On August 29, OCC Senior Deputy Comptroller Grovetta Gardineer delivered remarks at the 2016 Association of Military Banks of America Workshop, emphasizing the significance of banks’ compliance with the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA). Although Gardineer noted that SCRA-related issues have decreased since making SCRA compliance an examination focus, she stressed that room for improvement remains. Gardineer advised banks to perform due diligence with third-party vendors, noting that banks “will be held accountable for failures” by their third-party vendors. Gardineer further cautioned that, in light of the new MLA requirements taking effect on October 3, banks must ensure that they properly identify military borrowers entitled to the MLA’s expanded coverage, which will include “nearly all consumer credit covered under the Truth in Lending Act.”
On September 21, the CFPB announced that it had filed five separate administrative actions against online auto title lenders formed in and operating out of Arizona. In the Notice of Charges to each company, the CFPB alleges that the lender violated the Truth in Lending Act by advertising periodic interest rates on their websites without including a corresponding annual percentage rate (APR). In one case, the lender had provided a monthly rate, and instructed consumers to multiply it by 12, but failed to inform consumers that the sum would be the APR. The CFPB is seeking monetary penalties and administrative orders to correct the alleged practices.
Federal Reserve and CFPB Propose Method for Adjusting TILA and Consumer Leasing Act Exemption Thresholds
On July 22, the CFPB and the Federal Reserve released proposed rules detailing the method for adjusting the dollar thresholds in Regulation Z (TILA) and Regulation M (Consumer Leasing Act/CLA) for exempt consumer credit and lease transactions. Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the exemption thresholds in TILA and the CLA are adjusted annually based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The recently released proposals seek to clarify, among other things, that in the years following a year in which there is no annual percentage increase in the CPI-W, the CFPB and Federal Reserve will not adjust the exemption thresholds. Comments on the proposals are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register.
On July 22, the CFPB, the Federal Reserve, and the OCC issued a joint proposal “detailing the method that will be used to make annual inflation adjustments to the threshold for exempting small loans from higher-priced mortgage loan appraisal requirements.” The Dodd-Frank Act amended TILA to establish special appraisal requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans (HPMLs). To implement these requirements, the OCC, NCUA, CFPB, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and FHFA issued final rules that became effective on January 18, 2014. The rules exempt transactions of $25,000 or less and require that the $25,000 threshold be adjusted annually to reflect any percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The recently-issued joint proposal would memorialize the calculation method for determining such adjustments and further clarify that, if there is no annual percentage increase in the CPI-W, the exemption threshold from the prior year will not be adjusted. Comments on the proposal are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register.
On June 30, the CFPB released its twelfth edition of Supervisory Highlights providing supervisory observations from its examiners in the areas of auto origination, debt collection, mortgage origination, small-dollar lending, and fair lending. In the area of auto origination, examiners determined that one or more institutions engaged in deceptive advertising practices related to the benefits of gap coverage products and the effects of payment deferrals, and failed to implement adequate compliance management systems. In the area of debt collection, examiners found that debt sellers sold thousands of debts that were unsuitable for sale because: (i) the accounts were in bankruptcy; (ii) the debts were the product of fraud; or (iii) the accounts had been paid in full. CFPB examiners further observed violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), determining that at least one collector falsely represented to consumers that a down payment was necessary in order to establish a repayment arrangement, when no such down payment was required by the collectors’ policies and procedures. For mortgage origination, CFPB examiners focused on compliance with provisions of CFPB’s Title XIV rules, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), as implemented by Regulation Z, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), as implemented by Regulation X, disclosure provisions, and other applicable consumer financial laws. Read more…