Federal Issues

Federal Banking Agencies Issue Joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding SAFE Act. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Farm Credit Administration, and the National Credit Union Administration (collectively, the Agencies) recently made a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to amend agency rules to implement the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act). The proposal implements the mandate of the SAFE Act by providing that regulated institutions require any employees acting as residential mortgage loan originators to comply with the SAFE Act’s requirements to register with and obtain a unique identifier from the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. Additionally, regulated institutions must adopt and follow written policies and procedures designed to assure compliance with the Act’s requirements. The Agencies are specifically requesting comment on whether the de minimus exception of 25 or fewer mortgage loan originations is appropriate and under what circumstances (i.e. if the exception should be event specific). The Agencies are also specifically requesting comment on whether the definition of "mortgage loan originator" should cover individuals who (i) modify existing residential mortgage loans, (ii) engage in approving mortgage loan assumptions, (iii) engage in certain refinancing transactions, and (iv) engage in loan modification and limited refinancing activities. The Agencies additionally request comment on whether the final rule should be consistent with state licensing and registration requirements for individuals who engage in loan modifications, assumptions, and refinancings. Comments are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register. For a copy of the proposed rulemaking, please emailinfobytes@buckleysandler.com.

FTC Initiates Rulemakings Aimed at Curbing Unfair and Deceptive Mortgage Practices. On May 29, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it is seeking public comment on two advance notices of proposed rulemaking that address unfair and deceptive practices in the mortgage industry. The first rulemaking, the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rulemaking, seeks to assess whether the FTC should promulgate rules to protect consumers utilizing loan-modification and foreclosure-rescue services. Specifically, the FTC seeks comment on whether it should restrict providers of loan-modification and foreclosure-rescue services from accepting advanced fees from consumers. The second rulemaking, the Mortgage Acts and Practices rulemaking, seeks to assess whether, and to what extent, the FTC should promulgate rules that would regulate, in connection with mortgage lending, (i) advertising and marketing, (ii) origination, including underwriting, loan terms, and disclosures, (iii) appraisals, and (iv) servicing. The proposed rules would not apply to banks, thrifts, and federal credit unions, which are not within the FTC’s jurisdiction under FTC Act. The comment period for the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rulemaking ends July 15, 2009, and the comment period for the Mortgage Acts and Practices ends July 30, 2009. For a copy of the advance notices of proposed rulemaking, please click here.

Letter to Chairman Bernanke Urges Stronger Regulation of Bank Overdraft Programs. On May 27, U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank called for stronger regulation of bank overdraft programs in a letter to Federal Reserve Board (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke. The letter urges the Fed to require banks to implement opt-in, instead of opt-out, programs regarding overdraft protection for debit cards and ATM transactions. The letter cites a survey conducted by the Center for Responsible Lending in March 2009 indicating that 80% of consumers who want a choice about overdraft protection would prefer an opt-in program. The letter also urges the Fed to prohibit banks from posting transactions in a sequence that could maximize overdraft fees (as would be provided by HR 1456, a bill that was most recently considered at a subcommittee meeting on March 19). For a copy of the letter, please click here.

FTC Charges Mortgage Foreclosure Rescue Company with FTC Act Violation. On May 19, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged a mortgage foreclosure "rescue" company with violating the FTC Act by falsely promising Spanish-speaking consumers that the company could stop foreclosures and/or obtain mortgage loan modifications. The FTC noted that consumers have paid at least $3.3 million to the company. On May 27, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a temporary restraining order against the company at the FTC’s request. The order, among other things, temporarily froze the assets of the company. For a copy of the press release, please click here. For a copy of the temporary restraining order, please click here.

HUD Issues Mortgagee Letter to Announce Changes to Annual Renewal Process. On May 22, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued Mortgagee Letter 2009-17 to announce that HUD will be instituting changes to its annual renewal process for lenders approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). HUD will soon replace the paper version of the Yearly Verification Report (“V-Form”) with an automated Annual Certification process to be completed on the FHA Connection website. Only corporate officers and principal owners on file with HUD with authority to legally bind the corporation or entity may complete the Annual Certification; as a result, all FHA-approved lenders must confirm and/or update officer and owner information currently on file with FHA Connection. For a copy of the letter, please click here.

State Issues

California Department of Corporations Adopts Final Rule Implementing the California Foreclosure Prevention Act. On May 21, the California Department of Corporations issued final regulations clarifying the application of the California Foreclosure Prevention Act (CFPA) as it relates to mortgage loan servicers. Under the CFPA, servicers must wait an additional 90 days (in addition to the period already provided by law) before filing a Notice of Sale. However, the CFPA waives this requirement for any servicer establishing a comprehensive loan modification program. To qualify for the exemption, servicers must submit an application demonstrating that, at a minimum, the servicer’s comprehensive loan modification program will be available for residential mortgage loans meeting certain criteria. Any servicer participating in Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program presumptively satisfies the standards for implementing a comprehensive loan modification program. The final rule goes into effect June 1. For a copy of the rule, which includes a sample exemption application, please click here

Georgia Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Orders Against Unlicensed Loan Purchasers. The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance recently announced that it has issued final cease and desist orders against three unlicensed purchasers of Georgia residential mortgage loans. The orders indicate that county court filings establish the alleged unlicensed activity. For a copy of the cease and desist orders, please see http://1.usa.gov/nuNoUohttp://1.usa.gov/qnf5nx, and http://1.usa.gov/o8ERJx.

Alabama Enacts SAFE Act Legislation. On May 21, Alabama Governor Robert Riley signed SB 249. The bill implements the mandate of the federal Safe and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 by providing for the licensing of all mortgage loan originators under the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. In addition to technical amendments, the bill prescribes loan originator requirements relating to licensing, prior and continuing education, testing, minimum net worth, and surety bond coverage. The bill becomes effective June 1, 2009, with licensing provisions becoming effective as early as July 1, 2010. For a copy of the bill, please click here.

Alabama Enacts Alabama Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. Alabama Governor Robert Riley recently signed SB 90, a bill that enacts the “Alabama Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act.” SB 90 allows for (i) the electronic recording of documents that must otherwise, by law, be original, and (ii) the electronic signature of documents that must otherwise, by law, be signed, notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath. SB 90 also establishes the Alabama Electronic Recording Commission, which is authorized to adopt and enforce electronic recording and signature standards. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2010. For a copy of the bill, please click here.

Pennsylvania Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Modification Companies. On May 22, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking issued a cease and desist order against, and suspended the license of, the Philadelphia-based U.S. Mortgage Group, Inc. The company allegedly refused to answer questions from the department and provide documentation about its mortgage activities. Additionally, on May 21, the department ordered six non-Pennsylvania modification companies to cease unlicensed operations. The companies are ApplyLoanMod.com, ClearHomeRelief, U.S. Loan Assistance Center, and CaliforniaHomeForeclosureFighter (all of California), Mortgage Solutions Clearing House (of Florida), and American Foreclosure Specialists (of Oklahoma). For a copy of the press releases, please see http://bit.ly/pXitqY  and http://bit.ly/q3Qu9X.

Courts

Arkansas Federal Court Holds HOLA Does Not Completely Preempt Arkansas Law Regarding Non-Judicial Foreclosures. On May 21, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas held that the federal Home Owner’s Loan Act (HOLA) does not completely preempt Arkansas law governing non-judicial foreclosures. Cole v. Pinter, No. 08-6108, 2009 WL 1441470 (W.D. Ark. May 21, 2009). In Cole, the plaintiff contested the legality of a property sale under Arkansas law governing non-judicial foreclosures. In response, one of the defendants attempted to remove the case to federal court, arguing that HOLA completely preempts the Arkansas statute. In finding that HOLA does not completely preempt the Arkansas statute, the court reasoned that (i) HOLA contains no private right of action, and only provides for governmental enforcement, (ii) there is no Congressional intent behind HOLA to allow such a removal, and (iii) no provisions of HOLA or its implementing regulations specifically address the mechanics of foreclosure. As a result, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and remanded the case to state court. For a copy of the opinion, please click here.

New Jersey Federal Court Holds FTC Holder Rule Applicable to RESPA Claims But Inapplicable to TILA Claims. On May 18, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey held that whether a loan assignee is subject to liability under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) depends on the application of the FTC Holder Rule, while liability under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) depends on the application of TILA’s assignee-liability provision. Carmen v. Metrocities Mortgage Corp., No. 08-2729, 2009 WL 1416038 (D.N.J. May 18, 2009). The plaintiffs in Carmen sued, among other parties, the assignee of their mortgage loan, claiming, among other things, violations of TILA and RESPA in connection with the origination and servicing of the loan. The assignee moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to plead the circumstances necessary to invoke assignee liability under TILA and failed to allege any facts suggesting it violated RESPA. The plaintiffs countered that the assignee was liable under TILA and RESPA pursuant to the FTC Holder Rule. The court disagreed regarding the TILA claims, holding that TILA’s own assignee liability provision would be determinative, and that the plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to satisfy that provision. However, because RESPA does not contain its own assignee liability provision, the court held that the assignee could be held liable under RESPA pursuant to the FTC Holder Rule. For a copy of the opinion, please click here.

Firm News

Jon Jerison will be presenting at an audio conference on June 4, “The HELOC Balancing Act – Consumer Laws and Agency Guidance”. Please see http://www.aspratt.com/store/10100609.php for additional details about this conference sponsored by AS Pratt.

Margo Tank will be speaking in an audio conference series entitled "Building Effective Electronic Records and Electronic Records Management Systems: Navigating the Legal Traps" on June 10, 2009. Please see http://www.alexinformation.com/store/39N.php#author for more information on the conference.

An interview with Andrew Sandler was featured in the Women in Housing and Finance Spring News Journal.

Mortgages

Federal Banking Agencies Issue Joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding SAFE Act. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Farm Credit Administration, and the National Credit Union Administration (collectively, the Agencies) recently made a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to amend agency rules to implement the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act). The proposal implements the mandate of the SAFE Act by providing that regulated institutions require any employees acting as residential mortgage loan originators to comply with the SAFE Act’s requirements to register with and obtain a unique identifier from the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. Additionally, regulated institutions must adopt and follow written policies and procedures designed to assure compliance with the Act’s requirements. The Agencies are specifically requesting comment on whether the de minimus exception of 25 or fewer mortgage loan originations is appropriate and under what circumstances (i.e. if the exception should be event specific). The Agencies are also specifically requesting comment on whether the definition of "mortgage loan originator" should cover individuals who (i) modify existing residential mortgage loans, (ii) engage in approving mortgage loan assumptions, (iii) engage in certain refinancing transactions, and (iv) engage in loan modification and limited refinancing activities. The Agencies additionally request comment on whether the final rule should be consistent with state licensing and registration requirements for individuals who engage in loan modifications, assumptions, and refinancings. Comments are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register. For a copy of the proposed rulemaking, please emailinfobytes@buckleysandler.com.

FTC Initiates Rulemakings Aimed at Curbing Unfair and Deceptive Mortgage Practices. On May 29, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it is seeking public comment on two advance notices of proposed rulemaking that address unfair and deceptive practices in the mortgage industry. The first rulemaking, the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rulemaking, seeks to assess whether the FTC should promulgate rules to protect consumers utilizing loan-modification and foreclosure-rescue services. Specifically, the FTC seeks comment on whether it should restrict providers of loan-modification and foreclosure-rescue services from accepting advanced fees from consumers. The second rulemaking, the Mortgage Acts and Practices rulemaking, seeks to assess whether, and to what extent, the FTC should promulgate rules that would regulate, in connection with mortgage lending, (i) advertising and marketing, (ii) origination, including underwriting, loan terms, and disclosures, (iii) appraisals, and (iv) servicing. The proposed rules would not apply to banks, thrifts, and federal credit unions, which are not within the FTC’s jurisdiction under FTC Act. The comment period for the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rulemaking ends July 15, 2009, and the comment period for the Mortgage Acts and Practices ends July 30, 2009. For a copy of the advance notices of proposed rulemaking, please click here.

FTC Charges Mortgage Foreclosure Rescue Company with FTC Act Violation. On May 19, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged a mortgage foreclosure "rescue" company with violating the FTC Act by falsely promising Spanish-speaking consumers that the company could stop foreclosures and/or obtain mortgage loan modifications. The FTC noted that consumers have paid at least $3.3 million to the company. On May 27, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a temporary restraining order against the company at the FTC’s request. The order, among other things, temporarily froze the assets of the company. For a copy of the press release, please click hereFor a copy of the temporary restraining order, please click here.

HUD Issues Mortgagee Letter to Announce Changes to Annual Renewal Process. On May 22, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued Mortgagee Letter 2009-17 to announce that HUD will be instituting changes to its annual renewal process for lenders approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). HUD will soon replace the paper version of the Yearly Verification Report (“V-Form”) with an automated Annual Certification process to be completed on the FHA Connection website. Only corporate officers and principal owners on file with HUD with authority to legally bind the corporation or entity may complete the Annual Certification; as a result, all FHA-approved lenders must confirm and/or update officer and owner information currently on file with FHA Connection. For a copy of the letter, please click here.

California Department of Corporations Adopts Final Rule Implementing the California Foreclosure Prevention Act. On May 21, the California Department of Corporations issued final regulations clarifying the application of the California Foreclosure Prevention Act (CFPA) as it relates to mortgage loan servicers. Under the CFPA, servicers must wait an additional 90 days (in addition to the period already provided by law) before filing a Notice of Sale. However, the CFPA waives this requirement for any servicer establishing a comprehensive loan modification program. To qualify for the exemption, servicers must submit an application demonstrating that, at a minimum, the servicer’s comprehensive loan modification program will be available for residential mortgage loans meeting certain criteria. Any servicer participating in Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program presumptively satisfies the standards for implementing a comprehensive loan modification program. The final rule goes into effect June 1. For a copy of the rule, which includes a sample exemption application, please click here.

Georgia Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Orders Against Unlicensed Loan Purchasers. The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance recently announced that it has issued final cease and desist orders against three unlicensed purchasers of Georgia residential mortgage loans. The orders indicate that county court filings establish the alleged unlicensed activity. For a copy of the cease and desist orders, please see http://1.usa.gov/nuNoUohttp://1.usa.gov/qnf5nx, and http://1.usa.gov/o8ERJx.

Alabama Enacts SAFE Act Legislation. On May 21, Alabama Governor Robert Riley signed SB 249. The bill implements the mandate of the federal Safe and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 by providing for the licensing of all mortgage loan originators under the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. In addition to technical amendments, the bill prescribes loan originator requirements relating to licensing, prior and continuing education, testing, minimum net worth, and surety bond coverage. The bill becomes effective June 1, 2009, with licensing provisions becoming effective as early as July 1, 2010. For a copy of the bill, please click here.

Alabama Enacts Alabama Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. Alabama Governor Robert Riley recently signed SB 90, a bill that enacts the “Alabama Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act.” SB 90 allows for (i) the electronic recording of documents that must otherwise, by law, be original, and (ii) the electronic signature of documents that must otherwise, by law, be signed, notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath. SB 90 also establishes the Alabama Electronic Recording Commission, which is authorized to adopt and enforce electronic recording and signature standards. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2010. For a copy of the bill, please click here.

Pennsylvania Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Modification Companies. On May 22, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking issued a cease and desist order against, and suspended the license of, the Philadelphia-based U.S. Mortgage Group, Inc. The company allegedly refused to answer questions from the department and provide documentation about its mortgage activities. Additionally, on May 21, the department ordered six non-Pennsylvania modification companies to cease unlicensed operations. The companies are ApplyLoanMod.com, ClearHomeRelief, U.S. Loan Assistance Center, and CaliforniaHomeForeclosureFighter (all of California), Mortgage Solutions Clearing House (of Florida), and American Foreclosure Specialists (of Oklahoma). For a copy of the press releases, please see http://bit.ly/pXitqY  and http://bit.ly/q3Qu9X.

Arkansas Federal Court Holds HOLA Does Not Completely Preempt Arkansas Law Regarding Non-Judicial Foreclosures. On May 21, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas held that the federal Home Owner’s Loan Act (HOLA) does not completely preempt Arkansas law governing non-judicial foreclosures. Cole v. Pinter, No. 08-6108, 2009 WL 1441470 (W.D. Ark. May 21, 2009). In Cole, the plaintiff contested the legality of a property sale under Arkansas law governing non-judicial foreclosures. In response, one of the defendants attempted to remove the case to federal court, arguing that HOLA completely preempts the Arkansas statute. In finding that HOLA does not completely preempt the Arkansas statute, the court reasoned that (i) HOLA contains no private right of action, and only provides for governmental enforcement, (ii) there is no Congressional intent behind HOLA to allow such a removal, and (iii) no provisions of HOLA or its implementing regulations specifically address the mechanics of foreclosure. As a result, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and remanded the case to state court. For a copy of the opinion, please click here.

New Jersey Federal Court Holds FTC Holder Rule Applicable to RESPA Claims But Inapplicable to TILA Claims. On May 18, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey held that whether a loan assignee is subject to liability under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) depends on the application of the FTC Holder Rule, while liability under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) depends on the application of TILA’s assignee-liability provision. Carmen v. Metrocities Mortgage Corp., No. 08-2729, 2009 WL 1416038 (D.N.J. May 18, 2009). The plaintiffs in Carmen sued, among other parties, the assignee of their mortgage loan, claiming, among other things, violations of TILA and RESPA in connection with the origination and servicing of the loan. The assignee moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to plead the circumstances necessary to invoke assignee liability under TILA and failed to allege any facts suggesting it violated RESPA. The plaintiffs countered that the assignee was liable under TILA and RESPA pursuant to the FTC Holder Rule. The court disagreed regarding the TILA claims, holding that TILA’s own assignee liability provision would be determinative, and that the plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to satisfy that provision. However, because RESPA does not contain its own assignee liability provision, the court held that the assignee could be held liable under RESPA pursuant to the FTC Holder Rule. For a copy of the opinion, please click here.

Banking

Letter to Chairman Bernanke Urges Stronger Regulation of Bank Overdraft Programs. On May 27, U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank called for stronger regulation of bank overdraft programs in a letter to Federal Reserve Board (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke. The letter urges the Fed to require banks to implement opt-in, instead of opt-out, programs regarding overdraft protection for debit cards and ATM transactions. The letter cites a survey conducted by the Center for Responsible Lending in March 2009 indicating that 80% of consumers who want a choice about overdraft protection would prefer an opt-in program. The letter also urges the Fed to prohibit banks from posting transactions in a sequence that could maximize overdraft fees (as would be provided by HR 1456, a bill that was most recently considered at a subcommittee meeting on March 19). For a copy of the letter, please click here.

Consumer Finance

FTC Initiates Rulemakings Aimed at Curbing Unfair and Deceptive Mortgage Practices. On May 29, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it is seeking public comment on two advance notices of proposed rulemaking that address unfair and deceptive practices in the mortgage industry. The first rulemaking, the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rulemaking, seeks to assess whether the FTC should promulgate rules to protect consumers utilizing loan-modification and foreclosure-rescue services. Specifically, the FTC seeks comment on whether it should restrict providers of loan-modification and foreclosure-rescue services from accepting advanced fees from consumers. The second rulemaking, the Mortgage Acts and Practices rulemaking, seeks to assess whether, and to what extent, the FTC should promulgate rules that would regulate, in connection with mortgage lending, (i) advertising and marketing, (ii) origination, including underwriting, loan terms, and disclosures, (iii) appraisals, and (iv) servicing. The proposed rules would not apply to banks, thrifts, and federal credit unions, which are not within the FTC’s jurisdiction under FTC Act. The comment period for the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rulemaking ends July 15, 2009, and the comment period for the Mortgage Acts and Practices ends July 30, 2009. For a copy of the advance notices of proposed rulemaking, please click here.

Litigation

Arkansas Federal Court Holds HOLA Does Not Completely Preempt Arkansas Law Regarding Non-Judicial Foreclosures. On May 21, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas held that the federal Home Owner’s Loan Act (HOLA) does not completely preempt Arkansas law governing non-judicial foreclosures. Cole v. Pinter, No. 08-6108, 2009 WL 1441470 (W.D. Ark. May 21, 2009). In Cole, the plaintiff contested the legality of a property sale under Arkansas law governing non-judicial foreclosures. In response, one of the defendants attempted to remove the case to federal court, arguing that HOLA completely preempts the Arkansas statute. In finding that HOLA does not completely preempt the Arkansas statute, the court reasoned that (i) HOLA contains no private right of action, and only provides for governmental enforcement, (ii) there is no Congressional intent behind HOLA to allow such a removal, and (iii) no provisions of HOLA or its implementing regulations specifically address the mechanics of foreclosure. As a result, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and remanded the case to state court. For a copy of the opinion, please click here.

New Jersey Federal Court Holds FTC Holder Rule Applicable to RESPA Claims But Inapplicable to TILA Claims. On May 18, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey held that whether a loan assignee is subject to liability under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) depends on the application of the FTC Holder Rule, while liability under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) depends on the application of TILA’s assignee-liability provision. Carmen v. Metrocities Mortgage Corp., No. 08-2729, 2009 WL 1416038 (D.N.J. May 18, 2009). The plaintiffs in Carmen sued, among other parties, the assignee of their mortgage loan, claiming, among other things, violations of TILA and RESPA in connection with the origination and servicing of the loan. The assignee moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to plead the circumstances necessary to invoke assignee liability under TILA and failed to allege any facts suggesting it violated RESPA. The plaintiffs countered that the assignee was liable under TILA and RESPA pursuant to the FTC Holder Rule. The court disagreed regarding the TILA claims, holding that TILA’s own assignee liability provision would be determinative, and that the plaintiffs failed to plead facts sufficient to satisfy that provision. However, because RESPA does not contain its own assignee liability provision, the court held that the assignee could be held liable under RESPA pursuant to the FTC Holder Rule. For a copy of the opinion, please click here.

E-Financial Services

Alabama Enacts Alabama Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. Alabama Governor Robert Riley recently signed SB 90, a bill that enacts the “Alabama Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act.” SB 90 allows for (i) the electronic recording of documents that must otherwise, by law, be original, and (ii) the electronic signature of documents that must otherwise, by law, be signed, notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath. SB 90 also establishes the Alabama Electronic Recording Commission, which is authorized to adopt and enforce electronic recording and signature standards. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2010. For a copy of the bill, please click here.