On April 15, Fannie Mae issued Selling Guide Announcement SEL 2014-03, which includes numerous selling policy updates. Based on a comprehensive review of its current requirements, the announcement provides a series of new or updated property eligibility and appraisal requirements, which must be implemented no later than August 1, 2014. The announcement also states that Fannie Mae is retiring its two-step ARM mortgage, as well as standard ARM plans 1030 and 1031. For mortgage loans with notes dated on or after October 15, 2014 where the lender is registered with MERS, Fannie Mae will also require the use of a new rider to modify the standard security instruments in Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The announcement includes numerous additional miscellaneous policy updates, and notes again the recent publication of the Selling Guide on Fannie Mae’s corporate website.
On April 17, the CFPB issued a guide to completing the disclosure forms required by its November 2013 TILA-RESPA integrated disclosures rule, which generally applies to transactions for which a creditor or broker receives an application on or after August 1, 2015. The guide provides instructions for completing the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure and highlights common situations that may arise when completing the forms. The CFPB states in addition to serving as a resource to creditors, the guide also may assist settlement service providers, software providers, and other service providers. The disclosure forms guide follows the release last month of a small entity compliance guide, which summarizes the rule and highlights issues that small creditors, and their partners or service providers, might find helpful to consider when implementing the rule.
On March 26, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed into law HF 2324, which revises the state’s mortgage and consumer credit statutes to align with federal law. The bill amends the current $25,000 loan ceiling applicable to certain consumer credit transactions and replaces it with a “threshold amount” that incorporates by reference limits established under federal Truth in Lending Act. The bill also adopts the federal definition of “points and fees” for mortgage transactions and provides that if a loan is extended with points and fees higher than those specified under federal law the loan is subject to state law, including monetary limits on loan origination or processing and broker fees, a limit on the types of permissible lender charges, and a limit on fees relating to payment of interest reduction fees in exchange for a lower rate of interest. The bill also amends the definition of “finance charge” in the state’s consumer credit code to include an initial charge imposed by a financial institution for an overdrawn account. Finally, the bill adds a new section that allows banks to include in their consumer credit contracts over $25,000 a provision that a consumer is responsible for reasonable attorney fees if the bank is the prevailing party in a lawsuit arising from the transaction. The changes take effect July 1, 2014.
On April 1, Utah enacted SB 332, which amends the Utah Residential Mortgage Practices and Licensing Act, the Real Estate Licensing and Practices Act, and the Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and Certification Act to establish a procedure for the voluntary surrender of a license issued under each of those acts. The bill clarifies the scope of what it means to be engaged in the business of residential mortgage loans under the Utah Residential Mortgage Practices and Licensing Act, and includes numerous other amendments to the other two Acts. The changes take effect May 13 2014.
On March 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s remand for lack of diversity, holding that a national bank is a citizen only of the state where it is headquartered. Rouse v. Wachovia Mortg., FSB, No. 12-55278, 2014 WL 1243869 (9th Cir. Mar. 27, 2014). In this case, a federal district court in California remanded to state court a suit brought by two California mortgage borrowers alleging state law violations against a national bank, holding that a national bank is a citizen of both the state where its principle place of business is located and where the bank is headquartered—in this case California and South Dakota, respectively—and that because the borrowers are California citizens, the district court lacked jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding that the statutory scheme governing nationally chartered banks, which the court described as sparse and ambiguous, deemed national banks citizens of the state where their main offices are located. Unlike the district court, the Ninth Circuit found no congressional intention to provide for jurisdictional parity between nationally chartered and state-chartered banks. The Ninth Circuit thus reversed the district court, finding perfect diversity between the plaintiffs, citizens of California, and the defendant national bank, a citizen of South Dakota.
The CFPB announced today that it will hold a forum on the mortgage closing process. The event will take place at the CFPB’s headquarters in Washington, DC at 1:30 p.m. on April 23, 2014. It will be open to members of the public who RSVP and also will be available through a live stream on the CFPB’s website. Consistent with its past practice, the CFPB has not provided advance details about the specific topics to be addressed or the participants. The event is likely to review the feedback the CFPB received in response to a January 2014 request for information about consumer “pain points” associated with the mortgage closing process, an initiative the CFPB first revealed in November 2013 in conjunction with the release of the final rule combining mortgage disclosures under TILA and RESPA. We plan to attend the event and will provide an update later this month.
Recently, the state of Washington enacted SB 6134, which amends numerous provisions related to the supervision of non-depository institutions. The bill clarifies the statute of limitations applicable to certain violations by non-depository institutions by providing that enforcement actions for violations of the Escrow Act, the Mortgage Broker Practices Act, the Uniform Money Services Act (UMSA), the Consumer Loan Act, and the Check Cashers and Check Sellers Act (CCSA) are subject to a five-year statute of limitations. In addition, the bill provides that licensees under the CCSA and the UMSA that conduct business in multiple states and register through the NMLS must submit call reports to the Department of Financial Institutions. The changes take effect June 12, 2014.
On March 24, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed SB 118, which, effective July 1, 2014, will permit transitional licensing of mortgage loan originators (MLO). The bill grants the State Corporation Commission (SCC) authority to issue temporary MLO licenses to certain MLOs licensed in other states. The SCC will only issue a transitional MLO license to applicants it determines (i) have never had a mortgage loan originator license revoked by any governmental authority; (ii) have not been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a felony during a defined period prior to the date of the application; (iii) have become registered through, and obtained a unique identifier from, the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry; and (iv) are employed by a person licensed by the SCC as a mortgage lender or mortgage broker. Further, any transitional MLO license issued by the SCC will expire on the earlier of (i) the date the SCC issues or denies a Virginia MLO license for the applicant; or (ii) 120 days from the date the transitional MLO license was issued. Also notable, is that the bill allows the SCC to issue transitional licenses to MLOs from federally regulated institutions who transition employment to a Virginia mortgage bank, but only after federal law is changed to allow such transitional licenses. The CFPB has interpreted federal law to prohibit such transitional licenses.
Earlier this month, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) issued a notice and request for comment on a proposed amendment to regulations that implement the California Finance Lenders Law (CFLL) and the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (CRMLA). The proposed amendment would clarify that non-depository operating subsidiaries, affiliates, and agents of federal banks and other financial institutions do not fall within the licensure exemption for a bank or savings association under the CFLL and the CRMLA. The DBO views the proposed amendment as required in light of the Dodd-Frank Act’s elimination of federal preemption over such entities by the OCC. Comments on the proposal are due by May 7, 2014.
On March 24, the Federal Reserve Board, the OCC, the FDIC, the CFPB, the FHFA, and the NCUA proposed a rule to implement the Dodd-Frank Act’s minimum requirements for registration and supervision of Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs). While current federal regulations mandate that appraisals conducted for federally related transactions must comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), this rule would represent the first affirmative federal obligations relating to the registration, supervision, and conduct of AMCs.
Generally, the proposed rule would establish a framework for the registration and supervision of AMCs by individual states that choose to participate, and for state reporting to the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). Although state participation is optional, AMCs would be prohibited from providing appraisal management services for federally related transactions in states that do not establish such a program.
Comments on the proposal will be due 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. Read more…
This week, Fannie Mae began providing access to an online version of its single-family Selling Guide through its corporate website. Fannie Mae believes this online version will be easier to navigate and will allow for enhanced search capabilities. The new tool allows users to view on one screen all five Selling Guide part titles and introductions, and allows users to access subparts, chapters, and individual topics. Other new features include the ability to email and print pages.
On March 13, HUD proposed a rule to prohibit mortgagees from charging post-payment interest under FHA’s single family mortgage insurance program. The proposal is responsive to the CFPB’s ATR/QM rule, under which post-payment interest charged in connection with FHA loans closed on or after January 21, 2015 will be considered a prepayment penalty. HUD’s proposal states that while some single-family FHA mortgages would meet the requirements under the ATR/QM rule permitting limited prepayment penalties during the first 36 months of the mortgage, others would not. The proposal seeks to achieve consistency among FHA single-family mortgage products and to provide the same protections for all borrowers. It would remove a provision that currently allows mortgagees to require payment of interest up to the next installment due date, and instead require mortgagees to accept a prepayment at any time and in any amount without charging a post-payment charge, notwithstanding the terms of the loan. Under the proposed rule, monthly interest on the debt would be calculated on the actual unpaid principal balance as of the date prepayment is received. Comments on the proposal are due by May 12, 2014.
On March 11, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac published the Uniform Closing Dataset’s (UCD) MISMO-mapping document, Appendix B: Closing Disclosure Mapping to the MISMO v3.3 Reference Model, which provides a common dataset to implement the CFPB’s closing disclosure. While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not yet determined the method or timeline for collecting UCD from lenders, the release allows lenders and their vendors to begin preparing for the collection.
On March 12, the CFPB announced several new senior officials, as described below. We also have learned that Peter Carroll, the CFPB’s Assistant Director for Mortgage Markets, will be leaving the Bureau later this month.
- Jeffrey Langer has joined the CFPB as the Assistant Director of Installment and Liquidity Lending Markets in the Bureau’s Research, Markets, and Regulations Division. Mr. Langer most recently served as senior counsel at Macy’s, Inc., prior to which he was a lawyer in private practice. Mr. Langer is a founding fellow and treasurer of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and is a former chair of the Consumer Financial Services Committee of the American Bar Association Business Law Section.
Mr. Langer will fill a position vacated by Rick Hackett last year. At the time of Mr. Hackett’s departure, Corey Stone, Assistant Director, Credit Information, Collections, and Deposit Markets, took over smaller dollar loan markets on a permanent basis. Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman, took responsibility for auto and student loans on an acting basis. Although Mr. Stone will continue to oversee smaller dollar loan markets, including payday and auto title loans, the addition of Mr. Langer allows Mr. Chopra to focus only on his Ombudsman duties.
- Christopher D. Carroll has joined the CFPB as the Assistant Director and Chief Economist for the Office of Research in the Bureau’s Research, Markets, and Regulations Division, as the CFPB announced last year. Dr. Carroll is a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University, from which he has taken a leave of absence to serve at the Bureau. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the co-chair of the NBER Research Group on Consumption. Dr. Carroll has served as a senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisors on two separate occasions, and as an economist for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Ron Borzekowski, who joined the CFPB at its inception from the Federal Reserve Board, has been serving as the acting head of the Office of Research.
- Daniel Dodd-Ramirez has joined the CFPB as the Assistant Director of Financial Empowerment in the Bureau’s Consumer Education and Engagement Division. Mr. Dodd-Ramirez previously served as the executive director of Step Up Savannah Inc. in Savannah, Ga., from 2005 to 2014. Prior to Step Up, he served as education project director and community organizer for People Acting for Community Together (PACT) in Miami, Florida, and before that was the human resources director for Families First, a social services agency in southern Vermont.
On February 25, the FDIC issued FIL-9-2014 to notify supervised institutions of new consumer compliance examination procedures for the mortgage rules issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, that took effect nearly two months ago. FDIC examiners will use the revised interagency procedures to evaluate institutions’ compliance with the new mortgage rules. The FDIC states that during initial compliance examinations, FDIC examiners will expect institutions to be familiar with the mortgage rules’ requirements and have a plan for implementing the requirements. Those plans should contain “clear timeframes and benchmarks” for updating compliance management systems and relevant compliance programs. “FDIC examiners will consider the overall compliance efforts of an institution and take into account progress the institution has made in implementing its plan.”