One of the consequences of the foreclosure crisis is that mortgage companies were told they needed to be more proactive in contacting and helping delinquent borrowers. However, this comes into conflict with another mandate from the administration: reducing the number of calls that consumers receive on their cellphones. With the two mandates in conflict, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has reached out to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and asked for an exemption for mortgage companies.
This exemption would allow mortgage companies to use an auto-dialing system to contact borrowers on their cellphones. Currently, the FCC rules prohibit any company from using a robo-dialer to call a cellphone without the explicit permission of the consumer. In its request, the FHFA pointed out that this rule makes it difficult for some mortgage companies to contact homeowners.
FHFA General Counsel Alfred Pollard wrote in the request to the FCC that in order to help borrowers avoid foreclosure, mortgage servicers have to be able to contact them directly. The earlier and easier it is for lenders to reach homeowners who are behind on payments, the faster they can come up with a plan to help the borrower avoid foreclosure and keep their home.
If approved, the exemption would cover all mortgage servicers, not just those who handle Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae-backed loans. However, a number of consumer advocacy groups have spoken out against the exemption, saying that it would create a large loophole and leave consumers open to unwanted calls.
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