Special Alert: CFPB Director Opines on TRID Liability

On December 29, 2015, CFPB Director Richard Cordray issued a letter in response to concerns raised by the Mortgage Bankers Association regarding violations of the CFPB’s new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule, also known as the Know Before You Owe rule. In an effort to address concerns that technical TRID violations are resulting in extraordinarily high rejection rates by secondary market purchasers of mortgage loans, Director Cordray acknowledged that, “despite best efforts, there inevitably will be inadvertent errors in the early days.” However, he suggested that rejections based on “formatting and other minor errors” are “an overreaction to the initial implementation of the new rule” and that the risk to private investors from “good-faith formatting errors and the like” is “negligible.” He expressed hope that this issue “will dissipate as the industry gains experience with closings, loan purchases, and examinations.”

Click here to view the full Special Alert. 

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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

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Special Alert: CFPB Issues Guidance Regarding Preauthorized Debit Transactions Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E

On November 23, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released Compliance Bulletin 2015-06 (“Bulletin”), which provides industry guidance on the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (“EFTA”) and Regulation E requirements for obtaining consumer authorizations for preauthorized electronic fund transfers (“EFTs”). The CFPB issued this Bulletin, in part, because it observed during its examinations that some companies are not fully complying with the EFTA and Regulation E. Principally, this Bulletin addresses two areas of concern: (i) obtaining the customer’s authorization for preauthorized EFTs over the telephone; and (ii) providing a copy of the authorization to the customer. Read more…

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Special Alert: CFPB Adopts Significant Expansion of HMDA Reporting Requirements

On October 15, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB or Bureau) issued a final rule that will expand the scope of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data reporting requirements while seeking to streamline certain existing requirements. Although some of the new data points the Bureau is requiring are expressly mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Bureau is also requiring a significant number of new data points based on discretionary rulemaking authority granted by the Act.

While we describe the amended rule below in greater detail, highlights include:

  • Expanded data-collection under the revised rule will begin on January 1, 2018, and reporting will begin in 2019. The Bureau would have been allowed under Dodd-Frank to require data-collection beginning in 2017 (at least nine months after issuance of the rule) but responded to industry requests for more time to convert systems to meet the extensive new data-collection requirements of the amended rule.
  • The amended rule substantially expands the number of data points collected from financial institutions, including requiring reporting of rate spreads on most originated loans and lines of credit, not just higher-cost closed-end loans. However, the Bureau still has not decided the extent to which this information, which includes sensitive personal data such as credit scores, will be publicly available. It will solicit additional public input on privacy concerns before it determines how much of the information will be disclosed.
  • The amended rule will require financial institutions to report home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and reverse mortgages. However, in response to widespread criticism by industry commenters, the CFPB did not adopt its proposal to require reporting of all commercial-purpose loans secured by a dwelling.
  • The amended rule does not make significant substantive changes to the definition of an “application” or to the “broker rule,” but it does reorganize and clarify existing Commentary provisions on those issues.
  • The amended rule requires both depository and nondepository institutions that originated at least 25 closed-end mortgage loans or at least 100 open-end lines of credit in each of the two preceding calendar years to report HMDA data, so long as the institution meets all of the other tests for coverage of that type of institution.
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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

 

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Special Alert: CFPB Issues Guidance Regarding Marketing Services Agreements

On October 8, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) published a compliance bulletin providing guidance to mortgage industry participants regarding the permissibility of marketing services agreements (“MSAs”) under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”).The bulletin summarizes the CFPB’s “grave concerns” that settlement service providers have been improperly using MSAs to circumvent RESPA’s restrictions on the payment of kickbacks and referral fees in exchange for real estate settlement services.

According to the bulletin, while MSAs are purportedly designed to permit individuals or entities to pay service providers bona fide compensation for goods, facilities, or services actually provided—which is expressly permitted under RESPA—in some cases, MSAs are actually used as a cover for illegal referral fee arrangements. The bulletin further notes that even facially-compliant MSAs can be implemented in a manner that ultimately results in the impermissible exchange of compensation for referrals of settlement service business, often as a result of the significant financial pressures that exist for participants in the mortgage and settlement service markets. The CFPB’s guidance emphasizes the dangers posed to consumers by MSA arrangements that hide or indirectly or inadvertently facilitate the unlawful exchange of payment for referrals of settlement service business, including potential increases in mortgage pricing and negative impacts on consumers’ ability to freely shop for mortgages and mortgage-related settlement services.

Click Here to View the Full Special Alert

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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

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Special Alert: Cross-Border Data Transfers Significantly Impacted by EU Court Decision Invalidating Adequacy of U.S.-EU Data Protection Safe Harbor Framework

On October 6, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner (“Schrems”) declared “invalid” a decision of the European Commission that the United States-European Union Safe Harbor framework (Safe Harbor) provides adequate protection for personal data transferred from the European Union (EU) to the United States (U.S.). Thousands of U.S. companies have registered with the U.S. Department of Commerce in order to permit the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S.

The EU’s 1995 Data Protection Directive (Directive) requires that the transfer of personal data from an EU country to another country take place only if the other country ensures an adequate level of data protection. For the past 15 years, per a 2000 decision by the Commission of the European Communities, U.S. companies participating in Safe Harbor have been deemed to meet adequacy standards. Advocate General (AG) Yves Bot of the CJEU issued an opinion in September (“AG Opinion”) calling that 2000 decision invalid. AG Bot’s opinion declared that the existing framework governing that exchange of data fails to “ensure an adequate level of protection of the personal data which is transferred to the United States from the European Union” because that framework, in AG Bot’s view, contains holes that can allow access to European’s personal data by the NSA and other U.S. security agencies. “[T]he law and practice of the United States allow the large-scale collection of the personal data of citizens of the [EU] which is transferred under the [framework] without those citizens benefiting from effective judicial protection.” And while the FTC and private dispute resolution providers have the power to monitor possible breaches of the framework by private companies, neither has the power to monitor possible breaches by U.S. security agencies. AG Bot stated his belief that, even with an adequacy decision, national Data Protection Authorities retain the power to assess the sufficiency of national data protection regimes outside the EU to which personal data will be transferred. Read more…

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Special Alert: Third Circuit Gives FTC Green Light to Continue Enforcing Corporate Data Security

On August 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to hold companies accountable for their data security practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. § 45(a)), which declares unlawful “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” The unanimous ruling found that “deficient cybersecurity,” practices, which “fail to protect consumer data against hackers,” may be found to be “unfair” practices under the Act, subject to FTC enforcement. The FTC had sued Wyndham for allegedly deficient cybersecurity practices that enabled hackers to obtain payment card information from over 619,000 consumers.

In affirming that the FTC has authority under Section 5 to pursue claims of inadequate data security, the Third Circuit explained that a company’s inadequate data security in the face of foreseeable intrusions falls within the plain meaning of “unfair.” The Third Circuit assured Wyndham that this authority does not enable the agency to dictate the type of locks on hotel room doors or the placement of guards on corporate premises. Nor does it have the authority to sue for every perceived deficiency, just as it would not have the authority to sue supermarkets simply for failing to consistently “sweep up banana peels.” However, the court pointed out that it matters how – and how many – consumers are affected by a company’s practice: “were Wyndham a supermarket, leaving so many banana peels all over the place that 619,000 customers fall hardly suggests it should be immune from liability under § 45(a).” Read more…

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Special Alert: Second Circuit Will Not Rehear Madden Decision That Threatens To Upset Secondary Credit Markets

Two months ago we issued a Special Alert regarding the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC, which held that a nonbank entity taking assignment of debts originated by a national bank is not entitled to protection under the National Bank Act (“NBA”) from state-law usury claims. We explained that the Second Circuit’s reasoning in Madden ignored long-standing precedent upholding an assignee’s right to charge and collect interest in accordance with an assigned credit contract that was valid when made. And, because the entire secondary market for credit relies on this Valid-When-Made Doctrine to enforce credit agreements pursuant to their terms, the decision potentially carries far-reaching ramifications for securitization vehicles, hedge funds, other purchasers of whole loans, including those who purchase loans originated by banks pursuant to private-label arrangements and other bank relationships, such as those common to marketplace lending industries and various types of on-line consumer credit.

After the decision, Midland Funding, the assignee of the loan at issue, petitioned the Second Circuit to rehear the case either by the panel or en banc – a petition that was broadly supported by banking and securities industry trade associations in amicus briefs.  On August 12, the court denied that petition.

Click Here to View the Full Special Alert

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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

 

 

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Special Alert: CFPB Reports On The Findings From Its “Know Before You Owe” eClosing Pilot Project

In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) initiated an eClosing pilot program. The eClosing pilot was intended to assist the CFPB in evaluating the use of electronic records and signatures in the residential mortgage closing process. The pilot program has now been completed and on August 5, 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released a report detailing its findings (“Report”). In the Report, the CFPB indicates that eClosings present a significant opportunity to enhance the closing process for both consumers and the mortgage industry.

The pilot program focused on the mortgage closing process and measured borrowers’ (i) understanding (both perceived and actual) of the process, (ii) perception of efficiency, and (iii) feelings of empowerment. The program also sought to quantify objective measures of process efficiency. The program was conducted over four months in 2014 with seven lenders, four technology companies, settlement agents, and real estate professionals. About 3000 borrowers participated in the study – roughly 1200 completed the CFPB’s survey.

The CFPB sought to determine if an electronic closing process improved the borrowers’ (i) understanding of the transaction, (ii) perception of efficiency, and (iii) feeling of empowerment. These three criteria were measured in multiple ways. To gauge understanding, the borrower was asked about their perceived understanding of the terms and fees, costs, and their rights and responsibilities. To determine the borrower’s actual understanding of their mortgage, they were given an eight question quiz. Five questions were about mortgages generally and three about their mortgage, specifically. To evaluate the efficiency of the transaction, the CFPB measured the difference between eClosings and paper closings in terms of delays, errors in documents, and the time required between steps in the process. Borrowers were also asked about their perceptions concerning efficiency. Finally, in order to gauge the borrower’s feeling of empowerment, the CFPB asked about the borrower’s feelings of control, his or her role, and the role(s) of others in the process. Read more…

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Special Alert: CFPB Officially Delays TRID Rule Until October 3

The CFPB finalized a rule today that delays the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule, including all amendments, from August 1 to October 3, 2015. This is consistent with the proposed rule issued last month, which we wrote about here.

The CFPB considered implementing a “dual compliance period” that would have permitted creditors to voluntarily comply with the TRID rule early, but it ultimately declined to do so, citing concerns that “dual compliance could be confusing to consumers and complicated for industry, including vendors, the secondary market, and institutions who act both as correspondent lenders and originators.”

In addition, although the CFPB declined to create a “hold harmless” or “safe harbor” period following the effective date, it stated that it “continues to believe that the approach expressed in Director Cordray’s letter to members of Congress on June 3, 2015,” which we wrote about here, remains fitting:

[O]ur oversight of the implementation of the Rule will be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that have squarely focused on making good-faith efforts to come into compliance with the Rule on time. My statement . . . is consistent with the approach we took to implementation of the Title XIV mortgage rules in the early months after the effective dates in January 2014, which has worked out well. Read more…

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Special Alert: CFPB Launches First Monthly Complaint Report Providing Snapshot of Consumer Trends

On July 16, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) launched the first in a new series of monthly complaint reports highlighting key trends from consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB. Importantly, its monthly report provides significant detail on the complaints the CFPB has received, including the names of the companies that received the largest number of complaints.

Currently, the most-complained-about companies are also the largest bank and nonbank financial institutions in the country. Since these institutions have the highest numbers of customers, it is only natural that they have received the highest number of complaints. On the same day as the monthly report’s release, CFPB Director Richard Cordray provided remarks at an Americans for Financial Reform event in Washington, D.C. Director Cordray noted that in future monthly reports, the CFPB hopes to “normalize” its consumer complaint data by accounting for financial institutions’ respective size and volume. To that end, the CFPB issued a Request for Information seeking input on ways to enable the public to more easily understand company-level complaint information and make comparisons. The comment period closes August 31, 2015. Read more…

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Special Alert: Disparate Impact Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act After Inclusive Communities

On June 25, the Supreme Court in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. held that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The Court, in a 5-4 decision, concluded that the FHA permits disparate-impact claims based on its interpretation of the FHA’s language, the amendment history of the FHA, and the purpose of the FHA.

Applicability to ECOA

When certiorari was granted in Inclusive Communities, senior officials from the CFPB and DOJ made clear that they would continue to enforce the disparate impact theory under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) even if the Supreme Court held that disparate-impact claims were not cognizable under the FHA. It is reasonable to expect that the Court’s decision will embolden the agencies, as well as private litigants, to assert even more aggressively the disparate impact theory under ECOA. Read more…

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Special Alert: Supreme Court Upholds Disparate Impact Under Fair Housing Act, But Emphasizes Limits on Such Claims

Today, the Supreme Court in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. held that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). In a 5-4 decision, the Court concluded that the use of the phrase “otherwise make available” in Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act supports disparate-impact claims. The Court also held that Section 805 of the Fair Housing Act (which applies to lending) permits disparate impact, reasoning that the Court “has construed statutory language similar to § 805(a) to include disparate-impact liability.” The Court also wrote that the 1988 amendments to the Fair Housing Act support its conclusion because (1) all the federal Courts of Appeals to have considered the issue at that time had held that the FHA permits disparate-impact claims; and (2) the substance of the amendments, which the Court characterized as exceptions from disparate impact, “is convincing support for the conclusion that Congress accepted and ratified the unanimous holdings of the Courts of Appeals finding disparate-impact liability.”

The Court emphasized, however, that “disparate-impact liability has always been properly limited in key respects . . . .” Specifically, the Court explained disparate-impact liability must be limited so companies “are able to make the practical business choices and profit-related decisions that sustain a vibrant and dynamic free-enterprise system.” “Entrepreneurs must be given latitude to consider market factors,” the Court explained. The Court clarified further that a variety of factors, including both “objective” and “subjective” factors, are “legitimate concerns.” Read more…

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Special Alert: CFPB Issues Proposal to Delay TRID Rule Until October 3

The CFPB issued a proposed rule today to delay the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule, including all amendments, from August 1 to October 3, 2015. The proposed delayed effective date is two days later than the date announced last week so that the effective date falls on a Saturday. The CFPB chose Saturday because it “may allow for smoother implementation by affording industry time over the weekend to launch new systems configurations and to test systems. A Saturday launch is also consistent with existing industry plans tied to the Saturday August 1 effective date.”

The proposed rule explains that, due to “an administrative error on the Bureau’s part in complying with the [Congressional Review Act]…, the [TRID] Rule cannot take effect until at the earliest August 15, 2015.” Because “some delay in the effective date is now required, the Bureau believes that a brief additional delay may benefit both consumers and industry more than would allowing the new rules to take effect on [August 15].” The Bureau stated that the additional delay is being proposed to avoid challenges associated with a mid-month effective date and to allow more time to implement the rule in light of recent information the CFPB received that “delays in the delivery of system updates have left creditors and others with limited time to fully test all of their systems and system components to ensure that each system works with the others in an effective manner.”

The proposed rule does not include any substantive changes to the TRID rule, other than changes to reflect the new proposed effective date. Despite requests by many in industry, the Bureau did not propose to allow lenders to begin complying with the rule before the effective date.

Comments must be received on or before July 7, 2015.

For additional information and resources on the TRID rule, please visit our TRID Resource Center.

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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

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Special Alert: CFPB Will Propose to Delay TRID Rule Until October 1

Two weeks after declining requests from industry and members of Congress for delayed enforcement of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule, the CFPB announced today that it will be issuing a proposed amendment to delay the rule’s effective date from August 1 to October 1, 2015.  CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated:

We made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time.

The announcement further stated that “[t]he public will have an opportunity to comment on this proposal and a final decision is expected shortly thereafter.”

For additional information and resources on the TRID rule, please visit our TRID Resource Center.

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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

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Special Alert: Second Circuit Decision Threatens to Upset Secondary Credit Markets

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC held that a nonbank entity taking assignment of debts originated by a national bank is not entitled to protection under the National Bank Act (“NBA”) from state-law usury claims.  In reaching this conclusion, the Court appears to have not considered the “Valid-When-Made Doctrine”—a longstanding principle of usury law that if a loan is not usurious when made, then it does not become usurious when assigned to another party.  If left undisturbed, the Court’s decision may well have broad and alarming ramifications.  The decision could significantly disrupt secondary markets for consumer and commercial credit, impacting a broad cross-section of financial services providers and other businesses that rely on the availability and post-sale validity of loans originated by national or state-chartered depository institutions.

Click here to view the full special alert.

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Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

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