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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Maryland Court of Appeals Rules Borrowers Barred By Three-Year Statute of Limitations in HELOC Decision

On June 23, The Court of Appeals of Maryland reversed the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals in Windesheim v. Larocca, 2015 WL 3853500 (MD. 2015), holding that the statute of limitations for a mortgage origination fraud case began to run at origination because the borrowers had inquiry notice of the loan terms. Under the alleged “buy-first-sell-later” scheme, the borrower-plaintiffs contend that the realtor and lender-defendants encouraged the borrowers to open home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) on their current homes while simultaneously selling their current homes. The lenders allegedly forged documents and signatures in order to approve both the HELOCs and the mortgages on new homes. The trial court initially found that the claims were time-barred, as the plaintiffs should have discovered the alleged fraud when the loans were originated. On appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, the plaintiffs succeeded in reversing the decision of the trial court. The defendants then filed their own appeal, and the Court of Appeals sided with the trial court in holding that the three-year statute of limitations had run. In particular, the Court of Appeals held that the borrowers had inquiry notice at origination because they signed the loan applications and thus were “presumed to have read and understood their contents.” Furthermore, the statute of limitations was not tolled by Maryland law or the fiduciary rule “because there is neither evidence that the Petitioners encouraged Borrowers not to read the Applications nor evidence that the Borrowers and Petitioners were in a fiduciary relationship.” The Court of Appeals further held that the defendants neither engaged in nor conspired to engage in false or misleading indirect advertising regarding secondary mortgage loans.

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Special Alert: CFPB Proposes Significant Expansion Of HMDA Reporting Requirements

On July 24, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB or Bureau) issued a proposed rule that would expand the scope of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data reporting requirements and streamline certain existing reporting requirements. Although some of the new data points the Bureau is proposing to collect were expressly mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Bureau also proposed a significant number of new data points based on discretionary rulemaking authority granted by the Act.

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

  • The proposal would substantially expand the number of data points collected from financial institutions, including requiring reporting of rate spreads on all loans, not just high cost loans. At least initially, however, this additional information would not be provided to the public on the Loan Application Register (LAR). Instead, the proposal states that the Bureau is still examining privacy concerns related to this information.
  • The proposal would require financial institutions to report home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), reverse mortgages, and commercial loans secured by a dwelling.
  • The proposal does not provide clarification on the definition of an “application” or the “broker rule.”

Those wishing to comment on the proposal must do so by October 22, 2014. Click here to view the special alert.

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Ninth Circuit Holds Plaintiffs Not Required To Plead Tender Or Ability To Tender To Support TILA Rescission Claim

On July 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that an allegation of tender or ability to tender is not required to support a TILA rescission claim. Merritt v. Countrywide Fin. Corp., No. 17678, 2014 WL 3451299 (9th Cir. Jul. 16, 2014). In this case, two borrowers filed an action against their mortgage lender more than three years after origination of the loan and a concurrent home equity line of credit, claiming the lender failed to provide completed disclosures. The district court dismissed the borrowers’ claim for rescission under TILA because the borrowers did not tender the value of their HELOC to the lender before filing suit, and dismissed their RESPA Section 8 claims as time-barred.

On appeal, the court criticized the district court’s application of the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Yamamoto v. Bank of New York, 329 F.3d 1167 (9th Cir. 2003) that courts may at the summary judgment stage require an obligor to provide evidence of ability to tender. Instead, the appellate court held that borrowers can state a TILA rescission claim without pleading tender, or that they have the ability to tender the value of their loan. The court further held that a district court may only require tender before rescission at the summary judgment stage, and only on a case-by-case basis once the creditor has established a potentially viable defense. The Ninth Circuit also applied the equitable tolling doctrine to suspend the one-year limitations period applicable to the borrower’s RESPA claims and remanded to the district court the question of whether the borrowers had a reasonable opportunity to discover the violations earlier. The court declined to address two “complex” issues of first impression: (i) whether markups for services provided by a third party are actionable under RESPA § 8(b); and (ii) whether an inflated appraisal qualifies as a “thing of value” under RESPA § 8(a).

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Federal, State Prudential Regulators Issue HELOC Guidance

On July 1, the OCC, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, the NCUA, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued interagency guidance on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) nearing their end-of-draw periods. The guidance states that as HELOCs transition from their draw periods to full repayment, some borrowers may have difficulty meeting higher payments resulting from principal amortization or interest rate reset, or renewing existing loans due to changes in their financial circumstances or declines in property values. As such, the guidance describes the following “core operating principles” that the regulators believe should govern oversight of HELOCs nearing their end-of-draw periods: (i) prudent underwriting for renewals, extensions, and rewrites; (ii) compliance with existing guidance, including but not limited to the Credit Risk Management Guidance for Home Equity Lending and the Interagency Guidelines for Real Estate Lending Policies; (iii) use of well-structured and sustainable modification terms; (iv) appropriate accounting, reporting, and disclosure of troubled debt restructurings; and (v) appropriate segmentation and analysis of end-of-draw exposure in allowance for loan and lease losses estimation processes. The guidance also outlines numerous risk management expectations, and states that institutions with a significant volume of HELOCs, portfolio acquisitions, or exposures with higher-risk characteristics should have comprehensive systems and procedures to monitor and assess their portfolios, while less-sophisticated processes may be sufficient for community banks and credit unions with small portfolios, few acquisitions, or exposures with lower-risk characteristics.

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