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 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 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.
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.