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COVID-19 Info Center

March 30, 2020 Blog No Comments

Freedom Mortgage COVID-19 Info Center

COVID-19 Reference Guide
Updated September 29, 2020

1. From the Desk of Keith Bilodeau, Senior Vice President

Thank You for Your Partnership and Your Patience
June 2, 2020
As We Grow, Setting Expectations Together is Key

  • Underwriting Turn Times Extended
  • Best Practices for an Efficient Experience

A Note to Our Valued Partners
March 18, 2020
From the Desk of:
Les Acree, Executive Vice President
Keith Bilodeau, Senior Vice President

2. Important Broker Originated Refinance Loan Status Reminders
Updated: October 8, 2020

  • Loans with Final Approval Status by September 25th are Projected to Close and Fund in October
  • Loans must have a CD Acknowledged by October 22nd to be Eligible to Fund in July
  • Please see Guidance and Support Options for Loans Submitted but not Closing or Disbursing in October

About Loans Submitted, But Not Disbursing until November:

  • Verify mortgage payments have been made and payoffs and payment histories have been updated and uploaded to your files. Loans disbursing in November should show borrower’s next mortgage payment is due in November or after.
  • Free and Automatic Lock Extensions Are Available

Additional Information:

  • During this period of historic loan refinance volume, Freedom Mortgage Wholesale is proactively managing in-process loans to meet the expectations of your borrowers.
  • Please know that our operational teams are working tirelessly to support your needs and will make every effort to serve the needs of your borrower. We ask that you advise your borrower of the extended turn times and also consider the following:
    • An Additional Monthly Mortgage Payment May Be Needed – if the planned closing date is delayed, please be sure your borrower is prepared to make their regular monthly mortgage payment on time.
  • Reminder! Free and Automatic 30-Day Lock Extensions (see criteria below)
    Eligible for FNMA/FHLMC/FHA/VA/USDA products only:
    • Loan has been active/in process within the last 30 days
    • Lock is expiring within seven days
    • For government loans, the note rate must be less than or equal to 3.75
    • For conventional loans, there are no rate requirements
    • Extension is automatic; no requests required
    • A maximum of two free extensions permitted

Note: Loans that have not satisfied refinance seasoning requirements are not eligible for free and automatic lock extensions.

3. Agency (FHA, VA, USDA, FHLMC and FNMA) Guidance
Updated October 23, 2020

Updated Agency Guidance

  • Expiration Date Extension for Temporary Appraisal Guidance Flexibilities, Age of Documentation, and Stocks, Stock Options, and Mutual Funds (now October 31, 2020)

Click here to review a detailed printable summary of new changes
Updated September 29, 2020

 

Credit Policy Announcement 20-07: Coronavirus Pandemic - Guidance
Updated October 23, 2020

4. Freedom Mortgage Product Updates

FHA and VA Product Updates and Reminders - Refinances
Updated June 29, 2020

  • For FHA Transactions:
    • Purchases and Cash Out Refinances require a minimum credit score of 600 for each borrower for both Standard and Jumbo transactions.
    • For Non Freedom-to-Freedom Rate/Term or Simple Refinances: Minimum risk score of 600 for each borrower for both Standard and Jumbo transactions
    • For Freedom-to-Freedom Rate/Term or Simple Refinances:
      • Minimum risk score of 550 for each borrower for both Standard and Jumbo transactions

      • LTV may not exceed 90% for Borrowers with credit scores below 580
    • For Streamline Refinances:
      • For Freedom-to-Freedom Non-Credit Qualifying transactions, as always, clients may elect a mortgage-only tri-merged credit report with or without scores. Please see the rate sheet for applicable LLPAs. Note: This guideline is unchanged but listed here for clarity.
      • For Freedom-to-Freedom Credit Qualifying transactions, a minimum 550 representative credit score is required for each borrower.
      • For all non Freedom-to-Freedom Non-Credit and Credit Qualifying Streamlines, a minimum 640 representative credit score for each borrower is required on both Standard and Jumbo transactions.
    • Minimum risk score remains at 640 for all Manufactured Housing scenarios.
       
  • For VA Transactions:
    • Purchases and Cash Out Refinances require a minimum credit score of 600 for each borrower for both Standard and Jumbo transactions.
    • For IRRRL Refinances:
      • For Freedom-to-Freedom transactions, a minimum 550 representative credit score is required for all borrowers.
      • For non Freedom-to-Freedom transactions, a minimum 600 representative credit score is required for all borrowers.
    • For Manufactured Housing:
      • A minimum 640 representative credit score remains for all borrowers for Manufactured Housing
         
  • For USDA Transactions:
    • The minimum credit score is being increased from 640 to 600 for full documentation and streamline transactions.

 

Final Closing Date Requirement for Rate-Locked Premier Jumbo

Loans Required to Close on or Before April 21, 2020
Due to changes in the market, Freedom Mortgage is establishing a final closing date requirement for the temporarily suspended Premier Jumbo product. Please review the following loan pipeline closing requirements.

  • All Premier Jumbo non-conforming loans that were locked on or before March 26th, 2020 must close on or before April 21st.
  • Loans not closed on or before April 21, 2020 must be placed in a “Withdrawn” status the following day, April 22, 2020.
  • Relocks, extensions, or exceptions will not be permitted.

FHA and VA Freedom First  Temporarily Suspended
As a result of the credit score increase, the FHA and VA Freedom First products will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Freedom Flex Temporarily Suspended
Freedom Mortgage’s Freedom Flex product offerings are temporarily suspended. Please review the following loan pipeline guidance.

  • Loans in the pipeline that are locked and/or floating with a status of “Conditional Approval” or greater will be honored
  • No lock extensions or relocks are permitted

Premier Jumbo Temporarily Suspended
Effective March 27, 2020
Recent market dynamics have resulted in a significant decline in investor demand and adverse pricing for Jumbo products. As a result, Freedom Mortgage’s Premier Jumbo product offerings are temporarily suspended. Please review the following loan pipeline guidance.

  • No new locks will be accepted
  • Locked pipeline loans will be honored; no lock extensions or relocks are permitted
  • Lock options are not available for floating (unlocked) pipeline loans

USDA Credit Analysis Revisions

The USDA has issued revised guidelines regarding HB 1-3555 Chapter 10 Credit Analysis. These revisions clarify credit qualifications, adverse credit and Federal debts. Please download the below Credit Policy to view these changes.

Freedom Solutions Temporarily Suspended

Due to market volatility, Freedom Mortgage is suspending rate locks for Freedom Solutions products. These changes are temporary and necessary to ensure responsible lending within the given environment.

5. Credit Updates

IRS Temporarily Suspends New Tax Transcript Requests
Suspension Effective March 26, 2020

  • The IRS has notified industry partners that it has temporarily suspended acceptance of new tax transcript requests effective March 26, 2020 as it adjusts to the impact of state and local shelter in place orders.
  • In the interim period, Freedom Mortgage Wholesale will continue to process new tax transcript requests with our vendor who will prepare to transmit the new orders to the IRS in the order they were received.  When the IRS suspension ends, this batch of new orders will be submitted.
  • Note: The ability to view the status of existing or completed transcript requests is not affected.

Credit Policy Update: Updated Tax Return Transcript Requirements

6. Operations Updates

Alternative Appraisal Ordering Process

Last Updated April 14, 2020

For Broker and Wholesale Correspondent Loans:
In conjunction with agency guidance on appraisal requirements, Freedom Mortgage Wholesale and the associated Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) have implemented processes to obtain an alternative appraisal product when the standard 1004 appraisal order cannot be fulfilled.

What’s New?
For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac appraisal orders, it is now permissible to order the 2055 Exterior-Only or 1004 Desktop-Only product immediately in areas where a “shelter-in-place” or other quarantine measure was not imposed (if eligible with the product). Previously, AMCs were required to request Freedom Mortgage alternative appraisal approval in areas where a “shelter-in-place” or other quarantine measure was not imposed.


If a “Shelter-in-Place” or Other Quarantine Measure is Imposed:
As detailed in
Freedom Mortgage’s Credit Policy 20-07 B, the agencies are permitting temporary flexibilities to their appraisal inspection and reporting requirements. As described in the policy, the agencies will accept an alternative to the traditional appraisal required in their respective Selling Guides, when an interior inspection is not feasible because of COVID-19 concerns.

Is Freedom Mortgage underwriter approval required to order the alternative appraisal?
No. It is permissible to order the alternative appraisal product immediately, if permitted by the product. For additional reference, please see the Credit Policy 20-07 B for all agency appraisal guidance. 

If a “Shelter-in-Place” or Other Quarantine Measure is Not Imposed:
As noted above, for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac orders, an alternative appraisal may be ordered immediately (if eligible). Otherwise, the 1004 Interior/Exterior appraisal must be ordered if required by the product.

What if the borrower or appraiser do not wish to complete the interior portion of the appraisal?
In the event that either the borrower or the appraiser do not wish to complete the interior portion of the appraisal, the applicable Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) have instructions to notify Freedom Mortgage that the order is “On Hold” and the following will occur:

  1. Freedom Mortgage will conduct an internal review to determine if an alternate appraisal product is permissible.
  2. If an alternate appraisal product is permitted, Freedom will notify the AMC to proceed with the alternate appraisal product.

If an alternate appraisal product is not permitted (i.e. cash-out transactions) Freedom Mortgage will notify the AMC to cancel the order and the loan will be declined for unable to determine value.

 

Current PRICE IT 30/45 Lock Option Experience

Attempting to use a 30/45 day lock option will result in the website displaying N/A for pricing.  This is not a technical issue or a system error.

 

Update: Rate Lock Required Prior to All Refinance Submissions

Effective Immediately for Broker and Wholesale Correspondent Pipeline and New Loan Submissions

What’s Changing?

To provide enhanced service levels and efficiency for refinances, we are implementing a temporary process change to require a rate-lock prior to all refinance loan submissions. While this change is effective immediately, please review the following details regarding the new system experience and related messaging that will be effective March 13, 2020.

 

Broker/Table Funded Loans

All refinance transactions require a rate lock prior to loan submission to Freedom Mortgage. Beginning March 13, 2020, clients will receive automatic system messages requiring a rate lock in response to any system requests (after registration) without a rate lock.

 

Wholesale Correspondent Loans

All refinance transactions require a rate lock prior to the upload of the initial submission package. Beginning March 13, 2020, clients will receive automatic system messages requiring a rate lock in response to any attempt to upload the initial submission package.

Important Operational Updates to Support Your Borrowers

  • New! Free and Automatic 30 Day Lock Extensions (see criteria below)
    Eligible for FNMA/FHLMC/FHA/VA/USDA products only:
    • Loan has been active/in process within the last 30 days

    • Lock is expiring within seven days

    • For government loans, the note rate must be less than or equal to 3.75

    • For conventional loans, there are no rate requirements

    • Extension is automatic; no requests required

    • A maximum of two free extensions permitted

    • Pre-Qualification Requests are not available

  • Reminder - 15/60 Day Lock Periods Available Only (30/45 Day Locks Temporarily Suspended)
    The 15-day lock option is available for relocks and extensions.
  • Reminder - Use the Daily Pipeline Dashboard on the Freedom Web Portal!
    Proactively monitor your loans more efficiently by using this new dashboard which displays what stage the loan is in. Easily create, customize, filter and extract reports with the simplicity of a point-and-click interactive interface!

Important Underwriting Guidance for Refinances

  • Locked Refinances Will Be Prioritized Over Unlocked/Floating Refinances
  • During this period of historically low mortgage rates, Freedom Mortgage is committed to helping you manage and exceed the expectations of every borrower. As always, all purchases are prioritized in underwriting. Effective immediately, refinances with a rate lock will be prioritized in underwriting over unlocked/floating refinances.
  • Tip! Please consider locking early so the refinance loan can be prioritized and has every opportunity to be decisioned within 30 days of receipt as required by Regulation B.

7. Alternative Appraisal Ordering

Introducing INvision YourHomeTM Class Valuation's Virtual Inspection Tool for Exterior Appraisal Products

Click Here to download the INvision YourHomeTM Guide for your Homeowner

Click Here to download the INvision YourHomeTM Appraiser Guide

Click Here to download the Temporary Order Job Aid

8. Approved Title Insurance Companies

9. Pricing / Lock Policy Updates

 

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