Bulletin 2020-069 USDA – Temporary COVID-19 Underwriting Guidance

USDA – Temporary COVID-19 Underwriting Guidance. Updated to extend effective date for temporary guidance.

USDA – Temporary COVID-19 Underwriting Guidance


  • Updated June 30 and August 31, 2020 to extend effective date for temporary guidance for obtaining verbal verifications of employment and appraisal reports.

 USDA – Temporary Guidance for Verbal Verifications of Employment and Interior Inspection Appraisals and impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency


USDA has issued temporary guidance for income verification and appraisals, repair inspections and in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency. The guidance is effective immediately for loans currently in pipeline and new submissions, and in effect until November 30, 2020


Verbal Verification of Employment


When a Verbal Verification of Employment (VVOE) is not obtainable within three business days of closing due to the temporary closure of a borrower’s employer, or other reason due to the COVID19 pandemic emergency, NewRez will permit the following:


  • a direct electronic verification of employment from a Third-Party Verification Vendor that provides immediate work status reporting, or
  • an email from the borrower’s employer as an alternative.


When an email is used to verify employment, it must:


  •  Be within three days of the Note date,
  • Be from the employer’s email address, such as name@company.com (no Gmail, yahoo, etc.),
  • Be from the borrower’s direct supervisor/manager or the employer’s Human Resources department,
  • Contain all the standard information required on a VVOE, including the name, title, and phone number of the person providing the verification, and
  • Identify the borrower’s name and current employment status.


NewRez will not accept a paystub or bank statements as alternative documentation to the VVOE.


For self-employed borrowers, NewRez is requiring verification that the borrower’s business remains operational and must be done within 10 business days of the Note date.


Any reduction or loss of income that is disclosed as result of the verification of employment or the borrower after the Condition Commitment (3555-18) has been issued and prior to closing must be evaluated for resubmission to GUS and USDA for updated approval.


Residential Appraisal Reports – Existing Dwelling


For Purchase and Non-Streamlined refinance transactions, when the appraiser is unable to complete an interior inspection due to COVID-19 concerns, an Exterior-Only Inspection Report (2055) will be accepted. In such cases, appraisers are not required to certify that the property meets HUD Handbook 4000.1 standards. Appraisal must be completed in accordance with USPAP and UAD standards.


This temporary appraisal report exception does not apply to new construction properties.


Repair Inspections – Existing Dwelling


When a repair completion certification is not available due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter signed by the borrower confirming that the repair work was completed is permitted. Evidence of completion, which may include photographs of the completed work, paid invoices to contractors indicating completion, certificate of occupancy certifications issued by inspectors, and other similar documentation is required.


Resource Links