v) Lenders may require that borrowers complete a trial payment plan prior to making scheduled payments amended by the traditional loan servicing loan modification.

(c) Terms of loan note guarantee. Use of traditional servicing options does not change the terms of the loan note guarantee except when the traditional servicing option meets the requirements of § 3555.303(b)(3)(iv). The loan guarantee will apply to loan terms extending beyond the 30 year loan term from the date of origination when a loan modification meets the criteria set forth in § 3555.303(b)(3)(iv).

[78 FR 73941, Dec. 9, 2013, as amended at 81 FR 6430, Feb. 8, 2016; 84 FR 70886, Dec. 26, 2019]