Md. Governor Aims To Oversee Servicers

In response to the impact of the subprime lending crisis on homeowners, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is working on two new initiatives putting servicers on notice that their response to the crisis will be carefully scrutinized.

Under these emergency regulations, servicers licensed under the Maryland Mortgage Lender Law will be required to provide loan-level information on their servicing portfolios to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation on a monthly basis, beginning March 20.

According to Nanci Weissgold, a partner with the Washington law firm K&L Gates, this requirement will impact the 130 or so servicers licensed in Maryland. "Servicers exempt from licensing in Maryland are spared this obligation," she said.

Presumably to work with licensed and exempt servicers, the governor also has called for an emergency work session with major mortgage servicers where "the governor will call for a public agreement with major servicers to set a standard for consistent, timely and sustainable loss mitigation services for Maryland homeowners."

The first report is due on March 20. Because the servicer reporting form or the instructions for completing the form is not available yet, the DLLR may provide a grace period for the first month. Subsequent reports will be due on the 20th of each month. The report must include information from the previous month including the number of the mortgage loans the licensee is servicing. It must also include how many of those loans are in default, including a breakdown of the number of days the loans are delinquent (i.e., 30, 60, 90 days) and information on loss mitigation activities, including the number of workout arrangements entered into, a description of the types of workout arrangements, including loan modifications and the percentage of each type of workout arrangement.

The servicer must list the proactive steps taken by the licensee to identify borrowers at a heightened risk of default including contacts with borrowers to assess their ability to repay, and the number of loans in foreclosure being serviced by the licensee, and information regarding adjustable-rate loans. Ms. Weissgold says there are no specifics on the type of information that will be required.

Any other information the commissioner deems necessary might also be requested, including geographical information regarding applicable mortgage loans.

Such information, other than a borrower's personal identifying information, may be made publicly available.

The regulations require default and loan modification information reported on mortgage loans which include any loan or extension of credit for personal, household or family purpose that is secured, in whole or in part, by an interest in owner-occupied real property located in Maryland.

A mortgage loan also includes a loan secured by residential real property in Maryland for a commercial purpose not in excess of $75,000.

"Neither the terms 'default' or 'loan modification' are defined under these regulations which may leave servicers guessing on their exact reporting obligations," she said.

According to Ms. Weissgold, the emergency regulations do not indicate how the DLLR will use this information. "It is fair to assume that servicers have been put on notice that the Maryland DLLR will be carefully scrutinizing completed servicer reporting forms." (c) 2008 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com/ http://www.sourcemedia.com/

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