CFPB’s Kraninger backs housing agencies’ moratorium on foreclosures and evictions amid coronavirus concerns

The head of the federal agency charged with consumer financial protection on Wednesday called an announced moratorium on foreclosures and evictions of borrowers with federally backed mortgage loans a “timely and an important step in providing assurance to consumers” amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“I commend my colleagues at HUD and FHFA for being proactive on this issue and providing Americans with much needed peace of mind during this uncertain time,” said Kathleen Kraninger, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Wednesday announced it had directed government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with a GSE-backed single-family mortgage, the agency said.

Additionally, President Donald Trump announced a suspension through April of foreclosures and evictions related to mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, an arm of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that backs affordable home loans.

Kraninger, in her statement Wednesday, said the bureau and its federal and state partners earlier this month encouraged financial institutions to work with their customers affected by the coronavirus. “Consumers’ first stop in the face of hardship is with their creditors and their financial institutions, so our message was important for regulated entities to hear,” she said. “I will continue to work with our Federal and State partners, and seek feedback from stakeholders, to ensure we are providing appropriate flexibilities to benefit consumers during this time.”

Kraninger also pointed to the resources her agency has published on its website to help consumers understand issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19, including information on how to protect their finances and how to submit complaints. “Our team is ready to help consumers resolve issues with their financial services providers who submit a complaint through our consumer complaint system,” she said.