On April 6, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law SB 2504, which reenacts and amends the Mississippi S.A.F.E. Mortgage Act. Among other things, the legislation (i) revises licensure and continuing education requirements for mortgage loan originators; (ii) modifies books, accounts, and records storage and filing requirements; (iii) ensures timely and accurate mortgage licensee reporting in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS); and (iv) specifically provides that “[f]ailure to file accurate, timely, and complete reports on the [NMLS] may result in a violation of this chapter, resulting in a civil penalty.”
On August 30, the State Regulatory Registry LLC (SRR), a subsidiary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the entity that operates the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS), requested public comment on a proposal to adopt a formal policy that would govern procedures and processes for requesting comments on NMLS-related updates that impact outside parties. Proposed matters warranting public comment would include (i) major NMLS functionality updates; (ii) call report updates; (iii) impacts to NMLS usability; (iv) Uniform Form changes; and (v) fee changes. SRR proposes that the comment period for NMLS-related updates last for at least 60 days but no longer than 180 days unless, as determined by the SRR Senior Vice President of Policy, there is good cause for extending the comment period. Comments on SRR’s proposed policy change, which defines the roles and responsibilities of various persons and working groups that would be involved in considering proposed NMLS updates, are due by October 31, 2016.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Proposes Amendments to the Illinois Residential Mortgage License Act
On April 1, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation proposed amendments to the Illinois Residential Mortgage License Act of 1987. The proposed amendments would implement uniform state test standards for mortgage loan originators (MLO) and their employees. Implementing the uniform state test standards would bring the Illinois licensing regime closer to uniformity with the majority of other states who already have adopted the same or similar standards. The amendments provide that MLOs must pass a written test developed by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry prior to issuance of their state license. Previously, Illinois required employees to take a separate state test. Under the proposed amendments, pre-licensing and continuing education requirements for MLOs would be expanded to include new Illinois state law courses. Some industry groups are recommending that such courses be designed to overlap with existing federal continuing education requirements under the SAFE Act. The comment period will remain open through May 16, 2016.
On March 21, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed H.B. 1181, which makes various revisions to Indiana laws concerning, among other things, (i) first mortgage lien lenders; (ii) persons licensed under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code; (iii) exempt threshold amounts for credit; and (iv) debt management companies. Various sections of the bill are effective immediately, while others will take effect July 1, 2016.
On December 4, President Obama signed into law H.R. 22, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” (FAST Act). Although a transportation bill on its surface, the bill also contains various provisions that are intended to provide regulatory relief to community banks and improve the efficiency of state financial regulation. Significant provisions in the bill include: (i) establishing a process that allows parties, including banks and other stakeholders, to petition the CFPB for “rural” or “underserved” designations in certain areas for the purposes of the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule; (ii) expanding the CFPB’s ability to exempt creditors serving rural or underserved areas from escrow requirements; (iii) granting greater flexibility to the CFPB in regards to treating a balloon loan as a qualified mortgage, if a community bank or creditor operating in a rural or underserved area extended the loan; (iv) increasing the threshold for 18-month exam cycles for well-capitalized banks from $500 million to $1 billion; and (v) authorizing the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System – which state regulators use to license various nonbank financial services industries, such as money transmitters, payday lenders, and debt collectors – to process background checks for non-mortgage license applicants.