Q: Do voluntary escrow accounts established at the request of the borrower trigger a requirement for the lender to escrow premiums for required flood insurance?
A: No. If escrow accounts for other purposes are established at the voluntary request of the borrower, the lender is not required to establish escrow accounts for flood insurance premiums. Examiners should review the loan policies of the lender and the underlying legal obligation between the parties to the loan to determine whether the accounts are, in fact, voluntary. For example, when a lender’s loan policies require borrowers to establish escrow accounts for other purposes and the contractual obligation permits the lender to establish escrow accounts for those other purposes, the lender will have the burden of demonstrating that an existing escrow was made pursuant to a voluntary request by the borrower.
– This Q&A was included in the “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance.” For ease of collection, this has been obtained from the FDIC’s Compliance Examination Manual – April 2016, which may be found here: https://fdic.gov/regulations/compliance/manual/5/V-6.1.pdf