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Volume 28 - Number 21

October 9, 2017

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CFPB Gives Servicers More Flexibility to Deal With Foreclosure

The CFPB last week issued an interim final rule to give mortgage servicers more flexibility to communicate with homeowners at risk of foreclosure. “Today’s action should make it easier for mortgage borrowers to receive timely information from their mortgage servicers about available options for saving their home, even if they have submitted a request to cease communication,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. In 2016, the bureau made changes to its rules to require servicers to send modified early intervention notices to certain borrowers at risk of foreclosure who asked for an end to communication under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Under the FDCPA, borrowers can tell their servicers to stop contacting them, with some limited exceptions. Once such borrowers ...

Bureau Proposes More Certainty For Providing Periodic Statements

The CFPB issued a proposed rule last week to provide more certainty for mortgage servicers about when to provide periodic statements to consumers in connection with their bankruptcy cases. The consumer bureau said it is proposing amendments to certain mortgage servicing rules issued in 2016 under Regulation Z (which implements the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) relating to the timing for servicers to transition to providing modified or unmodified periodic statements and coupon books in connection with a borrower’s bankruptcy case. Among other things, the 2016 mortgage servicing final rule addresses Reg Z’s periodic statement and coupon book requirements when a person is a debtor in bankruptcy. It includes a single-billing-cycle exemption from the requirement to provide a periodic statement ...

Ocwen Financial Settles Mortgage-Related Disputes With 15 States

Ocwen Financial, the once high-flying non-bank mortgage servicer, has brought to 15 the number of states it has reached settlements with to resolve allegations its compliance with laws and regulations related to its mortgage servicing and lending activities was deficient. Last week, Ocwen settled with New Mexico, Virginia and West Virginia. Late last month, it entered into agreements with 10 other states: Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Nevada and Indiana previously either withdrew or allowed their respective cease-and-desist orders to expire. Per the settlements, Ocwen will not acquire any new residential mortgage servicing rights until April 30, 2018. Also, the nonbank will develop a plan of action and milestones regarding its transition ...

Meridian Title Fined $1.25 Million Over Allegations of Steering

The CFPB recently ordered Meridian Title Corp., a real estate settlement agent and title insurance agency in South Bend, IN, to pay up to $1.25 million in redress to consumers who were allegedly steered to a title insurer owned partly by several of Meridian’s executives without disclosing the affiliation. According to the bureau’s consent order, Meridian issues title-insurance policies, provides mortgage loan settlement servicers, and conducts loan closings in connection with residential real estate transactions. In its role as title policy issuing agent, the company procures policy orders from borrowers and lenders and issues title commitments, final policies and related endorsements. As a settlement agency, Meridian facilitates the real property and mortgage loan settlement services required to close the mortgage ...

CFPB Mortgage Rules Still Driving Some Small Banks from Market

A greater percentage of community banks are making mortgages this year than the year before, but the mortgage regulations from the CFPB continue to cause some smaller institutions to ditch that line of business, according to a new survey conducted by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the Federal Reserve System. Mortgage lending is still a prominent activity among the more than 600 community banks surveyed, with 1-4 family, fixed-rate lending identified by more than 80 percent of respondents as a product currently offered that would continue to be provided. “This is higher than the 76 percent reported last year and contrasts, to some extent, with the five percent of banks that last year planned to exit from or ...

Bureau Delivers Payday Lending Rule. Is This Cordray’s Swan Song?

The CFPB made a big splash last week – perhaps the last of Richard Cordray’s career at the helm – by issuing its long-awaited payday lending final rule. Many observers watching the director for signs he will resign to run for governor of Ohio have speculated he has been hanging on at the bureau until this rule was formally promulgated. Now that it has been issued, the Cordray departure watch will resume. Under the new rule, there’s a full-payment test. Lenders are required to determine whether the borrower can afford the loan payments and still meet basic living expenses and major financial obligations. For payday and auto title loans that are due in one lump sum, full payment means “being able to ...

Industry Groups Sue to Overturn Controversial Arbitration Rule

Organizations representing a variety of financial and business interests have jointly filed suit in a bid to deep-six the controversial arbitration rule issued earlier this year by the CFPB. The litigation was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with the American Bankers Association, the American Financial Services Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Bankers Association, and a coalition of chambers of commerce throughout Texas. The groups are challenging the constitutionality and legality of the CFPB’s rule. Their basic position is that the rule effectively precludes the use of arbitration agreements in disputes between consumers and providers of consumer financial products and services, and instead renders class-action litigation the ...

CFPB Pushed Examiners into the Field Before They Were Ready

A new report from the CFPB Office of Inspector General suggests the consumer bureau may have been in too much of a hurry to get more examiners into the field, compromising the quality of their training and their effectiveness. The CFPB’s Supervision Learning and Development (SL&D) unit has taken steps to enhance the Examiner Commissioning Program (ECP) since its implementation in October 2014, according to the report. However, there apparently were some pretty big holes left. For starters, the OIG found some examiners appeared to be pursuing parts of the examiner program before they were fully prepared, which limited their likelihood of success and affected employee morale. “Further, when examiners require multiple attempts to pass ECP components, they are not ...

Bureau Needs to Do a Better Job Explaining the Purpose of its CIDs

The CFPB needs to improve the way it informs recipients of its civil investigative demands (CIDs) of the purpose of its investigations, according to a recent report from the bureau’s Office of Inspector General. At issue are the CFPB’s internal guidelines for crafting notifications of purpose associated with CIDs. The guidance calls for broad statements of purpose, to allow for flexibility, the OIG noted. However, “The guidance does not expressly remind enforcement attorneys of the need for statements of purpose to be compliant with relevant case law on notifications of purpose, including any developments in such case law, or remind them to revisit the statement of purpose in a revised opening memorandum if the purposes of the investigation evolve.” The ...

Most Americans Support Bipartisan Commission for CFPB, Cato Finds

Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 63 percent, favor having a panel of Democrats and Republicans running the CFPB, not a single director, according to a recent survey on financial regulation by the libertarian Cato Institute. Surprisingly, support is stronger among Democrats (67 percent) than Republicans (64 percent) for such a commission. But there’s more of a split when it comes to the bureau’s finances. A slight majority (54 percent) indicated Congress should not set the CFPB’s budget and should only have limited oversight of the agency. “Given that only 7 percent of the country has confidence in Congress, these numbers are not surprising,” said Emily Ekins, a research fellow and director of polling at the Cato Institute and author of the ...

Consumer Complaints About Credit Reports Surged in Third Quarter

Consumer complaints to the CFPB about credit reports jumped in the third quarter, during which the massive Equifax data breach occurred, and year over year, according to a new analysis by Inside the CFPB. Gripes to the bureau leapt by 53.4 percent from the second quarter to the third, our analysis found, and skyrocketed 86.2 percent from year-ago levels. Criticisms about credit reports went from 12,830 in the first quarter of 2017 to 19,685 in the second, to 29,466 in the third. And it may get worse before it gets better, as the bad news about the Equifax hack makes its way further into the general population. Equifax-related complaints rose 131.2 percent during the period ending ... [With exclusive data]

Other News in Brief

Did DoJ Opine on Ocwen v. CFPB? No One’s Talking. Earlier this year, Ocwen Financial asked Judge Kenneth Marra of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division, to invite the U.S. attorney general to appear and participate in the company’s challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB.... Last Call for Public Comments on TRID ‘Black Hole’ Proposal. The industry has until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 10, 2017, to submit comments to the CFPB regarding its proposal to close the “black hole” associated with the bureau’s integrated disclosure rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act....

Poll

The year is almost 75% done. How is mortgage origination volume at your shop?

We will fund about the same as we did in 2016.
We will fund more than last year – by a little.
We will fund more than last year – by a lot.
We will fund less than last year – by a little.
We will fund less than last year – by a lot.

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