CFPB Issues Request for Information Regarding HMDA Disclosure Guidelines

On January 7, the CFPB announced that it will request public feedback on the resubmission of mortgage lending data reported under HMDA. Upon publication in the Federal Register, the Request for Information Regarding Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Resubmission Guidelines (Request for Information) will be open for 60 days. The Bureau’s Request for Information follows the agency’s October release of a final rule amending Regulation C to expand the reporting requirements of the HMDA regulation. Among other things, the amended rule increases the number of data points collected from financial institutions that must be reported to federal regulators beginning March 1, 2019, thus potentially necessitating revisions to the resubmission guidelines, which are the guidelines that describe when supervised institutions will be expected to correct and resubmit data. In response to questions regarding whether the CFPB will adjust mortgage lending data resubmission guidelines to reflect the new data requirements under the amended rule, the Request for Information seeks public comment regarding (among other things): (i) the CFPB’s use of resubmission error thresholds and how they should be calculated; (ii) whether error thresholds should vary depending upon an institution’s LAR entry size; and (iii) whether systemic and non-systemic errors should be treated differently, and, if so, how they should be distinguished from one another.

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CFPB Releases HMDA Implementation Resources

On December 1, the CFPB released a group of resources designed to help financial institutions understand their obligations under HMDA and Regulation C, as amended by the Bureau’s October 15 final rule. The resources include a brief 5-page executive summary of the recent changes, the HMDA Small Entity Compliance Guide, two reference tools that show when data must be collected, recorded, and reported and when data can be reported as “not applicable,” and HMDA institutional coverage charts for both 2017 and 2018.

The most substantial of these resources is the HMDA Small Entity Compliance Guide that the Bureau describes as, “a plain-language guide to the new rule which makes the content more accessible for industry constituents, especially smaller businesses with limited legal and compliance staff.” The guide is 109 pages and covers key changes and effective dates, institutions and transactions that are covered under the new rule, the data points that must be reported and how they should be recorded and reported, as well as small sections on practical implementation and how mergers and acquisitions affect the applicability of the new rule. The guide also provides an e-mail address and phone number for anyone who has reviewed all of the available materials and still has a specific regulatory interpretation question.

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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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CFPB Finalizes Rule to Update Reporting Requirements of the HMDA

On October 15, the CFPB finalized a rule amending Regulation C to update the reporting requirements of the HMDA. The final rule changes what data financial institutions must provide to Federal agencies. Data points to be reported under the final rule include: (i) information on applicants, borrowers, and the underwriting process, including age, credit score, debt-to-income ratio; (ii) information about the property securing the loan, such as property value and additional information on manufactured and multifamily housing; (iii) information on the features of the loan, such as pricing information, loan term, interest rate, introductory rate period, non-amortizing features, and the type of loan; and (iv) unique identifiers, including the property address, loan originator identifier, and a legal entity identifier for the financial institution. For more on this rule, please read BuckleySandler’s Special Alert.

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CFPB Increases Asset-Size Thresholds Under HMDA and TILA

On December 29, the CFPB published final rules adjusting the asset-size thresholds under HMDA (Regulation C) and TILA (Regulation Z). Both rules take effect on January 1, 2015.

HMDA requires certain lenders to collect and report data about mortgage application, origination, and purchase activity, and to make such data available to the public. Institutions with assets below certain dollar thresholds are exempt from the HMDA collection and reporting requirements. The final rule increases the asset-size exemption threshold for banks, savings associations, and credit unions from $43 million to $44 million, thereby exempting institutions with assets of $44 million or less as of December 31, 2014, from collecting and reporting HMDA data in 2015.

TILA, among other things, require creditors to establish escrow accounts when originating higher-priced mortgage loans (HPMLs). However, TILA exempts certain entities from this requirement, including entities with assets below the asset-size threshold established by the CFPB. The final rule increases this asset-size exemption threshold from $2.028 billion to $2.060 billion, thereby exempting creditors with assets of $2.060 billion or less as of December 31, 2014, from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for HPMLs in 2015.

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CFPB Report Highlights Errors In Mortgage And Student Loan Servicing

On October 28, the CFPB released the fifth edition of its Supervisory Highlights report. The report highlighted the CFPB’s recent supervisory findings of regulatory violations and UDAAP violations relating to consumer reporting, debt collection, deposits, mortgage servicing and student loan servicing. The report also provided updated supervisory guidance regarding HMDA reporting relating to HMDA data resubmission standards.  With respect to consumer reporting, the report identified a variety of violations of FCRA Section 611 regarding dispute resolution.  The report noted findings of several FDCPA and UDAAP violations in connection with debt collection, including: (i) unlawful imposition of convenience fees; (ii) false threats of litigation; (iii) improper disclosures to third parties; and (iv) unfair practices with respect to debt sales.  For deposits, the report identified several Regulation E violations found, including: (i) error resolution violations; (ii) liability for unauthorized transfers; and (iii) notice deficiencies.   The report outlines four main compliance issues identified in the mortgage servicing industry: (i) new mortgage servicing rules regarding oversight of service providers; (ii) delays in finalizing permanent loan modifications;  (iii)  misleading borrowers about the status of permanent loan modifications; and (iv) inaccurate communications regarding short sales. Finally, the report outlines six practices at student loan servicers that could constitute UDAAP violations: (i) allocating the payments borrowers make to each loan, which results in minimum late fees on all loans and inevitable delinquent statuses; (ii) inflating the minimum payment due on periodic and online account statements; (iii) charging late fees when payments were received during the grace period; (iv) failing to give borrowers accurate information needed to deduct loan interest payments on tax filings; (v) providing false information regarding the “dischargeable” status of a loan in bankruptcy; and (vi) making  debt collection calls to borrowers outside appropriate hours.

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CFPB Publishes White Paper On Manufactured-Housing

On September 30, the CFPB published a white paper claiming that manufactured-home owners typically pay higher interest rates for their loans than site-built borrowers. The white paper cites data in support showing that a greater share of manufactured-housing loans are classified as higher-priced mortgage loans or “high-cost” loans. The white paper further discusses the CFPB’s findings that: (i) manufactured homeowners are likely to be older, live in a rural area, and have a lower net worth than site-built borrowers; (ii) manufactured homes typically cost less than site-built homes; (iii) about three-fifths of manufactured-housing residents who own their home also own the land it is sited on; (iv) approximately 65 percent of borrowers who own their land and financed the purchase of their manufactured home between 2001 and 2010 did so using a chattel loan (rather than a manufactured-housing loan); and (v) manufactured-housing production contracted in the 2000s. The white paper does not propose any formal rule or guidance related to manufactured-housing. Rather, it indicates that the CFPB will continue to analyze facets of the manufactured-housing market to identify ways to fill in gaps in available data about that market. For example, the white paper states that the CFPB is considering adding a data field to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act’s reporting requirements that would indicate whether a manufactured-housing loan is secured by real or personal property.

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FFIEC and CFPB Announce Updates To Web-Based HMDA Database And Tools

On September 22, the FFIEC announced an update to its online database for analyzing HMDA data and the CFPB announced updates to the agency’s corresponding HMDA tools. Originally launched in September 2013, the tool focuses on the number of mortgage applications and originations, in addition to loan purposes and loan types, and allows the public to see nationwide summaries or employ interactive features to isolate the information for metropolitan areas. The updated database includes 2013 data of approximately 17 million records from 7,190 financial institutions. In both Director Cordray’s 2013 remarks and blog post, the CFPB appeared to indicate that HMDA data may be used to identify institutions that may be discriminating against protected classes of borrowers. On Monday, the Bureau encouraged the public to view the introductory video, maps and charts, data, and share their ideas and findings through its Twitter account.

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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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CFPB Proposes Rule To Implement Dodd-Frank HMDA Changes

On July 24, the CFPB issued a proposed rule to expand the scope of HMDA data reporting requirements. Section 1094 of the Dodd-Frank Act transferred responsibility for HMDA and Regulation C to the CFPB and directed the CFPB to conduct a rulemaking to expand the collection of mortgage origination data to include, among other things: (i) the length of the loan; (ii) total points and fees; (iii) the length of any teaser or introductory interest rates; (iv) the applicant or borrower’s age and credit score; and (v) the channel through which the application was made. The Dodd-Frank Act also granted the CFPB discretion to collect additional information as it sees fit. The proposed rule would implement all of the new data points required by the Dodd-Frank Act, and also would utilize the CFPB’s discretionary authority to substantially expand the number of new data points required to be reported. In addition, the CFPB’s proposal would require reporting for all dwelling-secured loans, which would include some loans not currently covered by Regulation C, including reverse mortgages, and all home equity lines of credit irrespective of their purpose. The proposal follows a review initiated by the CFPB earlier this year to assess of the potential impacts of a HMDA rulemaking on small businesses. The CFPB released a summary of that review with the proposed rule. Comments on the proposal are due by October 22, 2014. We are reviewing the proposed rule and plan to provide a more detailed summary in the coming days.

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CFPB Announces First Steps In HMDA Rulemaking Process, Launches Additional HMDA Data Tools

On February 7, the CFPB announced the first public phase of its rulemaking to expand the scope of HMDA data reporting, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB is asking small businesses to provide feedback on its initial proposal to collect new mortgage origination data from financial institutions and potential changes to the data collection and reporting process.

Proposed Data Requirements

Section 1094 of the Dodd-Frank Act transferred responsibility for HMDA and its implementing regulation to the CFPB and directed the CFPB to conduct a rulemaking to expand the collection of mortgage origination data to include, among other things: (i) the length of the loan; (ii) total points and fees; (iii) the length of any teaser or introductory interest rates; (iv) the applicant or borrower’s age and credit score; and (v) the channel through which the application was made. The Dodd-Frank Act granted the CFPB discretion to collect additional information as it sees fit.

As detailed in its outline for small businesses, in addition to the statutorily required fields, the CFPB also is considering requiring financial institutions to report more underwriting and pricing information, such as the interest rate, the total origination charges, and the total discount points of the loan, which the CFPB believes will help regulators investigate “true trouble spots” in the mortgage market. The Bureau also states that it is considering new requirements that would “more accurately capture access to credit in the mortgage market.” Specifically, the CFPB is considering requiring institutions to (i) provide an explanation of rejected loan applications; (ii) explain whether the institution considers a loan to be a Qualified Mortgage; and (iii) report the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio. The CFPB states that debt-to-income data would allow the Bureau to determine whether financial institutions are making loans that are unsuitable for borrowers. Read more…

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CFPB Increases Asset-Size Thresholds Under HMDA, TILA

On December 30, the CFPB announced final rules adjusting the asset-size thresholds under Regulation C (HMDA) and Regulation Z (TILA). Both rules take effect on January 1, 2014.

HMDA and Regulation C require certain lenders to collect and report data about mortgage application, origination, and purchase activity, and make such data available to the public. Institutions that have an asset level below a certain dollar threshold are exempt from the requirements of Regulation C. The final rule increases the asset-size exemption threshold for banks, savings associations, and credit unions from $42 million to $43 million, thereby exempting institutions with assets of $43 million or less as of December 31, 2013, from collecting HDMA data in 2014.

TILA and Regulation Z, among other things, require creditors to establish escrow accounts when originating higher-priced mortgage loans. However, TILA exempts certain entities from this requirement, including entities that meet an asset-size threshold established by the CFPB. The final rule increases this asset-size exemption threshold from $2 billion to $2.028 billion, thereby exempting creditors with assets of $2.028 billion or less as of December 31, 2013, from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for higher-priced mortgage loans in 2014.

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Special Alert: CFPB Announces First HMDA Enforcement Actions, Issues HMDA Guidance

On October 9, the CFPB (or Bureau) announced it had assessed civil money penalties totaling $459,000 against two financial institutions—one bank and one nonbank—after examinations identified significant data errors in mortgage loans reported pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The Bureau simultaneously issued a HMDA bulletin to all mortgage lenders regarding the elements of an effective HMDA compliance management system, resubmission thresholds, and factors the Bureau may consider when evaluating whether to pursue a public HMDA enforcement action and related civil money penalties.

Enforcement Actions

According to the consent orders (available here and here), both financial institutions maintained inadequate HMDA compliance systems that resulted in the reporting of “severely compromised mortgage lending data.” The nonbank, which reported 21,015 applications in its 2011 HMDA Loan Application Register (LAR), agreed to pay a penalty of $425,000. The consent order notes previous violations identified by the state regulator and states that the Bureau sampled 32 loans and concluded that the sample error rate unreasonably exceeded the Bureau’s resubmission threshold, although the error rate was not disclosed. The investigation of the nonbank was conducted in cooperation with the Massachusetts Division of Banks, which announced its own consent order imposing a $50,000 administrative fine at the same time that the CFPB announced its order. The bank, which reported 5,785 applications in its 2011 HMDA LAR, agreed to pay a penalty of $34,000. The consent order against the bank states that the bank’s sample error rate was 38 percent but does not disclose the size of the sample. Both institutions will be required to correct and resubmit their 2011 HMDA data and develop and implement an effective HMDA compliance management system to prevent future violations. Neither of the orders reveals the specific deficiencies in the institutions’ HMDA compliance programs. Read more…

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CFPB HMDA Data Tool Launches with Banking Regulators’ Release of 2012 HMDA Data

On September 18, the CFPB launched a new web-based tool for use in analyzing HMDA data. The CFPB explains that its new HMDA tool focuses on the number of mortgage applications and originations, in addition to loan purposes and loan types for 2010 through 2012, and allows the public to see nationwide summaries or employ interactive features to isolate the information for metropolitan areas. The CFPB is planning additional features for the site, including (i) “easy-to-use tools” that allow users to filter HMDA records and create summary tables and (ii) an application programming interface that will allow researchers and software developers to incorporate the CFPB-provided HMDA data into other applications and visualizations. During a CFPB Consumer Advisory Board meeting at which the new tool was demonstrated, Director Cordray explained that the CFPB’s HMDA tool is designed to enhance the value of the HMDA data to help identify potentially discriminatory lending patterns and determine whether lenders are serving the housing needs of their communities.

The launch corresponded with the FFIEC’s annual HMDA data release. The release provides data on mortgage lending transactions—including applications, originations, purchases and sales of loans, denials, and other actions related to applications—provided by 7,400 U.S. financial institutions covered by HMDA for the 2012 calendar year. The FFIEC release notes that 2012 HMDA data are the first to use the census tract delineations and population and housing characteristic data from the 2010 Census and from the American Community Survey and that the boundaries of many census tracts have been revised in the process of transitioning to the 2010 Census, and cautions users that boundary changes and updates to the population and housing characteristics of census tracts complicate intertemporal analysis of the annual HMDA data. The release further advises users that while the HMDA data can inform analysis of fair lending compliance, the HMDA data alone cannot be used to determine whether a lender is complying with fair lending laws because they do not include many potential determinants of creditworthiness and loan pricing, such as the borrower’s credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and the loan-to-value ratio.

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FFIEC Publishes Updated HMDA Reporting Guide

On April 18, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council published the 2013 Guide to HMDA Reporting. The updated edition reflects the transfer of HMDA and Regulation C authority to the CFPB, updates previously announced asset-size threshold exemption adjustments, and includes minor technical changes.

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