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Volume 28 - Number 11

May 22, 2017

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Hensarling Slams Cordray for Appearing at Democrat Event

CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in an unusual move, attended the weekly caucus meeting of the Democrats in the House of Representatives last week. That prompted his chief GOP antagonist, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, to say Cordray’s appearance shows that Democrats use the CFPB as a political war machine. “Everyone knows Mr. Cordray will likely leave the CFPB soon and pursue political office in Ohio again, but his attendance at what amounts to nothing more than a Democrat pep rally shows just how partisan and politicized he and his supposed ‘independent’ agency truly are,” the Republican said. According to Hensarling, liberal elites in Washington, DC, want to keep the bureau unaccountable to the American people so ...

CHOICE Act Changes to CFPB Would Help Cut Federal Deficit

The Congressional Budget Office last week issued a detailed analysis of the fiscal aspects of H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, estimating the legislation would reduce federal deficits by $24.1 billion over the 2017-2027 timeframe. “Direct spending would be reduced by $30.1 billion, and revenues would be reduced by $5.9 billion,” the budget office said. Most of the budgetary savings would come from eliminating what’s known as the Orderly Liquidation Fund and from changing how the CFPB is funded. The budget office also estimates that, over the 2017-2027 period, and “assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts,” implementing the bill would cost $1.8 billion. The CHOICE Act was introduced earlier this year by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, ...

Law Professors Slam CHOICE Act, Defend ‘Critical’ Role of CFPB

As a vote by the full House of Representatives nears on H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, dozens of law professors from around the country wrote congressional leadership to oppose provisions of the bill that would gut the CFPB. In their letter, the legal academics took particular issue with Title VII of the legislation, which would subject the CFPB to the regular congressional appropriations process and eliminate the bureau’s rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement authority (including that over unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, or UDAAP). “Title VII of H.R. 10 seeks to kill the CFPB by a thousand cuts,” the professors said. “Historically, Congress has accorded all federal bank regulators independence to insulate their decisions from industry and political ...

FSR Calls for White House to Change CFPB Structure, Rules

The Financial Services Roundtable advised the Trump administration that the structure of the CFPB needs to be changed, and that the agency should revise a handful of its key mortgage rulemakings, most notably the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule and the Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure rule, or TRID. The FSR’s call came in a detailed response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13777, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” issued earlier this year, directing the Treasury Department to conduct an assessment of financial regulations to evaluate how they align with the White House’s core principles of financial regulation. In terms of the bureau itself, the industry organization said the governance structure ...

Servicers Ask for Guidance on Successor-in-Interest Issues

The Consumer Mortgage Coalition and the Mortgage Servicers Working Group asked the CFPB for guidance on how to comply with bankruptcy-related provisions when a confirmed successor-in-interest, who is not legally a borrower, has filed a bankruptcy petition. Under Regulations X and Z, these successors will be considered borrowers. Their inquiry came in response to the bureau’s request for comment on its plan to assess its 2013 mortgage servicing rules. One question the industry representatives had is whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to the mortgage servicing rule’s early intervention requirements. They note that Section 1024.39(c) of Reg X provides some exemption from early intervention written notices if any borrower on the loan sends an FDCPA cease-communication notice “with ...

CFPB Opens Another Can of RESPA Worms in Investigating Zillow

The CFPB has stepped back into the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act enforcement ring by probing Zillow over issues related to co-marketing. The probe of the company’s co-marketing initiative was disclosed to the public earlier this month by Zillow CFO Kathleen Philips during the company’s first quarter earnings conference call with investors. “Over the past two years, the CFPB has been reviewing our program for compliance with RESPA,” Philips said. “Recently, the CFPB requested additional information and documents from us as part of their evaluation, which we are working with them on,” she added. “We believe our co-marketing program has, and continues to, allow agents and lenders to comply with the law while using our product.” This could be another ...

CFPB Did Not Fully Secure Sensitive Enforcement Data, OIG Finds

The CFPB had numerous lapses in protecting sensitive, confidential enforcement information, according to a new report from the agency’s Office of Inspector General. The objective of the OIG’s evaluation was to determine whether the bureau’s Office of Enforcement has effective controls to manage and safeguard access to its confidential investigative information (CII). “We found that the Office of Enforcement’s sensitive information has not always been restricted to Office of Enforcement employees who needed access to that information to perform their assigned duties,” the OIG said. The watchdog said it found that 113 unique users had access to at least one electronic application when it was no longer relevant to the performance of their assigned duties. “These users continued to have ...

CFPB, DOJ Oppose State AG Settlement Funds Proposal

The CFPB and the Department of Justice have separately filed motions opposing a proposal from a handful of state attorneys general to take $15.14 million of unused settlement funds from the bureau’s $50 million enforcement action against Sprint and instead redirect it to two other purposes. The AGs of Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas and Vermont recently proposed taking $14.0 million of the unused money from the U.S. Treasury, which could receive it under the terms of the redress plan, and instead giving it to the National Association of Attorneys General to establish a National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute Center for Consumer Protection. The AGs also want to repurpose the remaining unspent amount, $1.14 million, and give it to a ...

Other Compliance News: HUD Wants Industry Input on Regulatory Burden

In response to President Trump’s recent executive orders on regulatory reform, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it is looking for industry feedback on any of its existing regulations that might be outdated, ineffective or excessively burdensome. As required by Executive Order 13777, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” HUD said it is in the process of establishing a regulatory task force charged with identifying agency regulations that should be repealed, replaced or modified. As part of that review, the agency is inviting the public to weigh in on the adequacy and relevancy of its current regulatory framework. “HUD’s goal in conducting the review is to make the department’s regulations more effective and less burdensome in achieving HUD’s ...

Other Compliance News: Financial Freedom to Pay $89M to Settle Reverse Mortgage Charges

Financial Freedom, an Austin, TX-based servicer, agreed to an $89 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, and FHA servicing requirements in connection with its participation in FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, or “reverse mortgage,” program. The Justice Department alleged that Financial Freedom sought to obtain insurance payments for interest from FHA “despite failing to properly disclose on the insurance claim forms it filed with the agency that the mortgagee was not eligible for such interest payments because it had failed to meet various deadlines relating to appraisal of the property, submission of claims to the Department of Housing and Urban ...

Other News in Brief

Treasury Eyeballing CFPB Rules as Part of Regulatory Relief Review. The Treasury Department is focused on a wide range of regulatory requirements where simple communication and clarification of the regulatory intent is warranted, such as the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule, the integrated disclosure rule and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule, Craig Phillips, counselor to the Treasury secretary, said during a symposium in New York City last week, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.... Dodd-Frank Changes to be Discussed. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, is scheduled to discuss his Dodd-Frank Act alternative, H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, Tuesday of this week at an event at the American Enterprise Institute....

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