CFPB Releases 2017 Lists of Rural, Underserved Counties

On November 20, the CFPB released the 2017 iteration of its annual lists of rural counties and rural or underserved counties for use in conjunction with the several CFPB rules that refer to “rural or underserved” and “rural” counties, including the balloon-payment qualified mortgage definition and the exemption from the escrow requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans. Rural counties were generally defined by using a U.S. Department of Agriculture classification system and under-served counties were defined by data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. In addition to these lists, the bureau also directs lenders to use the its Rural or Underserved Areas Tool to provide a safe harbor determination that a property is located in a rural or underserved area for purposes of Regulation Z.

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CFPB Issues Warning Letters to 44 Mortgage Lenders and Brokers for Potential HMDA Reporting Failures

On October 27, the CFPB issued warning letters to 44 mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers informing them that they may not be in compliance with certain provisions of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Regulation C. The warning letters state that the recipients may be required to collect, record, and report housing-related lending data, and that they may be violating those requirements. Under HMDA, financial institutions that meet certain criteria are required to collect and report data related to their housing-related activity, including home purchase loans, home improvement loans, and refinancings they originate or purchase, or for which the institutions receive applications. The letters recite HMDA’s coverage criteria for lenders who are not banks, credit unions, or savings associations, suggesting that the CFPB is particularly concerned about HMDA compliance for non-depository mortgage lenders. While the letters state that the CFPB has not made any determinations that the recipients are in violation of HMDA filing requirements, the letters urge recipients to review their practices to ensure compliance with the relevant laws, and encourage recipients to advise the CFPB if the institution has taken steps or will take steps to ensure compliance. The letters advise recipients of the CFPB’s authority to impose civil money penalties for noncompliance with HMDA. In October 2013, the CFPB fined a bank and a nonbank mortgage lender for filing inaccurate HMDA data. In October 2015, the CFPB finalized a rule amending the HMDA reporting requirements under Regulation C, with the majority of the provisions taking effect on January 1, 2018.

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CFPB Creates HMDA and ECOA Safe Harbor for New Fannie/Freddie Application Form

On September 29, the CFPB published an Approval Action in the Federal Register that provides a safe harbor under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Regulation B for lenders who use the revised Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) form issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in August 2016. The Bureau’s Approval Action states that it has “determined that the relevant language in the 2016 URLA is in compliance with” Regulation B’s requirements for whether, and how, a creditor may seek information about an applicant’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, and income sources, and information about an applicant’s spouse or former spouse. Read more…

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GSEs Release Redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application

On August 23, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) published a redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), the first substantial update to the standardized form used by borrowers applying for a residential loan in more than 20 years. The GSEs also released a redesigned Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD) Mapping Document, used to “ensure consistency of data delivery.” The GSEs revised the URLA and ULAD by (i) redesigning the format to support better efficiency and more accurate data collection; (ii) including new and updated fields intended to “[c]apture loan application details that reflect today’s mortgage lending business and support both the GSEs’ and government requirements”; (iii) simplifying instructions; and (iv) incorporating revised HMDA demographic questions. The GSEs released FAQs about the redesigned URLA and ULAD, which will be available for lender use beginning January 1, 2018. Among other things, the FAQs note that (i) the GSEs will continue to support the URLA in paper form; and (ii) updates to the published documents may be required as a result of the CFPB’s review of the redesigned URLA in connection with the Regulation B safe harbor.

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FFIEC and HUD Release HMDA Filing Guides; CFPB Updates Resources for HMDA Filers Page

On July 13, the CFPB announced that the FFIEC and HUD had published new resources for financial institutions required to file data pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Regulation C, as amended by the CFPB’s October 2015 final rule, which revised and expanded the scope of HMDA reporting requirements. Accordingly, the CFPB updated its “Resources for HMDA filers” page to include the following new FFIEC and HUD resources: (i) a Technology Preview, which provides an initial summary for how HMDA filers will interact with the HMDA Platform, a web-based data submission and edit-check system that filers will use to submit HMDA data collected in or after 2017; (ii) Filing Instructions Guide (FIG) for HMDA data collected in 2017, which outlines changes to the submission process for data collected in 2017, 2017 file specifications, and 2017 edit specifications; and (iii) FIG for HMDA data collected in 2018. The 2018 FIG includes field definitions for the many additional or modified data points required for data collected in 2018 and 2018 file format and edit specifications. The technical specifications in the FIG will allow lenders and vendors of HMDA data-preparation software to begin making the systems changes needed to collect data in 2018 for submission in 2019. The CFPB’s HMDA resource page also includes FFIEC HMDA FAQs and reminds financial institutions to visit the FFIEC website for resources to submit data collected in or before 2016.

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