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February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Another Trump Executive Order Targets Regulatory Red Tape. Late last week, President Trump signed another executive order focused on government regulations – this one requiring every agency to establish a regulatory reform task force to eliminate red tape. ... ABA Offers CFPB Some Suggestions to Protect Shared Consumer Data. The American Bankers Association recently had some advice for the CFPB for protecting consumers’ financial information that is being voluntarily shared with third-party data aggregators....


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Begins Look at Alternative Data for ‘Credit Invisible’ Borrowers

The CFPB recently issued a request for information into ways to expand access to credit for consumers who are “credit invisible,” that is, those who don’t have enough credit history to generate a credit score. The bureau issued the RFI to drum up public feedback on “the benefits and risks of tapping alternative data sources such as bills for mobile phones and rent payments to make lending decisions about consumers whose lack of credit history might otherwise block opportunities.” According to the CFPB, there are 26 million Americans who are credit invisibles. “Another 19 million consumers have a credit history that has gone stale, or is insufficient to produce a credit score under most scoring models,” said the agency. The ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

How to Accurately Estimate Property Taxes in Line with TRID

In a competitive mortgage market with increasingly knowledgeable and demanding borrowers, it is essential that originators implement proper processes and controls to produce accurate property tax data collection, analysis and estimation, according to an online blog posting by Dominique Lalisse, an analyst with CoreLogic. One of the critical components of the new loan origination process that has emerged under the CFPB’s Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act integrated disclosure rule is property- tax amount estimation for residential properties, she pointed out. “The estimating process is conducted during the initial stages of origination in order to complete the required loan estimate (LE) provided to the borrower,” Lalisse said. “With increased scrutiny around the preparation of the LE, lenders must ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Ditching CFPB Mortgage Rules Would Hurt RMBS, Moody’s Warns

If federal policymakers do away with the CFPB’s mortgage rules without proper replacements, the credit quality of residential mortgage-backed securities could be compromised, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service said in a recent report. The analysts were providing a review of President Trump’s recent executive order related to the Dodd-Frank Act. “Any significant repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act’s mortgage-related provisions without effective alternatives would weaken residential RMBS credit quality because these provisions have strengthened the credit quality of mortgage originations, improved servicing practices and bolstered the credit integrity of RMBS structures,” the analysts said. The report is significant because it flies in the face of the traditional industry narrative that the bureau’s mortgage rules have been nothing but an onerous burden ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Judge Rules Harbour Portfolio Advisors Must Comply With CID

Harbour Portfolio Advisors of Dallas, one of the largest providers of seller-financed homes in the U.S., must comply with a civil investigative demand from the CFPB for documents and other information, according to a recent ruling by Judge Nancy Edmunds of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, in Detroit. The main issue here, according to the respondents in the case, is whether the bureau’s investigative authority extends to their selling, marketing and servicing of a financial product called an agreement for deed (AFD), otherwise known as a “contract for deed” or a “land installment contract.” An AFD is a written agreement to purchase residential property, whereby the seller agrees to deliver a deed to the purchaser ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Eyeballing Altisource Over Services Provided to Ocwen

It looks like the CFPB may be prepping an enforcement action against Altisource Portfolio Solutions over certain unspecified technology services provided to Ocwen, its largest customer, according to Altisource’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed in recent days. “[O]n Nov. 10, 2016, Altisource received a Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (NORA) letter from the CFPB indicating that the CFPB is considering a potential enforcement action against Altisource relating to an alleged violation of federal law that primarily concerns certain technology services provided to Ocwen,” the firm said. On Dec. 15, 2016, Altisource provided a written response to the NORA letter setting forth the legal, policy and factual reasons why it believes an enforcement action is ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Exams of Nonbank Mortgage Originators Jumped Last Year

The number of mortgage-related examinations by the CFPB declined in most areas tracked by Inside the CFPB last year – with one glaring exception: The bureau’s examinations of nonbank mortgage originators, which surged 69.2 percent, according to data provided to this newsletter under the Freedom of Information Act. Such supervisory activity on the part of the CFPB directed towards depository institutions, in comparison, fell 23.3 percent year over year, and plunged 66.7 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the fourth. That being said, depositories have borne the bulk of the brunt of the bureau’s mortgage origination scrutiny, with 21 exams in 2014 versus just 7 for nonbanks that year. In 2015, the story was the same, with banks getting [with exclusive data chart] ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

State National Bank Plaintiffs Want In on En Banc Rehearing of PHH

It’s not just the defenders of the CFPB that are itching to enter the legal fray between the bureau and PHH Corp. The plaintiffs in State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, et al. v. Lew have also filed a motion to intervene in the en banc proceeding. The plaintiffs – State National Bank of Big Spring, TX, the 60 Plus Association and the Competitive Enterprise Institute – had previously asked the federal district court for the District of Columbia to consolidate their 2012 lawsuit against the CFPB with that of PHH. However, they were recently denied. In their subsequent petition to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the plaintiffs noted, “More than 18 months ago, this court ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Democrats, Advocates Again Ask to Intervene in PHH v. CFPB

Each of the parties that were rebuffed recently in their attempts to intervene in the controversial legal dispute between PHH Corp. and the CFPB decided they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Each of them again filed a motion with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking permission to intervene in the case, contrary to prevailing appeals court rules. Earlier this month, Democrat attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia submitted a petition for rehearing en banc. Also, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, submitted a motion for rehearing en banc, as did a handful of public interest, consumer advocacy groups. All seek to inject themselves into the ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Appeals Court Gives CFPB a Win, Agrees to En Banc Rehearing

Could this be an omen of the decision to come? Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the CFPB’s request for an en banc rehearing in its controversial legal dispute, PHH Corp. v. CFPB. “Upon consideration of respondent’s [CFPB] petition for rehearing en banc, the briefs amici curiae in support of the petition, the response of the United States to the petition, the response of the petitioners [PHH Corp.] to the petition, the supplemental response of petitioners, and the vote in favor of the petition by a majority of judges eligible to participate, it is ordered the petition be granted,” 10 of the court’s 11 justices wrote in their ruling. One of ...


February 23, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private Mortgage Insurers Raise Concerns About Differences in QM Standards for GSEs and FHA

The U.S. Mortgage Insurers trade group is seeking to eliminate differences in standards for qualified mortgages. USMI detailed its policy priorities for 2017 late last week. While the priorities largely rehash previous points of emphasis that could increase business for private mortgage insurance companies, USMI said it has particular concerns about how some QM standards vary on mortgages delivered to the government-sponsored enterprises compared with FHA mortgages. As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established...


February 17, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Revised CHOICE Act Aims to Limit CFPB

A revised version of the Financial CHOICE Act could make changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that are so significant that other provisions in the bill aiming to loosen standards for qualified mortgages might not be necessary. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced HR 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, in September and the committee approved the bill largely on a party-line vote that month. The bill covered a wide ...


February 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Replacing DFA Mortgage Rules Without Replacing Them Threatens RMBS Credit Quality, Moody’s Says

Weighing in on President Trump’s recent executive order related to the Dodd-Frank Act, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service said ditching the major mortgage regulations promulgated under the law would be negative for residential MBS unless it’s done carefully. “Any significant repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act’s mortgage-related provisions without effective alternatives would weaken residential RMBS credit quality because these provisions have strengthened the credit quality of mortgage originations, improved servicing practices and bolstered the credit integrity of RMBS structures,” the analysts said in a new report issued earlier this week. Their report then detailed...


February 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

If President Trump Wants to Fire CFPB’s Cordray, He’s Going About it All Wrong, Law Professor Says

Whether President Trump is serious about replacing the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau remains to be seen. But his enthusiasm over the prospect may have gotten the better of his legal judgement and in fact perhaps laid the foundation for such a replacement to be reversed, one noted legal scholar suggested recently. “If Trump is planning on attempting to remove CFPB Director Richard Cordray ‘for cause,’ he’s hardly going about it in a smart way,” Adam Levitin, a law professor at Georgetown University, said in a recent online blog posting. “The Trump administration keeps generating more and more evidence that any for-cause removal would be purely pretextual, which strengthens Cordray’s hand were he to litigate the removal order (as he surely would).” To begin with, the reasons that are offered as justification for sacking Cordray – such as claims of employee discrimination at the bureau or the agency’s settlements with auto finance companies – refer...


February 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CHOICE Act 2.0 Would Disembowel CFPB, Hensarling Would Use Budget to Push Through

A key Republican leader in the House of Representatives is looking to push legislation that would effectively neuter critical aspects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that could lead to major changes in the agency’s oversight functions and capabilities, including mortgage rulemaking, supervision and enforcement. The congressman also indicated he might use a procedural technique related to the budget to ram his legislation past Democrat opponents in the Senate. The legislative vehicle of choice is...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Hensarling Threatens to Use Budget Reconciliation Process to Push Through CHOICE Act 2.0. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, raised some industry eyebrows last week when details of his new, more aggressive Financial CHOICE Act got leaked to the press, and he indicated he might use the budget reconciliation process to push the bill through Congress.... CFPB Brings Legal Action Against Debt Relief Law Firms, Attorneys. The CFPB recently sued Howard Law PC, Williamson Law Firm LLC, and Williamson & Howard LLP, as well as attorneys Vincent Howard and Lawrence Williamson, in federal court, accusing them of collaborating to charge illegal fees to consumers looking for debt relief....


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Consumers Still Complaining About Mortgage Servicing Practices

Mortgage borrowers still have plenty to complain to the CFPB about, especially on the mortgage servicing front, the latest monthly consumer complaint report from the bureau suggests. “The most common issues identified by consumers are problems when they are unable to pay (loan modification, collection, foreclosure),” which were cited by 49 percent, according to the CFPB, followed by issues making payments (loan servicing, payments, escrow accounts), identified by 33 percent. Other homeowners brought up problems having to do with applying for a loan (application, originator, mortgage broker), which was noted by 9 percent, followed by signing the agreement (settlement process and costs), which was highlighted by 5 percent, and receiving a credit offer (credit decision, underwriting [With Two Data Charts]....


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

John Doe Co. Action Another Test of CFPB’s Investigative Authority

The unusual recent case of an unidentified finance company filing suit to prevent the CFPB from disclosing its investigation of the firm, and from bringing any action against it unless and until the agency is restructured in line with the U.S. Constitution, is “yet another challenge to the CFPB’s vast investigative and enforcement authority,” according to two attorneys with the Hudson Cook law firm. “This is a new front in the battle against CFPB overreach,” the pair said in a client note. The stakes here can be high. “Companies facing a CFPB investigation often confront a difficult choice of complying with the investigative demand or fighting the CFPB’s authority,” said the attorneys. “But challenging the CFPB is an uphill battle ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

PHH Succeeds in Fending Off Intervenors in Dispute with CFPB

PHH Corp. won another round against some new antagonists in its dispute with the CFPB over alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the lender and refused to allow three separate efforts to intervene in the case. In a simple, single-page order, the three judges “ordered that the motions be denied.” The ruling affects an effort by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, to insert themselves in the case on behalf of the CFPB. The lawmakers had warned the appeals court that if their effort to intervene was denied, they would seek recourse from ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Latest RESPA Case Reveals New Things About CFPB Enforcement

An analysis by the Mortgage Bankers Association of the CFPB’s latest foray back into the enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act noted that some of the allegations in the consent orders would have been troubling under the enforcement regime of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, the orders also highlight several new points in the way the bureau is enforcing Section 8 of RESPA, the MBA said. “These include that the arrangements steer consumers, exclude other competitors, and were arrived at based on internal analyses of business and that click-throughs to lenders in joint marketing arrangements somehow amount to compensated referrals,” the trade group said. Further, the consent order addressing Planet Home Lending also clarifies that ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Brokers, Servicer Also Sanctioned By CFPB in Prospect RESPA Case

In addition to bringing an enforcement action against Prospect Mortgage for alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the CFPB also acted against ReMax Gold Coast and Keller Williams Mid-Willamette, two real estate brokers, and Planet Home Lending, a mortgage servicer – all of whom it accused of taking illegal kickbacks from the lender. Specifically, the CFPB accused both brokers of participating in “certain lead agreements and desk license agreements” with Prospect Mortgage, and of accepting payments from the lender in exchange for referrals in violation of RESPA and its implementing regulation, Regulation X. The bureau also said RGC’s agents “required hundreds of consumers wishing to place an offer on one of their properties offered for sale to pre-qualify ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Back in RESPA Enforcement Game With Standard Interpretation

The CFPB recently brought a more traditional interpretation to its enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act in an action against Prospect Mortgage, two real estate brokers and a mortgage servicer that focuses on alleged kickbacks for referrals of mortgage business. Among the lender’s alleged violations of RESPA was the use of lead agreements to pay brokers for referrals. According to the CFPB’s consent order, Prospect entered into such agreements with more than 200 different counterparties, most of which were real estate brokers. Under these arrangements, Prospect paid the counterparty for each lead it received. However, these counterparties went “well beyond simply transferring information about prospective buyers,” the CFPB alleged. They also referred prospective buyers to Prospect’s loan officers....


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Trump Still Fishing for Cordray Replacement, But is it Smart?

President Trump has been in office nearly a month and CFPB Director Richard Cordray is still on the job, despite some early developments that suggested his days as head of the bureau are numbered under the new administration. The most recent headhunting expedition reportedly involved Brian Brooks, currently general counsel at Fannie Mae, who reportedly has close ties to Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s nominee for Treasury secretary, CNBC reported last week. Up on Capitol Hill, Republicans such as House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NE, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, both recently called on Trump to sack Cordray. “The bureau’s mission to prohibit ‘abusive practices’ sounds great. But all that ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Lawmaker Seeks Clarity on CFPB Compliance With ‘Freeze’ Memo

Rep. Tom Graves, R-GA, chairman of the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee, recently wrote to CFPB Director Richard Cordray seeking official clarification regarding the agency’s compliance with a memorandum entitled, “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” The memo was sent by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, on behalf of President Donald Trump, to the heads of all executive departments and agencies late last month. The departments and agencies were generally directed to “send no regulation to the Office of the Federal Register until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the president … reviews and approves the regulation.” Further, regulations that have been sent to the OFR but not published in the Federal Register are to be immediately...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Trump Goes After Dodd-Frank Regulations, CFPB Impact Unclear

President Donald Trump has put the Dodd-Frank Act in his crosshairs, issuing an executive order earlier this month that directs the Treasury secretary to work with the members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to review the current regulatory regime and evaluate it according to a handful of “core principles” Trump believes should shape the regulation of the U.S. financial system. The principles include fostering informed consumer choices, preventing bailouts, promoting economic growth, tailoring regulations and ensuring regulatory accountability. Industry observers and Republicans and Democrats alike on Capitol Hill saw the order as the beginning of an attack on Dodd-Frank and perhaps even a shot across the bow of the CFPB, with negative implications for the agency’s mortgage lending and ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CHOICE Act 2.0 Would Retain, Restructure CFPB, Gut its Power

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, is looking to retain the CFPB, restructure key parts of the agency, and drastically limit its authority, Inside the CFPB has learned. According to a draft memorandum of the major changes to Hensarling’s Financial CHOICE Act, now dubbed CHOICE Act 2.0, the bureau “is to be retained and restructured as a civil law enforcement agency similar to the Federal Trade Commission, with additional restrictions on its authority,” as follows: Sole director, removable by the president at will. Rule-making authority limited to enumerated statutes. Unfair, deceptive acts or practices authority repealed in full. Supervision repealed. Consumer complaint database repealed.• Market monitoring authority repealed. Enforcement powers limited to cease-and-desist and civil investigative demand/subpoena powers....


February 10, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Industry Supports Trump Review of Dodd-Frank; Will There Be a Repeal of ATR, QM, QRM?

Industry observers and groups expressed support this week for President Trump’s move to put the Dodd-Frank Act under the microscope, with an eye toward scaling back its regulatory burden and possibly replacing at least parts of it with more pro-market reforms. Late last week, Trump signed an executive order that directs the Treasury secretary to consult with the heads of the agencies that comprise the Financial Stability Oversight Council, review the current regulatory structure for the U.S. financial system, and report back in 120 days. The order also lays...


February 9, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

PHH Prevails in Rejecting Intervenors in CFPB Dispute

Late last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with arguments made by PHH Corp. and blocked three separate efforts to intervene in the dispute the lender has with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a simple, single-page order, the three judges "ordered that the motions be denied." The ruling affects...


February 9, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Trump Exec Order Puts Dodd-Frank in Crosshairs; No Immediate Impact, Sets Table for Future Action

President Trump late last week signed an executive order laying out his “core principles” for regulating the U.S. financial system, and giving the head of the Treasury Department 120 days to detail how the current massive regulatory regime measures up. Trump’s core principles include fostering informed consumer choices, preventing bailouts, promoting economic growth, tailoring regulations and ensuring regulatory accountability. The broadly-worded order specifies, “Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect ... the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof.” The order was...


February 2, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Community Banks Call for Curbs on ‘Fair Lending Overreach,’ Seek Elimination of Disparate Impact from Fair Lending Laws

The Independent Community Bankers of America is urging the Trump administration to push for the elimination of disparate impact from federal fair lending laws to curb “fair lending overreach” and unwarranted enforcement actions against community banks. The ICBA is seeking an amendment to federal fair lending laws to bar certain disparate-impact causes of action. The amendment would clarify that disparate impact without a finding of an intent to discriminate is not a fair lending violation. “This would ensure that community banks that uniformly apply sound and neutral lending standards are not subjected to unnecessary regulatory enforcement actions or frivolous and abusive lawsuits,” said Lilly Thomas, ICBA senior vice president and senior regulatory counsel. Thomas said...


February 2, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

As Legal Action in PHH v. CFPB Continues, Agency Brings RESPA Action Against Prospect Mortgage

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week announced a Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act enforcement action against a nonbank lender that appears to reflect a traditional interpretation of the law’s anti-kickback provisions, while a flurry of new paperwork fell on its controversial legal battle with PHH Mortgage. The bureau this week brought a $3.5 million enforcement action against Prospect Mortgage, accusing the firm of illegal kickbacks for mortgage business referrals from real estate brokers, and in an unusual twist, a mortgage servicing operation. The CFPB said...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Republicans Again Introduce Legislation to Change CFPB Leadership Structure to a Board. Republican Sens. Deb Fischer (NE), Ron Johnson (WI) and John Barrasso (WY), recently introduced S. 105, legislation that would replace the CFPB’s single-director leadership structure with a bipartisan, five-member board. ... Cordray Assures CFPB Staff Re: PHH Dispute in October Email. In an Oct. 17, 2016, email to “all hands” at the CFPB, a copy of which was obtained by Inside the CFPB, the agency’s director, Richard Cordray, offered some words of reassurance in light of the decision by the three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals that found the bureau’s leadership structure was unconstitutional. ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

OIG Audits CFPB Use of Vendors to Analyze Fair Lending Compliance

The CFPB Office of Inspector General recently initiated an evaluation of the bureau’s use of vendors to support its analysis of fair lending compliance, the OIG indicated in its latest work plan. The OIG begins by noting, among other responsibilities, the CFPB is charged with providing oversight and enforcement of federal laws intended to ensure the fair, equitable and nondiscriminatory access to credit. But what may surprise many in the industry is to learn that the agency relies on external vendors to help fulfill this responsibility. “Our objective is to assess whether the CFPB effectively mitigates the risk associated with the use of vendors to support fair lending analysis, particularly with respect to potential conflicts of interest,” said the OIG ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Successor-in-Interest Confirmation Process a Challenge for Servicers

Putting in place a successor-in-interest confirmation process that complies with the CFPB’s updated mortgage servicing rules is going to be a big hurdle for mortgage servicers to overcome, according to attorneys with the Bradley law firm. “Arguably the most significant element of the recent amendments to the existing mortgage servicing regulatory framework by the CFPB is the new structure that has been laid out for dealing with potential and confirmed successors in interest,” the attorneys said in a recent online blog post. As they see it, fully complying with the new rule is going to require a significant amount of institutional exertion, no matter a servicer’s size. “One of the more time-intensive – and therefore costly – aspects of the rule is ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Tags Citi Subs $29 Million Over Mortgage Servicing Practices

The CFPB last week slapped CitiFinancial Servicing and CitiMortgage a relatively modest $28.8 million for allegedly keeping struggling borrowers in the dark about options available to save their homes. The bureau’s action had to do with the company’s origination and servicing of residential daily simple interest mortgages, especially as they relate to deferments. The CFPB accused CitiFinancial Servicing of misleading consumers about the effect of deferring payment due dates, charging consumers for credit insurance that should have been canceled, prematurely cancelling credit insurance for some borrowers, sending inaccurate consumer information to credit reporting companies, and failing to investigate consumer disputes. The bureau is requiring CitiMortgage to pay an estimated $17.0 million to compensate wronged consumers, and to pay a civil ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Treasury Sec. Nominee Criticizes CFPB Funding, Eyeballs Dodd-Frank

During his recent nomination hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Steve Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s choice to be the next Treasury secretary, took a passing shot at the current funding mechanism at the CFPB. “My biggest issue with the CFPB is that I don’t believe they should be funded with profits from the Federal Reserve,” Mnuchin said in response to a question from Sen. Tom Carper, D-DE. “They should be funded from an appropriations process.” Shortly thereafter, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, took issue with Mnuchin for “distinctly” stating that “he wanted to defund the CFPB, our sole watchdog looking out for the interests of students, servicemembers, seniors and other borrowers, and ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Trump May Wait for New AG Before He Sacks CFPB Director Cordray

It’s Monday and Richard Cordray is still the director of the CFPB, despite a whirlwind of sometimes conflicting news reports and rumors. Into last week, one continuing narrative (or trial balloon, perhaps) was that President Trump was on the verge of sacking Cordray “any day now.” But in the last few days, the latest line is that the Trump administration won’t fire Cordray until the Senate confirms Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, to be the next attorney general of the United States. The reason: the legal battle that would (presumably) ensue if he is fired will require a permanent AG to be in place and not just an acting top cop. Then again, the Trump administration seems to like to shoot ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Most CFPB Mortgage Rules Unaffected by Trump Pause

President Donald Trump recently imposed a moratorium on new and pending regulations, which is generally considered by industry experts and observers standard operating procedure for an incoming presidential administration. But the bad news for the mortgage industry is that most of the regulations from the CFPB have already been issued. Two possible exceptions are the bureau’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act final rule, which has been issued in final form but is not yet effective, as well as its TRID 2.0 clarifying rulemaking, which is expected in final form sometime this spring. In a memo issued by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, unspecified “executive departments and agencies” were generally directed to “send no regulation to the Office of the ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

John Doe Company Says CFPB Can’t Act Against it After PHH

In a case of potential significance for any company that finds itself the recipient of a civil investigative demand from the CFPB, a finance company has filed suit to prevent the bureau from disclosing its investigation of the firm and from taking any action against it unless and until the agency is restructured in line with the U.S. Constitution. “Plaintiff moves for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction prohibiting the CFPB and its director from using the executive, legislative and judicial powers delegated to the bureau to impose any restriction on plaintiffs’ liberty or otherwise take any action adverse to plaintiff unless and until the bureau is constitutionally structured,” said the company. The corporate entity, chartered in California with ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Democrats, Advocates File in Defense of CFPB Versus PHH

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, late last week submitted a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking to intervene on behalf of the CFPB in its action against PHH Corp. “Movants now seek to intervene in this litigation because recent events have made it clear that their interests in preserving the leadership structure they voted for [in enacting the Dodd-Frank Act] may no longer be adequately represented by the new administration,” Brown and Waters argued. “Indeed, absent intervention, it is possible that the panel’s decision will be insulated from review, thus nullifying movants’ votes to establish the CFPB as an independent agency and their ability to establish similar independent ...


January 30, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

PHH Disputes DOJ Arguments in Support of En Banc Rehearing

Late last week, PHH Corp. followed up on the opportunity afforded it by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and filed its legal response to the arguments the Department of Justice made late last year in defense of the CFPB’s petition for an en banc rehearing in its dispute with the mortgage lender. The DOJ’s brief “asserts support for rehearing en banc, but not for any of the reasons advanced by the CFPB,” PHH said. “Indeed, the brief never actually defends the CFPB’s structure as consistent with the Constitution. Nor does the brief claim anywhere that the panel erred in its choice of remedy, its decision to reach the separation-of-powers issue, or its discussion of ...


January 26, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Citi Subsidiaries Agree to $29 Million Settlement With CFPB Related to Mortgage Servicing Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week brought a relatively modest $28.8 million enforcement action against CitiFinancial Servicing and CitiMortgage to resolve allegations that struggling borrowers were kept in the dark about options available to save their homes. Under the terms of the consent order, CitiMortgage has to pay an estimated $17 million to compensate wronged consumers, along with a civil penalty of $3 million. The CFPB is also compelling CitiFinancial Services to refund approximately $4.4 million to consumers, and pay a civil penalty of $4.4 million. The bureau’s action related...


January 26, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Stakeholders Warn Suspension of FHA Price Cut May Disrupt the Market; MBA Issues ‘Coping’ Guidance

Industry groups are calling for better ways to minimize the market disruption that may come in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to suspend the recent 25-basis-point reduction of the FHA mortgage insurance premium. The suspension of the fee cut was announced Jan. 20 by Genger Charles, general deputy assistant secretary for housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, pending a review by the incoming administration. The pricing change was scheduled to take effect for loans with a closing or disbursement date of Jan. 27 or later. The moratorium has...


January 26, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Trump Imposes a Freeze on New Regulations, Immediate Effect on Mortgage Rules Unclear

The new administration of President Trump wasted no time in trying to fulfill his campaign promise to roll back the tide of regulation, issuing on the day of his inauguration a freeze on new and pending regulations from executive agencies of the U.S. government. What effect this will have on mortgage lending regulation is unclear, at this point, but it’s likely to be temporary, industry insiders agree. According to a memo issued by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, unspecified “executive departments and agencies” were...


January 19, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

PHH Corp. Convinces Appeals Court to Let It Respond to Government’s Brief in CFPB Dispute

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week gave PHH Corp. the green light to weigh in on the legal arguments the Justice Department made late last year in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s petition for an en banc rehearing of its dispute with the lender. The appeals court did so over the objections of the CFPB, and with 11 of the 12 judges in agreement and one not participating. PHH had argued that it ought to be able to respond to the second of two government arguments in favor of the review. Privately, some industry insiders thought...


January 19, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Trump Eyes Neugebauer to Replace CFPB’s Cordray, Legal Experts Divided as to Extent of His Authority

What once seemed like an idle speculation – the potential ouster of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – suddenly looks more likely. Last week, President-elect Donald Trump met with Randy Neugebauer, the former Texas Republican member of the House Financial Services Committee, who is under consideration as a replacement for Cordray, according to multiple press accounts. Neugebauer reportedly has not been offered the job, as of press time, nor have other candidates been considered for the position. “I heard...


January 16, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Trump Administration Staffs up Bureau ‘Landing Team.’ The transition team of the incoming administration of President-elect Trump recently announced the members of its CFPB “landing team,” one of whom is Paul Atkins, currently CEO of Patomak Global Partners, a consulting firm. Atkins is a former commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission.... House, Senate Re-tool for 115th Congress. Congressional leaders have updated their committee and subcommittee leadership assignments for a new Congress that promises to put more heat than ever on the CFPB, now that a Republican will occupy the White House for the first time since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act and the establishment of the bureau....


January 16, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB News in Brief

Bureau Mulling Possible Changes to HMDA Resubmission Guidelines. It’s been roughly one year since the CFPB issued a request for information regarding Home Mortgage Disclosure Act resubmission guidelines, and the bureau has yet to decide which way to proceed. The agency received 31 comments in response to the RFI, which was published Jan. 12, 2016, in the Federal Register. Commenters included HMDA reporters, industry trade groups, and consumer groups.... Revisions to Interagency Compliance Rating System Still Pending. The CFPB and the other members of the FFIEC continue to review public comments on their April 29, 2016, proposal to revise the existing Uniform Interagency Consumer Compliance Rating System to reflect regulatory, supervisory, technological, and market changes since the system was established....


January 16, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Mortgage Complaints Keep Falling as Market Continues to Heal

Empirical evidence of the mortgage market’s recovery is still piling up, with the latest quarterly consumer complaint data from the CFPB showing that gripes about home loans fell in most categories tracked, both on a quarterly basis and year over year, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside the CFPB. Consumer criticisms in the fourth quarter fell a solid 15.0 percent from the period ending Sept. 30, 2016. Finger pointing by borrowers fell on a YOY basis as well, but by a smaller 4.5 percent, the data show. With fewer and fewer borrowers underwater or in foreclosure these days, it should be no surprise that complaints about loan modification are down the most [With three exclusive data charts] ...


January 16, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

ABA Calls for CFPB Reform, Expanded Qualified Mortgage

The American Bankers Association sent a letter to the leaders of Congress recently, urging adoption of a bipartisan regulatory relief package that would provide unspecified reform of the CFPB and address an expanded definition of a qualified mortgage. When it comes to the bureau, the ABA urged sensible regulation by restoring “balance to the regulatory process, including Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reform,” and by focusing on promoting both economic growth and safety and soundness. On the QM point, the organization asked lawmakers to “reform mortgage regulations that have raised costs and prevented banks from flexibly serving their customers without enhancing consumer protections or safety and soundness. Most crucially, deeming loans held in portfolio as qualified mortgages will expand safe and ...


Poll

With rates higher this year, there has been talk of lenders liberalizing their underwriting standards in an effort to increase volume and make up for lower refis.

Do you think your shop will loosen standards over the coming three months?

Yes, but not by much.
Yes, by a lot.
Yes and, heck, we may even do non-QM lending.
No, not at all.
No and we may even tighten credit.

vote to see results