People seeking a review of their mortgage foreclosure under the federal banking agencies’ Independent Foreclosure Review now have until July 31, 2012, to submit requests. Borrowers may request a review if they believe they suffered financial injury as a result of errors in foreclosure actions on their homes in 2009 or 2010 by one of the mortgage servicers covered by enforcement actions issued in April 2011. If the review finds that financial injury occurred, the borrower may receive compensation or other remedy. There are no costs associated with being included in the review. For more information, including eligibility requirements and participating servicers, call 888-952-9105 or visit https://independentforeclosurereview.com.
The new Single Family Housing Guaranteed Rural Refinance Pilot Program, launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is an effort to help rural borrowers refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly payments. Available for homeowners who have loans that were made or guaranteed by USDA Rural Development, the program is operating in five states within the Eighth Federal Reserve District: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. Information is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/HSF_SFH.html.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, is inviting applications for the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2012. Funding to support $33 million in loans and $10 million in grants is currently available. The deadline for receipt of applications in the USDA Rural Development State Office is no later than 4:30 p.m. (local time) on the last business day of each month in FY 2012. For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/876crhl.
The Federal Reserve Board released a policy statement in April reiterating that residential properties acquired in foreclosure as part of an orderly disposition strategy may be rented. The Fed’s general policy is that banking organizations should make good faith efforts to dispose of foreclosed properties (other real estate owned, or OREO) at the earliest practicable date. In this context, and in light of current extraordinary market conditions, the statement explains that banking organizations may rent residential OREO properties without demonstrating continuous active marketing of the property for sale. Also, if OREO rental properties meet the definition of community development under Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations, banking organizations may receive favorable CRA consideration. You can find all the details, including the full statement and the 2012 Banking and Consumer Regulatory Policy, at www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20120405a.htm.
Speaking at the 2012 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Seattle, Federal Reserve Gov. Elizabeth Duke said that financial institutions must take a broad, entrepreneurial approach to their obligations to serve low-income communities under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). She said the CRA rules provide an incentive to help banks and thrifts invest in affordable housing, financial services, economic development and neighborhood revitalization or stabilization. During times when community need is great and resources few, financial institutions should consider partnerships with community stakeholders, setting the stage for stronger credit demand in the future.
Financial institutions need to approach development holistically, relating it to jobs, education, transportation and healthcare. Modern sustainable communities will address not only housing issues, but also the resources needed to support people and create a good business climate.
Duke cited neighborhood stabilization efforts as examples of well-rounded approaches to development in distressed communities. She said land banks are just one example of new approaches to housing issues that have been successful in revitalizing low-value properties, and that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides a structure that helps community stakeholders identify the best local approach.
To read the full text of Gov. Duke’s keynote address, visit www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/duke20120327a.htm.