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  • CFPB’s Summer Edition of Supervisory Highlights Discloses Findings Across Many Financial Services Areas

    Consumer Finance

    On September 12, the CFPB released its summer 2017 Supervisory Highlights, which outlines its supervisory and oversight actions in areas such as auto loan servicing, credit card account management, debt collection, deposit account supervision, mortgage origination and servicing, remittances, service provider programs, short-term small-dollar lending, and fair lending. According to the Supervisory Highlights, recent supervisory resolutions have “resulted in total restitution payments of approximately $14 million to more than 104,000 consumers during the review period” between January 2017 and June 2017.

    As examples, in the area of auto loan servicing, examiners discovered vehicles were being repossessed even though the repossession should have been cancelled. Coding errors, document mishandling, and failure to timely cancel the repossession order were cited causes. Regarding fair lending examination findings, the CFPB discovered, in general, “deficiencies in oversight by board and senior management, monitoring and corrective action processes, compliance audits, and oversight of third-party service providers.” Examiners also conducted ECOA Baseline Reviews on mortgage servicers and discovered weaknesses in servicers’ fair lending compliance management systems. Findings in other areas include the following:

    • consumers were provided inaccurate information about when bank checking account service fees would be waived, and banks misrepresented overdraft protection;
    • debt collectors engaged in improper debt collection practices related to short-term, small-dollar loans, including attempts to collect debts owed by a different person or contacting third parties about consumers’ debts;
    • companies overcharged mortgage closing fees or wrongly charged application fees that are prohibited by the Bureau’s Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rules; and
    • borrowers were denied the opportunity to take full advantage of the mortgage loss mitigation options, and mortgage servicers failed to “exercise reasonable diligence in collecting information needed to complete the borrower’s application.”

    The Bureau also set forth new examination procedures for HMDA data collection and reporting requirements as well as student loan servicers, in addition to providing guidance for covered persons and service providers regarding pay-by-phone fee assessments.

    Consumer Finance CFPB Enforcement Auto Finance Credit Cards Debt Collection Fair Lending ECOA Compliance Mortgage Origination Mortgage Servicing HMDA Student Lending

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  • OCC Issues Guidance for Banks Originating Mortgages with LTV Ratios Greater than 100 Percent as Part of Community Revitalization Efforts

    Lending

    On August 21, in an effort to assist in revitalizing distressed communities, the OCC released guidance for national banks and federal savings associations considering owner-occupied residential mortgage originations with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios greater than 100 percent. Bulletin 2017-28 includes, among other thing, the program criteria, which includes (i) permanent first-lien mortgages with LTV ratios exceeding 100 percent at time of origination, without mortgage insurance or other acceptable collateral, and with an original loan balance of $200,000 or less, (ii) communities that are “officially targeted for revitalization by a federal, state, or municipal government entity or agency,” (iii) a set of program policies and procedures, and (iv) providing notice to the OCC thirty days prior to starting or modifying a program.

    Established programs will be actively monitored and evaluated to examine the performance of the LTV loans, and the programs as a whole will be evaluated at least annually to determine the extent to which they are aiding in revitalization efforts. Depending on its findings, the OCC reserves the right to amend or rescind Bulletin 2017-28, but maintains that any loans originated in agreement with the required provisions will not be affected “solely because of any measurable amendment or rescission of this [B]ulletin.”“Bank lending under such a program may serve the credit needs of individual borrowers and the community, and the bank may receive Community Reinvestment Act consideration depending on the specifics of the program,” the OCC noted.

    Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC CRA Mortgage Origination LTV Ratio

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  • DOJ Announces Settlements with Non-Bank Mortgage Lender to Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Violations

    Lending

    On August 8, the DOJ announced a $74.5 million settlement with a non-bank mortgage lender and certain affiliates to resolve potential claims that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly originating and underwriting mortgage loans insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Administration (VA), and by selling certain loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that did not meet applicable requirements. According to the terms of the two settlement agreements, $65 million of the settlement will be paid to resolve allegations relating to FHA loans, and $9.45 million will be paid to resolve potential civil claims relating to certain specified VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans. The settlements also fully resolved a False Claims Act qui tam lawsuit that had been pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

    The settlement included no admission of liability by the lender. The lender issued a statement responding to the settlements: “We have agreed to resolve these matters, which cover certain legacy origination and underwriting activities, without admitting liability, in order to avoid the distraction and expense of potential litigation. While we cooperated fully in these investigations since receiving subpoenas in 2013, we concluded that settling these matters is in the best interest of [the company] and its constituents.”

    Lending Mortgages False Claims Act / FIRREA Mortgage Origination HUD Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHA Settlement DOJ Nonbank Supervision

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  • Connecticut Governor Enacts Law Regarding Compliance Requirements for Mortgage Licensees

    State Issues

    On July 11, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 17-233 (H.B. 7141), which makes various revisions to the state’s banking laws. Among other things, the law (i) applies certain mortgage servicers’ and student loan servicers’ prohibited acts to other licensees; (ii) requires non-depository licensees to maintain and enforce compliance policies and procedures; (iii) allows the banking commissioner to require the use of electronic bonds for licensed or registered individuals to participate in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System;  (iv) reduces pre-licensing education requirements for mortgage loan originators, loan processors, and underwriters; and (v) sets limits for money transmitters regarding virtual currency transactions and timeframes for transmitting money. The law takes effect October 1, 2017, with provisions relating to compliance policies and procedures taking effect July 1, 2018, and pre-licensing education requirements taking effect January 1, 2019.

    State Issues State Legislation Mortgages Mortgage Origination Compliance

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  • CFPB Seeks Comments on Proposed Amendments to HMDA Reporting Threshold

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 14, the CFPB announced and requested comments on proposed amendments to Regulation C, which concerns reporting requirements for banks and credit unions issuing home-equity lines of credit under HMDA. The amendments would raise the threshold from 100 loans to 500 for calendar years 2018 and 2019 to ease the burden on small-volume lenders. During this time, the Bureau will determine based on feedback whether the threshold should be permanently changed. The comment period ends July 31, 2017.

    As previously reported in InfoBytes, earlier this year the Bureau solicited and received comments on its proposal to clarify data collection and reporting requirements under the 2015 HMDA rule. The amendments are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2018.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB HMDA Lending Mortgage Origination

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  • Financial Services Associations Comment on CFPB’s HMDA Proposal

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    As previously covered in an InfoBytes Special Alert, the CFPB issued a request for comment on its proposal to amend the 2015 HMDA rule, which would incorporate changes primarily for the purpose of clarifying data collection and reporting requirements. The request, which closed for public comment on May 25, received 46 public comments from several banking and credit union industry associations.

    Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). On May 25, the MBA—a national association representing the real estate financial industry—submitted a comment letter outlining outstanding issues and calling upon the Bureau to provide clarifying and technical corrections to Regulation C, which implements HMDA. The MBA outlined the following points, among others, for consideration:

    • delay the effective date of the Final Rule and amendments pending completion of key actions in the following areas: “HMDA data collection portals; publication and implementation of data quality edits; geocoder production release and integration specs; data privacy concerns; resubmission expectations; updated filing instructions guides; guidance on reporting and collection issues; impacts of the proposed amendments; uniform residential loan application; government monitoring information”;
    • address recommendations pertaining to multifamily lending: (i) “multifamily loans should not be subject to HMDA reporting”; (ii) “purchases and assumptions of multifamily loans should be exempt from introductory rate period reporting”; (iii) “the CFPB should accept simplified reporting from smaller-volume HMDA reporters, particularly smaller-volume multifamily reporters”; and (iv) “further consideration and clarification of the multifamily definition is needed”; and
    • a one-year delay would allow the CFPB to address privacy concerns that “might dictate that certain data not be disclosed publicly,” thereby giving the Bureau time to “reconsider whether the many data points required under Dodd-Frank . . . should be required.”

    According to the CFPB’s request for comment, most of the amendments in the Final Rule are to go into effect January 1, 2018; however, the MBA noted that data collection must commence in 2017 for loan applications that may become reportable in 2018. Therefore, the MBA urged the Bureau to delay implementation for at least one year to allow sufficient time for data collection and reporting which would give the CFPB “time to provide much-needed information and materials, and to allow HMDA reporters more time to finalize and implement the changes effectively.”

    American Bankers Association (ABA). Separately, on May 25, the ABA submitted a comment letter opining that many of the Bureau’s “technical corrections, clarifying amendments or minor changes” are “substantive in nature” and require a more comprehensive and formal process to “identify industry questions and proposed solutions.” Specifically, among other things, the ABA emphasized the following recommendations:

    • the January 1, 2018 effective date of the Final Rule should be “suspended immediately” in order to “promote the orderly, coordinated, and thorough consideration and resolution of all the interrelated issues presented and to make sure that all of the privacy and security issues are adequately addressed”;
    • the CFPB should consider updating, rather than discontinuing, its reference tool for lenders entitled A Guide to HMDA: Getting it Right;
    • several categories require further clarification: loans in process or loans originated before but purchased after the rule’s effective date; multifamily dwellings; home improvement loans; temporary financing; the threshold for reporting; counteroffers; applicant or borrower’s reported income; the annual percentage rate; rate spreads and rate set dates; reporting when there are no closing disclosures; corrected disclosures; the unique loan identifier; the geocoding tool’s use; and information pertaining to ethnicity and race; and
    • pending guidance on error resolution and software required for reporters should be finalized “as soon as possible,” and regulations on privacy and data security should be proposed “with the utmost speed.”

    “Piecemeal corrections based on informal and anecdotal evidence only adds to regulatory burden, which adds costs to borrowers and reduces access to mortgage credit,” the ABA noted.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Lending HMDA Mortgage Origination CFPB ABA

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  • Massachusetts Regulator Offers Interpretation of Mortgage Loan Originator Exclusivity Requirement

    State Issues

    On May 10, the Division of Banks of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations (Division) issued a letter determining that a professional employer organization (PEO) may provide limited human resources services to Massachusetts licensed mortgage lenders and brokers without violating an exclusivity requirement governing the employment of mortgage loan originators in the Commonwealth. The exclusivity requirement prohibits Massachusetts licensed mortgage loan originators from being employed by more than one “entity,” which, as defined by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 255F, Section 4(b), effectively prohibits a mortgage loan originator from being employed by more than one mortgage lender or broker. The opinion letter stems from a request made last year from a Massachusetts-based human resources service provider (Service Provider) inquiring as to whether the exclusivity requirement prohibits Massachusetts licensed mortgage lenders and brokers employing mortgage loan originators from outsourcing human resource services. The Service Provider—operating as a PEO—stated that it provides human resources services to small business clients, and while it is deemed the “employer” of the client's employees solely for designated human resource functions, the client remains the employer for all other purposes. Because of this, and since the Service Provider offers functions that are unrelated to a loan originator's mortgage industry work, the Division asserted “that the exclusivity provision . . . operates to limit a mortgage loan originator to a single licensed mortgage broker or lender for purposes of the originator's mortgage industry work.” Accordingly, the Division concluded that the Service Provider may provide its services to Massachusetts licensed mortgage lenders and brokers without violating the exclusivity requirement.

    State Issues Mortgage Origination Mortgage Lenders

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  • Maryland and Tennessee Expand Use of Reporting Requirements for Money Services Businesses

    State Issues

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Nationwide Licensing System (NMLS) for Money Services Businesses (MSBs) recently unveiled the MSB Call Report that standardizes and streamlines routine reporting requirements for state-licensed MSBs. On April 18, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law HB 182, which requires specified licensees to obtain and maintain a valid unique identifier and transfer licensing information to the NMLS. The law will go into effect July 1, 2017. Among those who must now register with NMLS are check cashers, collection agencies, consumer lenders, debt management service providers, credit service businesses, and sales finance companies. Licenses for mortgage lenders, mortgage originators, and money transmitters are already processed through NMLS. The Commissioner of Financial Regulation is charged with establishing a time period that is “not less 2 months within which a licensee must transfer licensing information to the NMLS.” Furthermore, at least 30 days before the transfer period begins, the Commissioner shall notify all licensees of the transfer period and provide instructions for the transfer of licensing information to NMLS.

    On April 12, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam enacted SB 1202, authorizing Tennessee’s Department of Financial Institutions to license industrial loan and thrift companies, title lenders, and individuals regulated under the Check Cashing Act or the Premium Finance Company Act through a multi-state automated licensing system. The law allows for the sharing of information—subject to specified confidentiality requirements—with state and federal regulatory officials having consumer finance industry oversight authority or finance industry oversight. Licenses for these types of entities will expire on December 31 of each year. The law includes staged effective dates, the first being July 1, 2017.

    State Issues Consumer Finance Lending NMLS Mortgage Origination Licensing

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  • Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System Unveils New Money Services Businesses Call Report

    State Issues

    On April 1, the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) Money Services Businesses (MSB) unveiled “the first comprehensive report to consolidate state MSB reporting requirements and provide a database of nationwide MSB transaction activity.” It also allows licensees to report directly in NMLS  for all states on a quarterly and annual basis. The release of the MSB Call Report culminates “a multi-year effort by state regulators to develop a tool to standardize and streamline routine reporting requirements for state-licensed Money Services Businesses”—including money transmitters, check cashers, and prepaid card issuers. The MSB Call Report contains three sections: (i) “company financial information”; (ii) “information about the licensee’s company and state level transactional activity”; (iii) “company permissible investments information”; (iv) “and transaction destination country information.” According to the MSB Call Report webpage, 18 state agencies will adopt the MSB Call Report for Q1 2017 reporting.

    NMLS is the system of record for non-depository, financial services licensing or registration in participating state, territory and local agencies. Although NMLS does not grant or deny license authority, it does—in participating jurisdictions—serve as the official system for companies and individuals seeking to apply for, amend, renew and surrender licenses. NMLS is also the sole system of licensure for mortgage companies and the system of record for the registration of depositories, subsidiaries of depositories, and Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) under the CFPB’s Regulation G (S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act—Federal Registration of Residential Mortgage Loan Originators).

    Additional information and a list of the state agencies that have adopted the report as of March 2017 can be accessed through the NMLS Resource Center.

    State Issues Lending NMLS Call Report Mortgage Origination Licensing

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  • FHFA: No Increase on Multifamily Loan Caps for GSEs

    Federal Issues

    On November 22, FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s caps for multifamily lending will remain at $36.5 billion for 2017. The determination was based on the agency’s projection that the overall size of the multifamily finance market will remain roughly the same as it was in 2016. Multifamily loans in designated affordable and underserved segments will remain excluded from the caps.

    Federal Issues Mortgages Freddie Mac Fannie Mae Mortgage Origination Mortgage Servicing HUD FHFA

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