Housing Counseling: New Certification Requirements
HUD's housing counseling program provides housing counseling to consumers seeking information about financing, maintaining, renting, or owning a home. The housing counseling statute was amended to improve the effectiveness of housing counseling in HUD programs by, among other things: establishing the Office of Housing Counseling and giving this office the authority over the establishment, coordination, and administration of all regulations, requirements, standards, and performance measures under programs and laws administered by HUD that relate to housing counseling; requiring that organizations providing housing counseling required under or in connection with HUD programs be approved to participate in the Housing Counseling Program (Housing Counseling Agencies, or HCAs) and have all individuals providing such housing counseling certified by HUD as competent to provide such services; prohibiting the distribution of housing counseling grant funds awarded to agencies participating in HUD's Housing Counseling Program that are found in violation of Federal election laws or that have employees found in violation of Federal election laws; and requiring the reimbursement to HUD of housing counseling grant funds that HUD finds were misused. HUD issued a proposed rule on September 13, 2013, to establish in regulation the statutory changes made to the housing counseling program and solicited public comment. This final rule revises HUD's Housing Counseling Program regulations to adopt the new requirements established in the housing counseling statute. Additionally, this rule amends HUD's general and other program regulations to clarify for grantees the requirement that housing counseling under Other HUD Programs must be provided by HCAs. HUD will issue a separate Federal Register notice to announce the start of the testing and certification process, and entities and individuals providing housing counseling will have 36 months to be approved or certified by the Office of Housing Counseling.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA): Direct Endorsement Program Timeframe for Conducting Pre-Endorsement Review
Through this document FHA advises that it is shifting the timeframe for FHA's review of loans prior to endorsement from pre- closing to post-closing. A lender applying for unconditional Direct Endorsement authority will therefore submit required loan files, required in accordance with HUD regulations, only after closing. After determining that the mortgage is acceptable and meets all FHA requirements, FHA will notify the lender that the loan has been endorsed.