The guidance is consistent with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the agency said.
Any credit union responsible for managing a military member’s mortgage loan account, including collecting and crediting monthly payments, acts as a mortgage servicer and must follow the new guidance, which involves training staff regarding assistance available to military homeowners, the NCUA said.
Some of the new requirements for Permanent Change of Station orders guidance include:
- Providing accurate, clear, and readily understandable information about available assistance options for which homeowners may qualify;
- Offering a reasonable means for borrowers to obtain information on the status of their requests for assistance; and,
- Timely communicating the credit union’s decision about requests for assistance, including an explanation for a denial and what deficiencies homeowners need to address.
Homeowners with PCS orders remain accountable for their financial obligations, including their mortgages. If their homes have declined in value, they may have difficulty selling the property or finding a renter to cover the mortgage payment, the agency said.
As a result, military homeowners may need to continue making monthly payments after moving to a new duty station; however, credit unions must provide support for available assistance as detailed above.
“Every military homeowner with PCS orders deserves appropriate assistance and accurate advice during this period of heightened financial vulnerability,” NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said. “Credit unions have an excellent track record providing mortgage financing and servicing to our military personnel, but that only comes with commitment and training.”
Through the supervision and member complaint processes, the NCUA will determine whether a credit union has engaged in practices that violate the guidance. Credit unions should discuss the guidance with their examiners while developing or enhancing mortgage lending programs.
To view the Letter to Credit Unions on Mortgage Servicing Practices Impacting Military Homeowners go to http://go.usa.gov/wqq. To view the Interagency Guidance on Mortgage Servicing Practices Concerning Military Homeowners with Permanent Change of Station Orders go to http://go.usa.gov/wq3.