On January 3, the CFPB announced the release of its annual report to the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations for 2016. The report—which covers October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016—identifies the specific responsibilities that the Dodd-Frank Act tasked to the CFPB and explains how the Bureau has attempted to meet those responsibilities. Among other things, the report describes Bureau regulations and guidance related to the Dodd-Frank Act including, but not limited to: (i) a proposed rule on arbitration; (ii) a proposed rule related to payday loans, vehicle title loans, and other similar credit products; (iii) a final rule to amend various provisions of the mortgage servicing rules implementing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act; and (iv) a final rule amending Regulation C, implementing the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The report also includes descriptions of the Bureau’s supervisory activities and enforcement actions undertaken by in the 2016 fiscal year.
On February 14, the CFPB announced the availability of a second Webinar on the New Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Rule (amending Regulation C), a Rule that was itself finalized in late 2015 but that is predominantly not effective until January 1, 2018, or later. The new Webinar, with audio and closed-captioning over a slide-deck, focuses solely on identifiers and other “data points,” including the race and ethnicity of an applicant or borrower, which must be collected under the New HMDA Rule. In August 2016, the CFPB released an initial Webinar on the same Rule, covering a broader range of topics and without the focus on data points in the newer Webinar.
In addition, the Bureau has now made available a one-page chart to summarize the options a financial institution has for collecting and reporting ethnicity and race information under current Regulation C, Regulation C effective January 1, 2018, and the Bureau’s Official Approval Notice (issued on September 23, 2016). All of the above-mentioned resources and many more related materials (such as an unofficial transcript we prepared of the initial Webinar) can also be found in BuckleySandler’s HMDA Resource Center.
On December 19, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) posted the 2017 version of its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Data Entry Software. This software—which is intended to help automate the filing of CRA data—is year-specific, i.e., 2016 reporting requires the 2016 version, not the 2017 version. In November, the FFIEC clarified that it was discontinuing its HMDA Data Entry Software and instead requiring that filers submit HMDA data collected in 2017 using a web interface called the “HMDA Platform.”
On December 2, the CFPB published its Fall 2016 Statement of Regulatory Priorities, and its Fall 2016 rulemaking agenda, addressing current and future rulemakings in accordance with its obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In its Agenda, the Bureau notes, among other things, that: (i) publication of a final Arbitration rule is expected in February 2017; (ii) the Bureau intends to finalize proposed amendments to TRID by March 2017; and (iii) the Bureau plans to release in March 2017 a proposed set of technical corrections to the HMDA reporting requirements and proposed amendments to Regulation B “to clarify how financial institutions and creditors subject to Regulation C and Regulation B may comply with both regulations.” There was no next step identified for the proposed rule on payday loans and deposit advance products.
In a corresponding blog post, the Bureau provided a brief status update and overview of its various rulemakings, which are grouped into pre-rule, proposed rule, final rule, long-term, and completed stages. The CFPB noted that it anticipates that the next “larger participant” rulemaking will focus on the markets for consumer installment loans and vehicle title loans, including whether to impose registration requirements on non-depository lenders.
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.