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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 borrowers 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 or other accommodation covered by the CARES Act, the servicer should continue to report the loan as current on the credit report as long as the borrower makes any payments required by the plan (or if the borrower is not required to make any payments).

Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network™

Our Disaster Response Network (DRN) can be used to assist borrowers 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 borrower’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


COVID-19 Flexibilities: 6 Tips for Appraisers

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

Servicer Resources


Using Servicing Management Default Underwriter (SMDU)

Learn how to make real-time workout decisions with confidence and offer the best solution to struggling homeowners.


eLearning: Forbearance – What You Need to Know

Learn how to provide a forbearance including sample scripts to help borrowers understand their options.


Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

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


CARES Act

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