June 24, 2021

Warren, Brown Urge CFPB to Protect Homeowners Exiting COVID-19 Related Forbearance

Black and Latino homeowners are more likely to be in forbearance, putting them at greater risk if servicers are unprepared

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Dave Uejio urging him to put in place better protections for the millions of homeowners who could unnecessarily lose their homes to foreclosure.

“More than 2.1 million homeowners remain in mortgage forbearance and will exit forbearance in the coming months,” the senators wrote. “Servicers may be overwhelmed by the large number of borrowers contacting them for assistance within a short window. As we saw during and after the 2008 financial crisis, when servicers’ systems are overwhelmed, individual homeowners suffer the consequences.”

The senators urged the CFPB to “establish a uniform servicing standard that provides protections for all homeowners exiting a COVID-19 related forbearance to ensure consistent, fair treatment and equitable outcomes for all homeowners” and to “ensure that no homeowner exits forbearance into foreclosure.” 

Under the proposed rule, servicers would not be permitted to file for or pursue a foreclosure prior to December 31, 2021, unless they have made a minimum number of attempts to contact the homeowner regarding a post-forbearance option.

Senator Warren has consistently advocated for homeowners throughout the COVID-19 crisis: 

  • In April, 2021, Senators Warren reintroduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, legislation that would help bring down costs for renters and buyers, level the playing field so working families everywhere can find a decent place to live at a decent price, reduce exclusionary zoning laws, and take a step towards addressing the effects of decades of housing discrimination on communities of color.
  • In March, 2021, Senator Warren questioned CFPB Director Nominee Rohit Chopra who agreed to use tools available at the CFPB to ensure financial institutions comply with anti-discrimination laws, or are held accountable when they do not. 
  • In November, 2020, Senators Warren and Sherrod Brown, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Mark Warner (D-Va.), pressed  then-Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria to ensure access for low-income borrowers and borrowers of color.
  • In September, 2020, Senators Warren, Brown, Van Hollen, Menendez, and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) sent a letter to former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger regarding the agency’s failure to use its authority to ensure that borrowers are aware of the mortgage relief options they are legally entitled to during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • In June, 2020, Senators Warren, Brown, and Menendez urged Senate leadership to include additional protections to help homeowners survive the COVID-19 crises