CFPB Releases Special Edition Supervisory Highlights with Focus on Mortgage Servicing

On June 22, the CFPB released its eleventh issue of Supervisory Highlights specifically to address recent supervisory examination observations of the mortgage servicing industry. According to the report, mortgage servicers continue to face compliance challenges, particularly in the areas of loss mitigation and servicing transfers. The report attributes compliance weaknesses to outdated and deficient servicing technology, as well as the lack of proper training, testing, and auditing of technology-driven processes. Notable findings outlined in the report include the following: (i) multiple violations related to servicing rules that require loss mitigation acknowledgment notices, observing deficiencies with timeliness and content of acknowledgement notices; (ii) violations regarding servicer loss mitigation offer letters and other related communications, including unreasonable delay in sending letters; (iii) failure to state the correct reason(s) in letters to borrowers for denying a trial or permanent loan modification option; (iv) failure to implement effective servicing policies, procedures, and requirements; and (v) heightened risks to consumers when transferring loans during the loss mitigation process. Although the report focuses largely on mortgage servicers’ continued violations, it acknowledged that certain servicers have significantly improved over the past several years by, in part, “enhancing and monitoring their servicing platforms, staff training, coding accuracy, auditing, and allowing for great flexibility in operations.”

In addition to outlining Supervision’s examination observations of the mortgage servicing industry, the report also notes that the CFPB’s Supervision and Examination Manual was recently updated to reflect regulatory changes, technical corrections, and updated examination priorities in the mortgage servicing chapter.

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CSBS and Multi-State Mortgage Committee Report on 2015 Supervisory Efforts

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the Multi-State Mortgage Committee (MMC) issued a report to state regulators regarding its 2015 review of the supervisory structure around examination and risk assessment of non-bank mortgage loan servicers. Notable servicing examination findings outlined in the report include: (i) violations and deficiencies related to loan transfer activity, noting that a “significant portion of servicing examination findings are tied to the mortgage servicing requirements implemented into the [RESPA] and [TILA] in January of 2014”; (ii) ineffective oversight of sub-servicer activity and insufficient third party vendor management; and (iii) ineffective examination management procedures on the part of mortgage servicers, leading to delayed examination processes, as well as impeded regulatory oversight. The report further outlines origination examination findings, emphasizing RESPA violations related to Mortgage Servicing Agreements (MSAs) which typically include payments for promotional advertising services performed on behalf of the mortgage company. Read more…

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CSBS Publishes Annual Report

Recently, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) published its 2015 Annual Report to provide an overview of its activities and initiatives in 2015. The report highlights that, throughout 2015, state regulators (i) increased coordination and collaboration between state regulators and other stakeholders, including federal regulators and Congress; (ii) developed research and analytical tools, such as risk profiling tools to assist with the examination selection process, as well as tools to address emerging non-depository regulatory issues; (iii) developed “right-sized” policy solutions for an ever-changing financial services industry, acknowledging that “community banks play a vital and necessary role in [the] diverse financial services ecosystem”; and (iv) provided education and training for examiners and supervisors, noting that “more than 1,000 examiners from 43 agencies representing 41 states had been certified through the CSBS Certification Program.” Importantly, the report notes that cybersecurity remains a “major issue facing the financial services industry.” In an effort to encourage executive leadership and raise awareness, CSBS launched the Executive Leadership of Cybersecurity (ELOC) initiative, which emphasizes that cybersecurity is “more than a ‘back office’ issue, but an executive issue that requires CEO and Board level attention.”

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OCC Updates Comptroller’s Handbook to Include New Student Lending Booklet

On May 9, the OCC updated its Comptroller’s Handbook to include a new booklet titled “Student Lending.” Despite banks having to alter their private student lending strategies as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the OCC’s booklet maintains that banks can still benefit from the wider array of consumer products and the broader business model that the private student lending industry offers. The new booklet contains information related to banks’ participation in the private student lending industry, including, but not limited to:

  • Inherent credit, interest rate, liquidity, price, operational, compliance, strategic, and reputation risks in the industry.
  • Unique aspects of private student loans, such as the “significant time lag between loan advances and repayment, and the student borrower’s lack of certainty in finding a stable, reliable primary source of repayment after graduation.”
  • Regulatory expectations for safe and sound operations, cautioning that banks should adhere to the credit underwriting and documentation standards as stated in 12 CFR 30, appendix A, “Safety and Soundness Standards.”
  • Risk management practices, reminding banks that use third parties to market, solicit, or originate private student loans to have in place risk management frameworks that include due diligence in selecting third parties, written contracts that have been vetted for duties, obligations, and responsibilities of all parties (compensation parameters included), and ongoing monitoring and quality assurance programs.

Read more…

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FFIEC Updates IT Examination Handbook

On April 29, the FFIEC updated its IT Examination Handbook, revising its Retail Payment Systems booklet to include an Appendix E, Mobile Financial Services. The Retail Payment Systems booklet consists of guidance intended to help examiners evaluate financial institutions’ and third-party providers’ management of risks associated with retail payment systems. Appendix E is designed to address risk management associated with mobile financial services (MFS): “Appendix E contains guidance pertaining to [MFS] risks that supplements existing booklet guidance on other retail payment topics, such as electronic payments related to credit cards and debit cards, remote deposit capture and changes in technology or retail payment systems.” Appendix E outlines risk management practices for the following MFS technologies: (i) short message service/text messaging; (ii) mobile-enabled web sites and browsers; (iii) mobile applications; and (iv) wireless payment technologies. In addition to MFS technologies, Appendix E also addresses management strategies related to (i) risk identification; (ii) risk measurement; (iii) risk mitigation; and (iv) monitoring and reporting.

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