Protections coming for homeowners

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New rules that cover mortgage servicing aren’t dramatic, but they should help certain consumers, experts say. In August 2016, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized rules that focus on foreclosure protections and delinquencies.

“These changes are more at the margins,” says David Reiss, who is a law professor at Brooklyn Law School. “It’s looking at normal situations that occur and adding protections for consumers.”

The new rules, which are expected to take effect by 2018, would prevent dual tracking. Dual tracking is when foreclosure proceedings start while a homeowner who is current on his/her mortgage awaits a decision about a request to work with the loan servicer to avoid foreclosure. (This request is known as loss mitigation.)

In addition, borrowers who are current on their mortgage since a prior loss-mitigation application can avoid foreclosure by having their application reviewed again if they have unexpected financial difficulties. Loan servicers also have to notify borrowers when a loss-mitigation application is complete. Finally, if a borrower is in foreclosure and his/her loan is transferred to another servicer, he/she won’t have to restart the loss-mitigation application process with the new servicer.

Unfortunately, the new rules don’t cover borrowers who never became current on their mortgage, says Diane Cipollone, who is a consultant with National Fair Housing Alliance.