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Volume 25 - Number 21

October 13, 2014

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CFPB Proposes Updates to TILA/RESPA Final Rule

The good news is the CFPB is proposing updates to its integrated disclosure final rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The bad news is the CFPB is proposing updates to its integrated disclosure final rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The final rule – commonly known as the “TRID” – has been high on the mortgage lending industry’s list of concerns ever since it came out nearly a year ago. And with every rule issued, there are calls from one segment of the industry or another for various additions, deletions or modifications. As happy as industry representatives are when the CFPB makes such a concession, they ...

Bureau Proposes No-Action Letter Policy to Foster Emerging Products

The CFPB is proposing to implement a limited “no-action letter” policy to reduce the regulatory uncertainty that may exist for certain emerging products or services which stand to benefit consumers. This proposed policy is suited for new financial products or services where there may be uncertainty about how they fit in the existing statutes and regulations – assuming such products or services hold the promise for significant consumer benefit, according to CFPB Financial Analyst Dan Quan. The proposed policy would allow bureau staff to send a no-action letter to a company informing it that the CFPB isn’t planning to recommend initiation of supervisory or enforcement action in connection with a firm’s offering or provision of a new product. Also, an NAL ...

CFPB Brings $3.1M Action Against M&T Over Checking Accounts

A routine supervisory examination ultimately led the CFPB to bring a $3.1 million enforcement action against M&T Bank because of its allegedly deceptive advertising practices for checking accounts. The bureau accused M&T Bank, based in Buffalo, NY, of luring in consumers with promises of “no strings attached” free checking, without disclosing key eligibility requirements. When consumers failed to meet the requirements, M&T automatically switched them to checking accounts with fees, the CFPB alleged. Under the terms of the consent order, announced last week, the bank will provide $2.9 million in refunds to approximately 59,000 consumers (roughly $49.15 each), and will pay a $200,000 penalty for the alleged violations. According to the consent order, during the period between Jan. 1, 2009, ...

MSAs at Issue in Action Brought Against Michigan Title Company

Marketing services agreements (MSAs) continue to be a flashpoint for conflict between title companies and the CFPB under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Late last month, the bureau ordered Lighthouse Title, a Michigan title insurance agency, to pay $200,000 for entering into what the CFPB characterized as illegal quid pro quo referral agreements, in violation of RESPA. According to the bureau, Lighthouse Title entered into MSAs with various companies, such as real estate brokers, with the understanding that the companies would refer mortgage closing and title insurance business to Lighthouse. “The agreements made it appear as if the payments would be based on marketing services the companies were supposed to provide to Lighthouse,” the CFPB said. “However, Lighthouse actually ...

Legal Experts Vary in Opinion of Bureau’s UDAAP Action on Flagstar

The CFPB’s recent, high-profile $35 million enforcement action against Flagstar Bank over its mortgage servicing practices got the attention not only of the industry but also many legal professionals serving it. One industry legal expert, speaking off the record, said it was heavy handed, at best, for the CFPB to use its authority over unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) to assert legal claims over activities that took place prior to its servicing rule. “It somewhat makes a mockery of the whole rulemaking process by effectively implementing regulations before the regulations were even proposed, much less finalized,” he said. “It also reinforces the fear of making loans to any borrower who presents any risk of default because there ...

Disparate Impact Returns to SCOTUS; Will CFPB Weigh In?

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to accept Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the latest legal dispute over disparate impact to reach it corridors. However, a ruling by the SCOTUS could extend beyond the mortgage space. The TDHCA distributes the tax credits associated with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program throughout Texas. The ICP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works to place low-income, mostly African-American Section 8 tenants in Dallas’s more affluent and largely white suburban neighborhoods. The ICP brought suit against TDHCA back in 2008, accusing the housing agency of disproportionately authorizing LIHTCs for affordable housing developments in largely minority ...

Consumer Complaints Again Fall By Double Digits in Third Quarter

After a rough first quarter in which consumer complaints filed with the CFPB rose by 29.1 percent (mostly because of credit reports), the second and the third quarters have seen double-digit declines, 14.8 percent in 2Q14 and 14.6 percent in 3Q14, according to a new analysis by Inside the CFPB. Of the nine categories of gripes tracked, seven showed declines, all by double digits, with the money transfer sector leading the drop-off, down 28.4 percent from the second quarter. Debt collection criticisms slid 20.5 percent, followed by mortgages (17.6 percent), bank accounts (15.4 percent), student loans (14.5 percent), credit cards (12.1 percent) and credit reports (10.0 percent). The two rough spots were grievances about consumer loans, which were up 28.4 percent [with two exclusive data charts] ...

CFPB Eyeballing Checking Account Screening, Special Credit Reports

The CFPB is scrutinizing the way financial institutions screen potential new checking account customers, including the specialty credit reports they use to evaluate them, the agency revealed at a public forum last week. “The bureau has three areas of concern. First, we are concerned about the information accuracy of these reports,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Second, we are concerned about people’s ability to access these reports and dispute any incorrect information they may find. Third, we are concerned about the ways in which these reports are being used.” The CFPB identified some possible steps to improve checking account screening policies and practices, such as increasing the accuracy of data furnished to and reported by consumer reporting agencies. The bureau also expressed interest in identifying how ...

Realtors’ Group Goes to Bat for ‘Mini-Corr’ Lending Channels

The National Association of Realtors recently urged the CFPB not to unnecessarily restrict consumer access to credit by effectively eliminating the so-called “mini correspondent” lending channel. In a letter to the CFPB, the NAR said it supports efforts to prevent evasion of the bureau’s ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rules. However, it also supports access and choice in credit provider channels, including affiliated business arrangements and joint ventures properly established under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. “These arrangements are most often entered into to provide greater service to consumers,” said the NAR. “Capital constraints of small but growing businesses often govern the type of arrangement that is entered into. Mini correspondents are one such arrangement.” The trade group ...

Dodd-Frank Rules Uniquely Affecting Manufactured Housing

The CFPB issued a report earlier this month finding, more often than not, that owners of manufactured homes pay higher interest rates for their loans than borrowers whose homes were built onsite. “In 2012, about 68 percent of all manufactured-housing purchase loans were considered ‘higher-priced mortgage loans,’ compared with only 3 percent of site-built home loans,” the CFPB said. Two out of three manufactured-home owners eligible for mortgages finance with more expensive personal property (“chattel”) loans instead. That’s good and bad. On the one hand, chattel loans have lower origination costs and quick closing timelines, as the bureau noted. But on the other hand, they also have “significantly fewer consumer protections than mortgage loans,” the bureau said. For example, only ...

CFPB Could Enhance Its Small Biz Review Process, OIG Report Finds

The CFPB generally complies with portions of the Dodd-Frank Act requiring it to gauge the impact of any of its proposed rules on small business, but some of its interim policies and procedures should be enhanced, according to a new report from the agency’s Office of Inspector General. At issue is Section 1100G of Dodd-Frank, which requires the CFPB to assess the impact of any proposed rule on the cost of credit for small business entities through regulatory flexibility analyses, and to convene panels to seek direct input from small business entities prior to issuing certain rules. “Overall, we found that the CFPB complied with the provisions of section 1100G of the Dodd-Frank Act as well as the two interim policies and procedures issued by the CFPB’s Division of Research, Markets and Regulations,” the report ...

CFPB Updates Mortgage Rules Readiness Guide, Including TRID

In another bid to help mortgage bankers better assess their compliance capabilities, the CFPB has updated its mortgage rules readiness guide to include the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act integrated mortgage disclosures, otherwise known as “TRID.” Version 3.0 of the guide, dated September 2014, summarizes the mortgage rules finalized by the CFPB as of Aug. 1, 2014, but it is not a substitute for the rules. “Only the rules and their official interpretations can provide complete and definitive information regarding their requirements,” the bureau reminds. Each rule description includes a hyperlink with additional information, including Small Entity Compliance Guides, which may make the rule easier to digest. The guide consists of four parts: a summary of the rules ...

Worth Noting/People on the Move/Looking Ahead

Bureau Updates Its Reverse Mortgages Guide With Words of Caution. The CFPB has updated its reverse mortgage guide to reflect some recent, potentially important changes to such loan products. The bureau is urging caution, noting such mortgages can be risky and expensive. “It’s a complicated type of loan that works best for homeowners who carefully consider all of their options,” the agency said. One of the highlighted changes limits the amount of money a homeowner can draw from the loan in the first year. “Borrowers often get into trouble by taking a lump-sum payment early on,” said the CFPB. “It may feel great to get a big payment up front, but borrowers can outlive this money – which spells financial trouble for borrowers who live longer lives.” ...

Poll

What is it going to take to convince lenders to loosen the credit box (i.e., remove underwriting overlays)?

The recent rep and warranty changes announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency should go a long way in protecting lenders from future buybacks and help expand mortgage credit.
There won’t be any significant elimination of underwriting overlays until the government stops seeking huge mortgage-related penalties and settlements from lenders.
There shouldn’t be any expansion of the mortgage credit box since looser underwriting is what caused the recent mortgage crisis.

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