Federal Agencies

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Federal Agencies.

September 15, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Ginnie Mae to Take Action Against Illicit Refinancing of VA Mortgages

Rapid, aggressive refinancing of VA loans has made a comeback with some issuers using strategies to mask the practice and avoid possible penalties, including expulsion from the Ginnie Mae program, according to a top agency official. Responding to concerns raised by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, Michael Bright, acting Ginnie Mae president and chief operations officer, said a joint Ginnie Mae/VA lender-abuse task force is analyzing monthly data and developing additional policy measures to deal with the problem. Bright confirmed the resurgence of inappropriate streamline refinancing in Ginnie securitization pools in recent weeks and has promised to crack down on the questionable practice. The problem surfaced last year when Ginnie Mae noticed unusually fast prepayment speeds in its mortgage-backed securities, particularly MBS backed by VA loans. Ginnie found that certain lenders and ...


September 14, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Nonbanks Continue Market Takeover in 2017, Could Pose Risk to GSEs, FHA and Ginnie

The growing reliance on nonbanks could pose a risk to the government housing agencies, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute’s Housing Policy Center. Just four years ago, banks originated 70 percent of new mortgages, the researchers noted. But in 2017 nonbanks are originating 60 percent of all new mortgages and 76 percent of loans destined to be securitized by Ginnie Mae. UI called...


September 14, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House GOP Begins Second Prong in Approach To Reg Relief, Considers TRID Improvement Act

When House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, first introduced the second version of his Financial CHOICE Act, he acknowledged the comprehensive regulatory relief package might not make it through the Senate in one piece. He said he had a “short game” and a “long game,” suggesting he was open to small, incremental change while still pushing forward with more comprehensive change over the long haul. Last week, the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee executed a little of that “short game” strategy, holding a hearing to consider a handful of legislative proposals to foster a more efficient federal financial regulatory regime, including two mortgage-related bills. The potentially more significant bill is...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief/Industry News in Brief

State Regulators Start Work on a Next-Generation Technology Platform. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors has initiated what it characterizes as a major redesign of the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS), which is the core technology platform state bank regulators utilize. According to the CSBS, the redesign will enable the regulators to transform the licensing and supervision of non-bank financial institutions, including financial technology companies, or so-called fintechs. “Technology and data are powerful tools that can create sweeping benefits throughout the financial regulatory system,” said Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions Commissioner John Ducrest. “And that vision drives our efforts with the next-generation NMLS. We are committed to nothing less than modernized state regulation for a modernized financial services industry.” The ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Takes Action Against Lead Aggregator Over Alleged Steering

Last week, the CFPB brought an enforcement action against Zero Parallel, an online lead aggregator based in Glendale, CA, for allegedly steering consumers toward lenders who offered illegal or unlicensed loans that were void in the consumer’s state. According to the bureau, consumers who applied for loans through Zero Parallel’s network had no control over which lenders received their applications. “Zero Parallel regularly sold leads for consumers located in states where the resulting loan was void,” said the consumer regulator. The CFPB ordered Zero Parallel to end its alleged illegal conduct and pay a $100,000 penalty. Also, under the terms of the consent order, Zero Parallel is required to undertake reasonable efforts to ensure that loan applications it sells do ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Federal District Court Sanctions CFPB for Deposition Conduct

The CFPB suffered another legal blow recently when a federal district court judge in Atlanta granted defendants’ requests for sanctions against the bureau stemming from its behavior related to the defendants’ depositions of agency witnesses. The action stems from an enforcement action the CFPB brought in April 2015 against a number of individuals and entities in connection with what the bureau alleged was a massive debt-collection scheme. The issue prompting the judge’s crackdown was the CFPB's reluctance and apparent refusal to be deposed by some of the defendants. First, it objected to such depositions. Then when more defendants filed similar notices, the bureau responded with motions for protective orders. Then when depositions finally occurred, a CFPB witness used “memory aids” ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

PHH, Realogy, Others Settle RESPA Case for $17 Million

A complaint filed in late 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in an attempt to initiate a class-action case against PHH Corp. and Realogy Holdings Corp. and some of their subsidiaries and affiliates has been brought to an end, after the defendants agreed to pay $17 million to resolve the dispute. PHH, Realogy and the other industry participants were accused of violating Section 8(a) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act by allegedly “paying and receiving kickbacks, referral fees, or other things of value in connection with the referral of title insurance and other settlement services to Title Resource Group and its affiliates.” They also were accused of running PHH Home Loans as an improper ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Smaller Players Support Proposal to Close TRID’s ‘Black Hole’

The biggest mortgage lenders and the national industry trade groups have yet to formally submit comments to the CFPB regarding the bureau’s proposal that would close the so-called black hole associated with the agency’s integrated disclosure rule. But smaller players aren’t waiting around for the big dogs to weigh in and are expressing their support for the agency’s proposed solution. Monica Montgomery, head of mortgage compliance for Dubuque Bank & Trust, said she fully supports removing the four-business-day limit for providing closing disclosures for purposes of resetting tolerances and determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. “There are many circumstances where a closing is delayed beyond the control of the creditor after a CD had been ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Congress Starts to Consider TRID Legislation, Other Changes to CFPB

Members of Congress wasted no time getting to work on the CFPB when they returned to the nation’s capital last week after the Labor Day holiday. A subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing to consider a few legislative proposals to foster a more efficient federal financial regulatory regime, including a soon-to-be introduced TRID Improvement Act. Slated to be introduced by Rep. French Hill, R-AR, the TRID Improvement Act of 2017 would amend the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act to expand the period in which a creditor is allowed to cure a good-faith violation on a loan estimate or closing disclosure from 60 to 210 days after consummation. The bill also ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Three Key Rulemakings at Stake With Cordray’s Tenure in Flux

The CFPB’s final rule banning arbitration agreements, as well as pending rulemakings on payday and small-dollar lending and on debt collection practices, may live or die on the decision of Director Richard Cordray to exit his term before it expires in July. That prospect could be motivating him to linger in his current gig as opposed to resigning right now to enter the race for Ohio’s governorship, according to an analysis of the current lay of the land at the bureau from a former senior official at the agency. Former CFPB Assistant Director and Deputy General Counsel Quyen Truong, now a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in DC, noted that it is still unclear whether Republicans in the ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB’s Cordray Begins Laying Foundation for Run for OH Governor

CFPB Director Richard Cordray is still on the job, but did take a step toward throwing his hat into the ring for the race for the Ohio governor’s mansion, delivering remarks at the Labor Day Picnic of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO. Cordray, sounding like a political candidate, according to those in attendance, briefly extolled all the work the bureau has done on behalf of consumers, including the mortgage reforms that have forced so much change upon lenders. The director noted, “So far, our enforcement work has led to about $12 billion in relief to 30 million people who were cheated or mistreated, and who deserve to get things fixed and get their money back.” His remarks also harkened back to his ...


September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Eyeballing Equifax, Forced Arbitration an Issue

An official from the CFPB confirmed late last week the agency is looking into the massive data breach at Equifax, widely seen as the most significant, and potentially most damaging, so far in the age of the Internet. A spokesman for the bureau told this newsletter, “The CFPB has authority over the consumer reporting industry, including supervisory and enforcement authority. The CFPB is authorized to take enforcement action against institutions engaged in unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, or that otherwise violate federal consumer financial laws. We are looking into the data breach and Equifax’s response, but cannot comment further at this time.” However, it’s not just the occurrence of the breach that bothers the consumer regulator. As part ...


September 8, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Once Banks Got LCR Compliant, They Opted For More GSE MBS, Fed Researchers Find

Partly to comply with liquidity cover ratio requirements imposed in the wake of the financial crisis, U.S. banks ramped up their holdings of high-quality liquid assets. But once they got compliant, many of them shifted their asset allocations more to agency MBS and U.S. Treasuries, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve. This could have implications for the U.S. central bank’s massive balance sheet over the long haul, they added. As of Jan. 1, 2015, large banks in the U.S. have needed...


September 7, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Some Banks Expected to Benefit From Proposed Delay In Tougher Capital Rule for Mortgage Servicing Assets

A proposal by federal regulators to delay tougher capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets will have a “marginally positive impact” on banks subject to the proposal, according to banking regulators. Near the end of August, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. issued a proposed rule that would extend the current treatment on mortgage servicing rights and related assets, delaying tougher standards established by Basel III. The proposal would apply to banks that aren’t subject to the “advanced approaches” capital rules – generally banks with less than $250 billion in total assets. “For small banking organizations that have significant amounts of MSAs ... the proposal could...


September 7, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

PHH Corp., Realogy, Others Agree to $17 Million Settlement to Resolve RESPA Class Action Litigation

PHH Corp. and Realogy Holdings Corp. and some of their subsidiaries and affiliates recently agreed to a $17 million settlement to bring to an end a putative class-action lawsuit over allegedly deceptive and collusive practices in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. At issue were allegations of arranging kickbacks for unlawful referrals of title services. The plaintiffs in the case alleged...


September 1, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

News Briefs

Redwood Trust is preparing to issue its first non-agency mortgage-backed security backed by “expanded prime” mortgages. In the second quarter, Redwood acquired approximately $240.0 million of such mortgages, which have somewhat looser underwriting standards than what’s typically seen in the jumbo MBS market. Clayton Holdings reviewed 417 mortgages for the planned issuance, according to documents filed Aug. 30 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The total unpaid principal balance of the loans wasn’t disclosed. The deal will include...


September 1, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Alternative to Traditional Mortgage Proposed

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is due for an overhaul, according to a proposal published by the Federal Reserve. Members of the Fed’s research staff suggest that banks should offer a type of mortgage with no downpayment requirements that essentially automatically refinances. Wayne Passmore, senior adviser in the Fed’s division of research and statistics, and Alexander von Hafften, a senior research assistant in the division, authored a working paper published by the Fed last week. Passmore and von Hafften cited...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief: Cordray Takes to the NYT to Defend CFPB Arbitration Rule

Cordray Takes to the NYT to Defend CFPB Arbitration Rule. CFPB Director Richard Cordray took to the opinion page of The New York Times last week to make a public plea in support of the CFPB’s controversial arbitration rule. Cordray cited claims by opponents of the rule that plaintiffs make out better financially by acting individually instead of acting collectively in a group lawsuit. “This claim is not supported by facts or common sense. Our study contained revealing data on the results of group lawsuits and individual actions,” he said. “We found that group lawsuits get more money back to more people. In five years of group lawsuits, we tallied an average of $220 million paid to 6.8 million consumers ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Sues Aequitas Capital Over Its Support of Corinthian Colleges

The CFPB recently filed a complaint and a proposed settlement against what’s left of Aequitas Capital Management and related entities, all of which are based in Lake Oswego, OR, accusing the firms of aiding the allegedly predatory lending behavior of Corinthian Colleges, now defunct. The complaint against Aequitas and its affiliates was filed in U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, Portland Division. “The bureau brings this action against Aequitas for its abusive acts and practices in connection with private loans made to students at Corinthian Colleges, which were funded or purchased by Aequitas,” the CFPB said. “By funding these private loans, Aequitas enabled Corinthian to present a façade of compliance with federal laws requiring that a certain portion of a ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Servicers Can Continue to Expect Vigorous Regulation, Analysts Say

There may be plenty of uncertainty about the direction of the CFPB these days, given that Republicans are calling the shots on Capitol Hill and at the White House, plus the fact that Richard Cordray’s days as director of the bureau are numbered, regardless of when he actually ends up departing. Still, mortgage servicers can continue to expect robust supervision and regulation – and enforcement –if not from the bureau, then from another federal regulator, as well the states, and maybe all of the above, according to Steven Frie and Mark Shannon, top servicer analysts at S&P Global Ratings. “It’s been pretty common knowledge that the CFPB has been very active in regards to regulating the mortgage servicing industry,” Frie said ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Servicer Compliance Coming at the Expense of Borrower Satisfaction

In the age of the CFPB, mortgage servicers have been walking a tightrope, balancing regulatory compliance with borrower satisfaction, sometimes getting stung by an enforcement action. This year, they are falling behind the curve in terms of their customers, according to the results of the 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicing Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power. “CFPB servicing regulations now in place are resulting in intense scrutiny as well as major fines for some institutions during the first waves of enforcement,” the data, analytics and advisory services provider said. “With other state and federal agencies, such as the Department of Justice and state attorneys generals, also taking actions against mortgage servicers for servicing practices, many experts expect intense regulatory scrutiny to ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Watchdog Group FOIAs CFPB About Clayton Homes’ Lending Practices

Campaign for Accountability, a self-styled watchdog organization, recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CFPB to find out what actions the agency has taken to hold Clayton Homes and its mortgage lending subsidiary, Vanderbilt Mortgage, accountable for alleged predatory lending practices. Clayton Homes, based in Maryville, TN, is one of the nation’s largest mobile home sellers, and is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Said Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Daniel Stevens: “Clayton Homes appears to have been preying on some of our most vulnerable citizens. As the company expands its footprint to reach more Americans, it is imperative to know whether the government found any wrongdoing and, if so, what actions were taken.” The watchdog group...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Warns Seniors Against Using a HECM to Bridge Gap in Income

The CFPB just made life a little harder for lenders that provide Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, otherwise known as reverse mortgages. Last week, the bureau put out a report warning older borrowers about taking out such a loan in order to bridge the gap in income while delaying Social Security benefits until a later age. “A reverse mortgage loan can help some older homeowners meet financial needs, but can also jeopardize their retirement if not used carefully,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “For consumers whose main asset is their home, taking out a reverse mortgage to delay Social Security claiming may risk their financial security because the cost of the loan will likely be more than the benefit they gain.” ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

FFIEC Issues HMDA Examiner Transaction Testing Guidelines

The CFPB and the other members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council last week issued new examiner transaction testing guidelines for all financial institutions that report under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The rules will apply to the examination of HMDA data collected starting in 2018 and reported beginning in 2019. The guidelines eliminate the file-error resubmission threshold under which a financial institution would have to correct and resubmit its entire Loan Application Register (LAR) if the total number of sample files with at least one error reached or exceeded a certain threshold, the bureau said. They also establish allowable tolerances for certain data fields for the purpose of counting errors toward the field-error resubmission threshold.Additionally, they provide ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

TRID Black Hole Liability Still a Big Concern for Mortgage Lenders

Legal liability in the context of the so-called black hole in the CFPB’s TRID integrated disclosure rule remains a source of much anxiety for mortgage lenders, according to experts such as Rod Alba, senior vice president of mortgage markets, financial management and public policy for the American Bankers Association. “For lenders in general, [the biggest concern] is simply the liability that results from allowing the transaction to be negotiated until the last minute,” he said last week in an interview. “We don’t like telling the consumer, ‘You’re now three business days from closing; we can no longer negotiate and you must go through on this deal.’ That’s not pleasant.” Alba continued: “The consumer may say, ‘Well, no, that chimney has ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Cuts Community Lenders Some HMDA Slack for HELOCs

With speculation mounting that CFPB Director Richard Cordray could be out the door as early as the Labor Day weekend, the CFPB late last week announced it is amending the 2015 updates to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule. The bureau has temporarily changed reporting requirements for banks and credit unions that issue home-equity lines of credit, and clarified the information that financial institutions are required to collect and report about their mortgage lending. Under the rules that are scheduled to take effect January 2018, financial institutions would have been required under HMDA to report HELOCs if they made 100 such loans in each of the last two years. The final rule issued this past Thursday increases that threshold to ...


August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Is This Richard Cordray’s Last Week at the Helm of the CFPB?

The political calendar in Ohio may compel CFPB Director Richard Cordray to resign shortly – perhaps even this week – so that he can announce his candidacy for governor at the Sept. 4 Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic. According to CFPB watcher Alan Kaplinsky, a practice leader in the Philadelphia office of the Ballard Spahr law firm, Cordray is scheduled to deliver remarks at the event. “Assuming the speculation that Director Cordray plans to run for Ohio governor is accurate, that event seemed to be an ideal venue for him to announce his candidacy,” the attorney said in a recent blog post. The thing is, Cordray would have to resign from the bureau before declaring, according to Kaplinsky. That bolsters the argument ...


August 25, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Signs are Bullish for Mortgage-Investing REITs – Thanks, In Part, to the Federal Reserve and Its Balance Sheet Policy

Real estate investment trusts that invest in MBS and other mortgage-related assets are having a field day this year, raising billions of dollars in new capital while seeing their share prices increase across the board. Moreover, according to an analysis by Inside MBS & ABS, several top-ranked REITs are now trading much closer to their 52-week highs than their lows while maintaining hefty dividend payments to their shareholders. Annaly Capital Management, for example, the largest holder of agency MBS at $75.2 billion, is...


August 24, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

OCC Spells Out Requirements for High-LTV Lending Programs in Communities Targeted for Revitalization

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this week issued guidance to banks regarding originations of loans with loan-to-value ratios of 100 percent or more in distressed communities marked for revitalization. The guidance is in support of banks’ attempt to revive neighborhoods that have suffered an economic downturn through programs that offer high-LTV financing for home purchases or for purchases and rehabilitation of residential properties. Specifically, the guidance provides...


August 24, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Glad CFPB Will Close TRID’s ‘Black Hole,’ Removing Lender Liability and the Resulting Anxiety

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun receiving public comments in response to its proposal to close the so-called black hole in its integrated disclosure rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Interviews this week found that top experts dealing with the issue are pleased the bureau is addressing the problem, which is among the most significant issues related to the new disclosure regime. “Although the ‘black hole’ is highly technical, the impacts on lenders are significant,” noted former CFPB official Benjamin Olson, now a partner with the BuckleySandler law firm in Washington, DC. He noted...


August 24, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Regulators Delay Tough MSR Capital Rules for Regional Banks; NCUA May Allow Credit Unions to Buy Servicing

Federal banking regulators announced this week that capital requirements set to take effect in January for all but the biggest banks would be suspended under a proposed rule. The proposal applies to Basel III capital requirements for mortgage servicing rights, among other items. The regulators said they are developing a proposal that would simplify capital rules to reduce regulatory burden, particularly for community banks. The proposed suspension generally applies to banks with less than $250 billion in total assets. Thomas Hoenig, vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said...


August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Private MI Trade Group Urges CFPB To Establish Single QM Rule for All

The private mortgage insurance industry has called for harmonized qualified-mortgage standards to discourage potential arbitrage that might adversely affect consumers. In a comment letter, the U.S. Mortgage Insurers urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to assess whether the various QM standards established under the Dodd-Frank Act have created arbitrage opportunities to the detriment of consumers. The CFPB is about to begin a reevaluation of its ability-to-repay rule/QM rule. QM standards are different for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks than for FHA, VA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USMI said analysis should focus on the different treatment of points and fees and maximum borrower debt-to-income ratio among the various QM standards. The CFPB can address the calculation of points and fees under its ATR/QM rule by ...


August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Industry Experts Favor Unified GSE, FHA/VA Servicing Policies

Simplifying and aligning the default servicing policies of the conventional conforming and the government-backed mortgage markets would better serve the mortgage industry and homeowners, according to industry experts. In a recent discussion on how regulatory burden and high servicing costs might impede lending, members of the Mortgage Servicing Collaborative agreed on the need for streamlined and harmonized federal, state and agency policies and rules on servicing. Increased regulatory requirements have caused mortgage-servicing costs to skyrocket in recent years, experts said. Even though the quality of servicing has improved, the new regulations are complex and costly, they noted. Multiple pressures placed upon servicers have suppressed mortgage lending, making it harder for borrowers with tainted credit to obtain a mortgage, according to the ...


August 18, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Chase, Wells Call for Changes to ATR Rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s planned review of the ability-to-repay rule prompted comment letters from trade groups representing various industry participants along with individual comment letters from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The big banks were critical of certain aspects of the ATR rule and requested changes that could increase originations of non-agency mortgages. “The ATR/qualified mortgage rule is not working as desired,” said Michael Weinbach, a ...


August 18, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

FOMC Minutes Shed More Light on Upcoming Efforts to Unwind Balance Sheet, Normalize Rates

The Federal Reserve this week released the minutes of the July meeting of its Open Market Committee, providing more detail and color regarding the central bank’s deliberations on shrinking its enormous holdings of agency MBS and the future path and timing of interest rate adjustments. FOMC members started their portfolio deliberations by discussing the appropriate time to start reducing the Fed’s securities holdings, a plan that had been formally announced in June. “Participants generally agreed that, in light of their current assessment of economic conditions and the outlook, it was appropriate to signal that implementation of the program likely would begin relatively soon, absent significant adverse developments in the economy or in financial markets,” according to the minutes. Many members of the committee noted...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

As the Financial Crisis Fades, Are Servicers Poised for New Era?

Ten years after the financial crisis, the residential mortgage servicing industry could be on “the edge of glory,” according to a new report from S&P Global Ratings. “With the regulatory heat they’ve received in the past decade, servicers are working to ensure they’re compliant with all relevant servicing regulations,” said the S&P analysts. “Even if some deficiencies occur, as might happen when servicing thousands or millions of accounts, quickly correcting them and preventing recurrence is key because reputational damage alone can be quite substantial and long-lasting.” In recent years, mortgage servicers have been slapped with fines totaling tens of millions of dollars, and face an increasingly tougher regulatory and supervisory regime. “A positive outcome of the settlements and new regulations ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Industry Supports CFPB HELOC Proposal, Says More Needed

Mortgage lending representatives told the CFPB they support its proposal to temporarily increase the institutional and transactional coverage thresholds for open-end lines of credit under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. However, more needs to be done along those lines, they said in comment letters filed at the end of last month. Under the CFPB’s HMDA rules scheduled to take effect in January 2018, financial institutions are generally required to report HELOCs if they made 100 such loans in each of the past two years. Under the proposal released early last month, the bureau would increase that threshold to 500 loans through calendar years 2018 and 2019 in order to give the agency the time to consider whether to make a ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

TRID Related Deadlines for Amendments, Comments Now Set

The CFPB’s so-called TRID 2.0 amendments, and the related proposal to deal with the “black hole” problem – the limited ability of a lender to reset tolerances with a closing disclosure – were published in the Aug. 11, 2017, Federal Register. That act establishes Oct. 10, 2017, as the effective date of the TRID 2.0 amendments, as well as the comment deadline for the black hole proposal. The amendments, which were finalized in July, essentially codify the CFPB’s informal guidance on various issues and make additional clarifications and technical amendments. They also create tolerances for the total of payments, adjust a partial exemption mainly affecting housing finance agencies and nonprofits, and extend coverage of the Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

House GOP Pushes Again for Contempt Charges Against Cordray

Prior to lawmakers heading out of the nation’s capital for their annual summer recess, Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee released a second staff report that could lay the groundwork for contempt-of-Congress charges to be brought against CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The GOP legal analysis asserts that Cordray has failed to satisfy subpoenas the committee issued for records related to the bureau’s controversial rule banning mandatory arbitration in most consumer financial services contracts. The rule does not address the use of such provisions in residential mortgages, which were banned by Congress in 2004. “Staff believes there is ample basis to proceed against Director Cordray for contempt of Congress due to his default” on his obligations under the congressional subpoenas ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Mortgage Insurers Urge CFPB to Review QM Regulatory Arbitrage

The trade group for the mortgage insurance industry, U.S. Mortgage Insurers, suggested that as the CFPB reviews its ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule, it assess whether lenders have engaged in regulatory arbitrage at the expense of borrowers. The organization advised the bureau to pay particular attention to the different treatment among the QM standards of the calculation of points and fees and the maximum borrower debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. In terms of the former, USMI noted, “The various QM standards provide for different treatment of points and fees – a difference that drives lender behavior without a concomitant consumer benefit.” For instance, consumers with downpayments of less than 20 percent of the purchase price may have an option to finance with a conventional product ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Settlement Agents Say ATR Rule Discriminates Against AfBAs

Mortgage settlement service company representatives claim the CFPB’s ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule discriminates against affiliated business arrangements (AfBAs) when it comes to the calculation of points and fees, compromising borrower choice of service provider, and urged the bureau to revise the rule accordingly. “The QM rule discriminates against AfBAs by requiring a mortgage lender with affiliates to count the affiliate charges against the 3 percent cap on fees and points,” the Real Estate Services Providers Council said in a comment letter to the CFPB regarding its pending ATR/QM assessment. For example, if a mortgage lender has an affiliate title or insurance company involved in the transaction, it must count the title agency or insurance agency charges toward the fees and points ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Lender Groups Urge CFPB to Expand Scope of ATR/QM Review

National trade groups representing mortgage lenders of all sizes recently advised the CFPB to broaden the scope of its pending assessment of its ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule. The Mortgage Bankers Association, for instance, provided the bureau with multiple concerns it believes must be addressed, such as making sure the rule better serves millennials and immigrants who are entering the housing market. Other concerns include “the limitations of the 43 percent debt-to-income requirement that does not include compensating factors,” and whether the underwriting guides of the government-sponsored enterprises and government programs could serve as alternatives to Appendix Q. The Consumer Mortgage Coalition recommended that the agency begin its review process by analyzing the products and product structures that contributed to the financial ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CSBS Says ATR Hurts Community Banks, Pushes Portfolio Loan QM

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors told the CFPB that the ability-to-repay /qualified mortgage rule has negatively affected financial institutions that, because of their proximity to the local community, rely on more flexible underwriting and determination of ability to repay. “State regulators continue to support the principles that drive the ATR/QM rule, but have several recommendations to better tailor the rule commensurate to the community bank business model,” the CSBS said in its comment letter on the bureau’s proposal to begin assessing the rule. Citing Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, the regulators noted that since 2010, 1,173 community banks have either left the residential mortgage lending space or extensively restricted those business lines. Rural Lending is Suffering “Although this decline ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Its Investigation Now Complete, CFPB Tells Zillow: Settle or Else

The CFPB has told Zillow, the online real estate database firm, to settle with the agency over alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or face an enforcement action, the company revealed last week in its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Based on correspondence from the CFPB in August 2017, we understand that it has concluded its investigation,” the firm said in its SEC disclosure. “The CFPB has invited us to discuss a possible settlement and indicated that it intends to pursue further action if those discussions do not result in a settlement.” At issue are certain co-marketing activities, which Zillow defended. “We continue to believe that our acts and practices are lawful and that ...


August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Trump DOJ Expected to Enter Ocwen’s Dispute With CFPB

Given the Trump administration’s expressed interest in scaling back federal regulation and giving corporate interests greater freedom to conduct their business as they see fit, political and legal observers expect the Department of Justice to respond in the affirmative to a recent judicial invitation to formally opine on Ocwen Financial’s dispute with the CFPB. The nonbank mortgage servicer recently asked Judge Kenneth Marra with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to invite the U.S. attorney general to appear and to participate in the company’s challenge to the constitutionality of the bureau. “There are at least two clear reasons to invite the attorney general to participate here,” said the company. “First, inviting the views of the attorney ...


August 11, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Stress Test Shows GSEs Would Need $100B in Bad Times

In the event of a severe global recession, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could need a bailout of up to $99.6 billion, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s annual stress test report released this week. The test of severely-adverse scenarios, required by the Dodd-Frank Act for companies with consolidated assets of more than $10 billion, is based on Fannie and Freddie portfolios as of Dec. 31, 2016. The bailout would be needed on an incremental basis and would also depend on the treatment of the GSEs’ tax-deferred assets. Under this hypothetical economic scenario, elevated stress in corporate financial and commercial real estate markets include situations where...


August 11, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Trends

USMI Seeks One QM Rule for All

The private mortgage insurance industry is calling for a level playing field between the government-sponsored enterprises and FHA and VA as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau begins its assessment of the ability-to-repay rule. In comments to the CFPB, U.S. Mortgage Insurers urged the bureau to determine whether potential arbitrage in QM standards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and those for FHA and VA have had any negative effect on consumers ...


August 10, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Ocwen Wins One as Judge Invites DOJ to Weigh in On Nonbank’s Challenge to Constitutionality of CFPB

Ocwen Financial caught a potentially big break last week when the judge overseeing its dispute with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau granted its request to invite the Department of Justice to weigh in. “There are at least two clear reasons to invite the Attorney General to participate here,” the company told Judge Kenneth Marra, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. First, it noted, district courts are required to notify the attorney general of a constitutional challenge in any action in which the U.S. government is not a party. Second, the U.S. attorney general recently filed...


August 10, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Looking for Some Good News on PHH, Ocwen And Walter Investment? You May Have to Wait.

PHH Corp., Ocwen Financial and Walter Investment Management Corp. have quite a bit in common these days: all are large publicly traded lender/servicers that continue to lose money while struggling to find a path to both regulatory redemption and a business model that works. But recent earnings reports and public filings suggest immediate relief looks elusive for all three. For now, Walter – the parent of Ditech Financial, the nation’s 10th largest servicer – appears...


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