Forbearance rate takes biggest plunge in a month

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After mortgages going into coronavirus-related forbearance seemed to reach a standstill, the rate dove 15 basis points between Aug. 31 and Sept. 6, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Mortgages in forbearance plans now represent 7.01% — about 3.5 million — of all outstanding loans compared to 7.16% the week earlier. The share of forborne loans at independent mortgage bank servicers fell to 7.33% from 7.41%, while depositories dropped even more, going to 7.21% from 7.4% in that same time.

"The beginning of September brought another drop in the share of loans in forbearance, with declines in both GSE and Ginnie Mae forbearance shares," Mike Fratantoni, the MBA's senior vice president and chief economist, said in a press release. "However, at least a portion of the decline in the Ginnie Mae share was due to servicers buying delinquent loans out of pools and placing them on their portfolios. As a result of this transfer, the share of portfolio loans in forbearance increased.

The forbearance share of conforming mortgages — those purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — descended for the 14thstraight week to 4.65% from 4.8%. Ginnie Mae loans — Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service products — plummeted to 9.12% from 9.62%.

Private-label securities and portfolio loans — products not addressed by the coronavirus relief act — shot up, rising to 10.71% from 10.43%.

Forbearance requests as a percentage of servicing portfolio volume increased as well, growing to 011% from 0.09%, while call center volume as a percentage of portfolio volume jumped to 8.7% from 7.2%.

"Forbearance requests increased over the week, particularly for Ginnie Mae loans," Fratantoni continued. "With just under 1 million unemployment insurance claims still being filed every week, the lack of additional fiscal support for the unemployed could lead to even higher increases of those needing forbearance."

The MBA's sample for this week's survey includes a total of 49 servicers with 26 independent mortgage bankers and 21 depositories. The sample also included two subservicers. By unit count, the respondents represented about 74%, or 37.1 million, of outstanding first-lien mortgages.

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