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  • Fannie Mae updates Servicing Guide with streamlined mortgage insurance claims processing

    Federal Issues

    On August 15, Fannie Mae issued SVC-2018-05, which updates the Servicing Guide to include, among other things, a streamlined mortgage insurance (MI) claims process with certain mortgage insurers to “reduce the operational burden and cost associated with the process for servicers.” While servicers will continue to submit claims in accordance with the MI policy, participating mortgage insurers will now process all claims using an algorithm named the “MI Factor.” Effective October 1, claims settled using the MI Factor will not be subject to the curtailment billing process and servicers will not be required to submit supplemental claim submissions and claim appeals to the mortgage insurer. Fannie Mae also updated its Servicing Guide to include (i) clarification of the servicer’s responsibilities for addressing urgent property conditions; (ii) policy reminders regarding insured loss repay inspection reimbursements; and (iii) notification thresholds and timing requirements regarding the transfer of default-related matters between law firms within a single state.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Servicing Guide Mortgage Insurance Mortgage Servicing

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  • CFPB Succession: Bureau reportedly no longer examining for MLA compliance

    Federal Issues

    According to reports citing “internal agency documents,” acting Director of the CFPB Mick Mulvaney intends to cease supervisory examinations of the Military Lending Act (MLA), contending the law does not explicitly prescribe the Bureau the authority to examine financial institutions for compliance with the MLA. In 2013, amendments to the MLA granted enforcement authority to the same agencies with administrative enforcement power under TILA, including the Bureau, but these amendments did not also provide these same agencies with the statutory authority to supervise institutions for compliance with the MLA. The Bureau currently includes the MLA in the statutory- and regulation-based procedures section of the Supervision and Examination Manual and has not released a formal statement in response to reports of this supervisory change.

    Federal Issues Supervision Compliance Examination Military Lending Act CFPB

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  • Federal Reserve Board fines national bank $8.6 million for legacy mortgage documentation deficiencies

    Federal Issues

    On August 10, the Federal Reserve Board (Board) announced a settlement with a national bank for legacy mortgage servicing issues related to the improper preparation and notarization of lost note affidavits. Under the consent order, the Board assessed an $8.6 million civil money penalty for alleged safety and soundness violations under Section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. The Board emphasized that the bank’s servicing subsidiary replaced the documents with properly executed and notarized affidavits and, as of September 2017, the subsidiary no longer participated in the mortgage servicing business. The Board also announced the termination, due to “sustainable improvements,” of a 2011 enforcement action against the national bank and its subsidiary related to residential mortgage loan servicing.

    Federal Issues Enforcement Civil Money Penalties Mortgages FDI Act

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  • Fannie Mae issues updated mortgage industry alert in California

    Federal Issues

    Recently, Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Fraud Program issued an industry alert to mortgage companies operating in California regarding the use of false employment information by mortgage loan applicants. (See previous coverage in InfoBytes here). Fannie Mae extended its alert to Northern California and identified additional employers whose existence could not be verified by Fannie Mae. The alert provides “red flags” to help lenders and originators identify potential mortgage fraud when reviewing employment information.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Mortgages Fraud State Issues

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  • CFPB settles unauthorized payday loan allegations

    Federal Issues

    On August 10, the CFPB announced a settlement with multiple defendants that allegedly made unauthorized payday loans. The settlement results from a 2014 complaint that alleged, among other things, that the defendants accessed consumer checking accounts to illegally deposit the proceeds of payday loans and withdraw related fees without consumer consent. The stipulated final judgment and order, among other things, (i) imposes a penalty of up to approximately $69 million if the defendants fail to fully comply with the operative terms of the settlement; (ii) prohibits the defendants from performing similar activities in the future; and (iii) assesses a civil money penalty of $1, in part based on the defendants’ inability to pay.

    On July 23, as previously covered by InfoBytes, a court approved a stipulated final judgment and order against one of the defendants, who neither admitted nor denied the Bureau’s allegations, for a civil money penalty of $1 (based, in part, on his inability to pay) and agreement to fully cooperate with the Bureau.

    Federal Issues CFPB Enforcement Payday Lending

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  • OCC, FDIC provide guidance to institutions affected by California wildfires

    Federal Issues

    On August 9, the OCC issued a statement permitting OCC-regulated institutions to close their offices affected by wildfires in California. OCC Bulletin 2012-28 provides further guidance on natural disasters and other emergency conditions. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here). On the same day, the FDIC also provided guidance related to California wildfires in FIL-41-2018. Among other things, the FDIC is encouraging institutions to consider extending repayment terms and restructuring existing loans that may be affected.

    Federal Issues OCC FDIC Disaster Relief

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  • Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac issue forbearance relief to homeowners affected by California wildfires

    Federal Issues

    On August 8, Freddie Mac extended its disaster relief options to homeowners affected by ongoing California wildfires who have access to federal individual assistance programs in FEMA-declared disaster areas. The relief suspends foreclosures by providing forbearance for up to 12 months. Penalties and late fees will also be waived. Freddie Mac also reminded servicers to consider borrowers who work in eligible disaster areas but have homes outside the affected area for standard relief policies. Moreover, servicers may leverage Freddie Mac forbearance programs to provide immediate mortgage relief to those affected by the wildfires in areas where FEMA has not made individual assistance available.

    On August 7, Fannie Mae issued a notice to mortgage servicers reminding them that homeowners impacted by the California wildfires are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, during which time late fees will not be incurred nor delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus. Furthermore, servicers may immediately suspend or reduce mortgage payments for up to 90 days without any contact with homeowners believed to have been affected by the wildfires. Additionally, foreclosures and other legal proceedings must be suspended for impacted homeowners.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on disaster relief here.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Mortgages Mortgage Servicing Disaster Relief

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  • Fannie Mae issues Selling Guide updates, removes requirement to use Market Conditions Addendum for appraisals

    Federal Issues

    On August 7, Fannie Mae issued Selling Guide update SEL-2018-06, which announces, among things, the removal of the requirement to use the Market Conditions Addendum (Form 1004MC) for appraisals and clarification of the policies regarding disbursement of HomeStyle Renovation funds. Specifically, effective immediately, the Selling Guide provides that lenders are no longer required to use Form 1004MC for appraisals as the agency’s Collateral Underwriter program provides market trend information for lenders and Fannie Mae to measure and manage market risks. However, appraisers remain responsible for analyzing market conditions and reporting them in the Neighborhood section of Fannie Mae’s appraisal forms. The update also clarifies that for HomeStyle Renovation funds disbursed using a wire transfer, the lender must obtain written consent to release the funds. Additionally, the update clarifies that all mechanics liens must be cleared or waived by the final disbursement of funds—a lien waiver is not required at each disbursement stage. The announcement also notes that the previously released information regarding Fannie Mae’s high loan-to-value refinance option (covered by InfoBytes here) is now available in the Selling Guide.

    Federal Issues Fannie Mae Selling Guide Refinance Appraisal

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  • FHFA reports results of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac annual stress tests

    Federal Issues

    On August 7, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a report providing the results of the fifth annual stress tests conducted by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). According to the report, Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests Results – Severely Adverse Scenario—which provides modeled projections on possible ranges of future financial results and does not define the entirety of possible outcomes—the GSEs will need to draw between $42.1 billion and $77.6 billion in incremental Treasury aid under a “severely adverse” economic crisis, depending on how deferred tax assets are treated. The losses would leave $176.5 billion to $212 billion available to the companies under their current funding commitment agreements. Notably, the projected bailout maximum is lower this year than FHFA reported last year, which ranged between $34.8 billion and $99.6 billion.

    Federal Issues Lending Mortgages GSE Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Stress Test Dodd-Frank FHFA

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  • CFPB denies debt collector’s petition to set aside CID

    Federal Issues

    On July 23, the CFPB denied a petition by a debt collector to modify or set aside a civil investigative demand (CID) issued by the Bureau in September 2017. The CID requested information from the debt collector “to determine whether debt collectors, depository institutions, or other persons have engaged or are engaging in unlawful acts and practices in connection with the collection of debt. . . .” The debt collector petitioned the Bureau to set aside or modify the CID, which requests were denied. The Bureau rejected the company’s argument that the CID should be set aside because the purported violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are not actionable under the “bona fide error rule.” The order emphasizes that the Bureau is not required to establish there was a violation of law in order to issue a CID, and the debt collector’s arguments “prematurely assert substantive defenses to claims the Bureau has not yet asserted.” The order also rejects the company’s argument that the CID be modified because certain requests are “disproportionate” and would impose an undue burden on the company, requiring the manual review of numerous audio files, which the Bureau denies because “[c]onclusory allegations of burdensomeness are insufficient.” The Bureau did allow for some of the information in the petition to be redacted because it could constitute confidential supervisory information but denied the request for confidential treatment of the rest of the materials.

    Federal Issues CFPB CIDs Debt Collection FDCPA

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