Forbearance Period Shorter Than 180 Days. The CARES Act provides for an initial forbearance period of up to 180 days if a borrower requests a forbearance and affirms a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 emergency. In the joint statement, the CFPB and CSBS refer to the required affirmation as an attestation. The CFPB and CSBS advise that servicers can grant a forbearance term of less than 180 days at the borrower’s request or with the borrower’s consent. Servicers must default to the forbearance term requested by the borrower, not to exceed 180 days, if the servicer and borrower cannot agree on a term, or communication with the requesting borrower is not possible. If the borrower agrees to an initial forbearance term of less than 180 days, the servicer must extend the term unless the borrower agrees to no extension, and no further attestation of financial hardship may be required. The CFPB and CSBS also caution as follows when a servicer implements a forbearance term of less than 180 days with the borrower’s consent: “[T]he servicer’s board of directors and management must provide the additional resources necessary to continue forbearance as required under the CARES Act. In order to be responsive to borrowers and to ensure compliance with law, management should assess its ability to adequately perform under shorter, incremental forbearance periods, including any supplemental systems or human resources needed.” ...

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