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Together we can navigate this new mortgage landscape

The impact of COVID-19 on homeowners has left mortgage lenders and servicers facing an unfamiliar landscape.

Amid all the uncertainty, you can always turn to Fannie Mae for reliable information and steady guidance for you and your customers facing hardship. Temporary policies have been put in place to enable servicers to better assist homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Let’s discuss the highlights.

These are the key areas where existing policies have changed:

New guidelines on forbearance plans

With COVID-19 causing massive job losses, we expect a large increase in borrowers seeking mortgage help.

As provided in our guidance described below, the CARES Act states that a forbearance plan must be provided to any borrower who requests a forbearance during the covered period and attests to a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 emergency. No documentation other than the borrower’s attestation to a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 emergency is required. These borrowers must be provided an initial forbearance plan for a period up to 180 days, which may be extended for up to an additional 180 days at the request of the borrower. For a borrower impacted by COVID-19, we are temporarily eliminating the requirement that the servicer must receive our prior written approval for a forbearance plan that would result in the mortgage loan becoming greater than 12 months delinquent.

Learn more on executing the policy in this resource.

New guidance on credit reporting

We require servicers to report the status of the mortgage loan to the credit bureaus in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including as amended by the CARES Act, for borrowers affected by the COVID-19 emergency during the covered period of the CARES Act. If the borrower was current on the mortgage before receiving a COVID-19-related forbearance plan or other accommodation covered by the CARES Act, the servicer must continue to report the loan as current on the credit report as long as the homeowner makes any payments required by the plan (or if the borrower is not required to make any payments).

Options following a COVID-19 hardship

Homeowners with a hardship caused by COVID-19 who are either exiting a COVID-19 related forebearance plan or otherwise seeking to resolve a delinquency related to COVID-19 have options. Servicers should discuss these options with homeowners to determine their eligibility.

Even if the homeowner has missed payments but has not received a COVID-19 related forebearance plan, they may still be eligible for mortgage assistance. Read more.

Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network™

Our Disaster Response Network (DRN) can be used to assist homeowners who have been affected by hardships related to COVID-19. The DRN provides trained financial counselors who will work with borrowers to create a workable budget based on the homeowner’s present financial situation and assist in explaining options including obtaining unemployment benefits and any kind of mortgage help that may be available. We encourage you to refer your impacted borrowers to our DRN for assistance. Learn more.

How to move forward

The coming months will bring with them a lot of change in our industry, but you can always come to Fannie Mae as a source for reliable information about forbearance plans, loan modifications, and other kinds of mortgage assistance.

Our Lender Letters should be your first stop for information. Unless otherwise noted, the policies that our Lender Letters outline are effective immediately and will be in place until further notice. When you’re ready to get started, you can follow these step-by-step Asset Management Network instructions.

Most importantly, make sure to keep checking back with us for the latest information. Throughout this uncertainty we will continue to be here to help.

Lender Letters

Lender Resources

Learning Center

Access training resources to help you navigate COVID-19 and its impact on the mortgage industry.

COVID-19 Flexibilities: 6 Tips for Appraisers

This quick video helps appraisers apply the COVID-19 Flexibilities.

Servicer Resources

Learning Center

Access training resources to help you navigate COVID-19 and its impact on the mortgage industry.

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

The FHFA site can help keep you updated on changes related to COVID-19 across the mortgage industry.


Full-text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020.