CFPB guidance provides clarity to mortgage servicing transfers
On April 24, the CFPB outlined new guidance to help facilitate compliance with mortgage servicing rules when transferring mortgage servicing rights to a servicer or a sub-servicer. According to the CFPB, after significant changes were made to Regulation X (RESPA) that took effect in 2014, the Bureau found weaknesses in the management of mortgage transfers. The new guidance provides “a roadmap for servicers that will prevent consumer harm,” and notes that when transferring a loan, “servicers should have policies and procedures reasonably designed to transfer all of the information and documents in their possession or control relating to a transferred mortgage loan, such as, a unique identifier for each loan, the terms of the loan, current unpaid principal balance as of a specific date, information concerning any escrow, and copies of any loss mitigation applications submitted by a borrower and of any loss mitigation agreements agreed to with a borrower.” According to the Bureau’s press release, servicers should also consider: (i) developing a servicing transfer plan, including an escalation plan for potential problems; (ii) engaging in quality control work to validate data; (iii) determining servicing responsibilities for legacy accounts; (iv) conducting post-transfer reviews to determine the effectiveness of a transfer plan; (v) monitoring consumer complaints and loss mitigation performance metrics; and (vi) identifying defaulted loans, active foreclosures, bankruptcies, or any forbearance agreements entered into with a borrower, and including loss mitigation activity for each loan where applicable.
The Bureau recognizes that entities may face particular challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and states it intends to consider such challenges, including operational and time constraints related to the transfer, and will “be sensitive to good-faith efforts demonstrably designed to transfer the servicing without adverse impact to consumers.”