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Big drop in forbearances credited to CARES Act-related plans expiring

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Mortgages entering coronavirus-related forbearance fell off a cliff between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, dropping 49 basis points, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

It's the largest decline since the pandemic started. Mortgages in forbearance plans represent 6.32% — an estimated 3.2 million — of all outstanding loans compared to 6.81% and 3.4 million the week prior. The share of forborne loans at independent mortgage bank servicers fell to 6.65% from 7.19%, while depositories decreased to 6.53% from 7.03% over that time frame. It marks the first time all three segments dipped below 7% since the week ending Apr. 12. However, the large decline wasn't necessarily encouraging for borrowers.

"With the forbearance program for federally backed loans under the CARES Act reaching the six-month mark, many borrowers saw their forbearance plans expire because they did not contact their servicer. Another reason for expirations was that borrower information needed to determine an appropriate loss mitigation option was not yet in place," Mike Fratantoni, the MBA's senior vice president and chief economist, said in a press release. "Borrowers with federally backed mortgages need to contact their servicer to obtain another six months of reprieve if they are still impacted by the pandemic."

Fratantoni noted about two-thirds of forbearance exits were borrowers who either remained current on payments, repaid forborne payments, or moved to a deferral plan.

For the 18thweek in a row, the forbearance share of conforming mortgages — those purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — fell, going to 4.03% from 4.39%. Ginnie Mae loans — Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service products — plummeted to 8.27% from 9.16%.

Private-label securities and portfolio loans in forbearance — products not addressed by the coronavirus relief act — went to 10.06% from 10.39%.

A 25.5% share of all forborne mortgages sit in the initial forbearance stage, 72.97% shifted to extended plans, with the remaining 1.53% are re-entering forbearance after a previous exit.

Forbearance requests as a percentage of servicing portfolio volume increased back to 0.11% from 0.08%, while call center volume as a percentage of portfolio volume went to 8.8% from 8.3%.

The MBA's sample for this week's survey includes a total of 49 servicers with 25 independent mortgage bankers and 22 depositories. The sample also included two subservicers. By unit count, the respondents represented about 74%, or 36.8 million, of outstanding first-lien mortgages.

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Loss mitigation Distressed CARES Act Mortgage Bankers Association Coronavirus Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Ginnie Mae