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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB amends General QM loan definition, creates definition for Seasoned QMs

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB GSE Patch GSE Qualified Mortgage Mortgages Ability To Repay Regulation Z

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On December 10, the CFPB issued two final rules related to qualified mortgage (QM) loans. The first of the two final rules, the General QM Final Rule, amends Regulation Z and revises the definition of a General QM by eliminating the General QM loan definition’s 43 percent debt-to-income ratio (DTI) limit and replacing it with bright-line price-based thresholds. The General QM Final Rule also eliminates QM status resulting solely from loans meeting qualifications for sale to Fannie or Freddie Mac (GSEs), known as the so-called “GSE Patch.” The Bureau’s second final rule, the Seasoned QM Final Rule, creates a new category of safe-harbor QMs applicable to first-lien, fixed-rate mortgages that are held in portfolio by the originating creditor or first purchaser for a 36-month period while meeting certain performance requirements, and comply with general restrictions on product features and points and fees.

Both final rules become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The mandatory compliance date for the General QM Final Rule is July 1, 2021; however, the Bureau notes that, between the effective date and the mandatory compliance date, there will be an optional early compliance period during which creditors will be able to use either the current General QM definition or the revised General QM definition. In addition, the GSE Patch will be available only for transactions where the creditor receives the consumer’s application before July 1, 2021 (or earlier if the GSEs exit conservatorship). Further, the Seasoned QM Final Rule applies to covered transactions for which creditors receive an application on or after the effective date, but will not apply retroactively to loans already in a lender’s portfolio.

Buckley will follow up with a more detailed summary of the final rules soon.

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