CFPB Proposes Mortgage Originator Compensation and Qualification Rule
On August 17, the CFPB proposed the latest rule in a series of mortgage-related rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. This latest proposal seeks to amend regulations regarding upfront points and fees and loan originator compensation, and to implement other Dodd-Frank Act provisions regarding mortgage credit. Generally, for closed-end mortgages, the rule would prohibit a creditor or mortgage broker from imposing upfront points or fees unless the creditor or broker first offers the consumer an alternative loan with no such fees (a zero-zero alternative). If the upfront fees are passed on to independent third parties, or if the consumer is unlikely to qualify for the alternative loan, this requirement would not be triggered. The proposal provides separate safe harbors for transactions that involve mortgage brokers and those that do not. The rule also would refine an existing ban on loan originator commissions to allow reductions in compensation to cover certain increases in closing costs and to clarify when a factor used as a basis for compensation is prohibited as a “proxy.” Also with regard to compensation, the rule proposes to revise restrictions on pooled compensation and to amend the general ban on compensation of originators by both parties. Additionally, the CFPB seeks to (i) establish originator qualification requirements, (ii) restrict agreements that require consumer disputes to be resolved through mandatory arbitration, and (iii) prohibit the financing of premiums for credit insurance. The CFPB is accepting comments through October 16, 2012 and plans to finalize the rule by January 2013.