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On October 10, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against a Florida-based nonbank mortgage originator for allegedly failing to accurately report mortgage data in violation of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). According to the complaint, in 2019 the Bureau found that the lender violated HDMA by intentionally misreporting data regarding applicants’ race, ethnicity and gender from 2014-2017, which resulted in the lender paying a civil money penalty and taking corrective action. In this action, the Bureau alleges that during its supervision process, it found the lender submitted HMDA data for 2020 contained “widespread errors across multiple data fields” including 51 errors in 159 files and the lender violated a 2019 consent order condition that required it to improve its data practices. The alleged errors include (i) mistakes in inputting data concerning subordinate lien loans and acquired loans; (ii) inclusion of loans in HMDA reporting that did not meet the HMDA criteria for reportable applications; (iii) incorrect characterization of purchaser type for tens of thousands of loans; (iv) erroneous rate spread calculations, leading to errors in interconnected fields; (iv) inaccurate data related to lender credits; and (v) incorrect categorization of specific loan applications as “approved but not accepted” when they were, in fact, withdrawn, resulting in discrepancies in associated fields. Along with the HDMA violations and the violations of the 2019 consent order, the CFPB also alleges violations of the CFPA and requests that the court permanently enjoin the lender from committing future violations of HMDA, require the lender to take corrective action to prevent further violations of HMDA, injunctive relief, and the imposition of a civil money penalty.
On September 18, the CFPB released a final rule revising the dollar amounts for provisions implementing TILA and its amendments that impact loans under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (HOEPA) and qualified mortgages (QM). The Bureau is required to make annual adjustments to dollar amounts in certain provisions in Regulation Z, and has based the adjustments on the annual percentage change reflected in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) in effect on June 1, 2023. The following thresholds are effective January 1, 2024:
- For HOEPA loans the adjusted total loan amount threshold for high-cost mortgages will be $26,092, and the adjusted points-and-fees dollar trigger for high-cost mortgages will be $1,305;
- For qualified mortgages under the General QM loan definition, the thresholds for the spread between the annual percentage rate and the average prime offer rate will be: “2.25 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $130,461; 3.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $78,277 but less than $130,461; 6.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount less than $78,277; 6.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction secured by a manufactured home with a loan amount less than $130,461; 3.5 or more percentage points for a subordinate-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $78,277; or 6.5 or more percentage points for a subordinate-lien covered transaction with a loan amount less than $78,277”; and
- For all QM categories, the adjusted thresholds for total points and fees will be “3 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $130,461; $3,914 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $78,277 but less than $130,461; 5 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $26,092 but less than $78,277; $1,305 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $16,308 but less than $26,092; and 8 percent of the total loan amount for a loan amount less than $16,308.”
With respect to credit card annual adjustments, the Bureau noted that its 2024 annual adjustment analysis on the CPI-W in effect on June 1, did not result in an increase to the current minimum interest charge threshold (which requires “creditors to disclose any minimum interest charge exceeding $1.00 that could be imposed during a billing cycle”).
On June 29, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) released the 2022 HMDA data on mortgage lending transactions at 4,460 covered institutions (an increase from the 4,338 reporting institutions in 2021). Available data products include: (i) the Snapshot National Loan-Level Dataset, which contains national HMDA datasets as of May 1; (ii) the HMDA Dynamic National Loan-Level Dataset, which is updated on a weekly basis to reflect late submissions and resubmissions; (iii) the Aggregate and Disclosure Reports, which provide summaries on individual institutions and geographies; (vi) the HMDA Data Browser where users can customize tables and download datasets for further analysis; and (v) the Loan/Application Register for filers of 2022 HMDA data.
The 2022 data includes information on 14.3 million home loan applications, of which 11.5 million were closed-end and 2.5 million were open-end. The Snapshot revealed that an additional 287,000 records were from financial institutions making use of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act’s partial exemptions that did not designate closed-end or open-end status. Observations from the data relative to the prior year include: (i) the percentage of mortgages originated by non-depository, independent mortgage companies decreased, accounting for “60.2 percent of first lien, one- to four-family, site-built, owner-occupied home-purchase loans, down from 63.9 percent in 2021”; (ii) the percentage of closed-end home purchase loans for first lien, one- to four-family, site-built, owner-occupied properties made to Black or African American borrowers increased from 7.9 percent in 2021 to 8.1 percent in 2022, while the share of these loans made to Hispanic-White borrowers decreased slightly from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent and the share made to Asian borrowers increased from 7.1 percent to 7.6 percent; and (iii) “Black or African American and Hispanic-White applicants experienced denial rates for first lien, one- to four-family, site-built, owner-occupied conventional, closed-end home purchase loans of 16.4 percent and 11.1 percent respectively, while the denial rates for Asian and non-Hispanic-White applicants were 9.2 percent and 5.8 percent respectively.”
On May 24, the CFPB reported price dispersion trends in the mortgage industry, finding that borrowers could save at least $100 per month by choosing cheaper lenders. Price dispersion—the difference in interest rates charged by different lenders for the same loan product—is significant in the mortgage market, the Bureau said, following a review of 2021 HMDA data focusing on numbers for the 20 largest-volume lenders for each of the market segments. Examining price dispersion by loan type, including FHA and Department of Veterans Affairs loans, loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and jumbo loans, the Bureau considered several potential factors contributing to price dispersion such as lender differences, competition, and increased demand. Additionally, the Bureau found that various options provided by lenders may account for different costs and choices made by consumers who may not select the cheapest option due to other factors that outweigh price differences. Data also suggested that competition in the mortgage market does not always translate into lower prices, the Bureau reported, noting that a recent study administered by the Bureau and the FHFA revealed that “most borrowers who recently took out a mortgage responded that they believe they would pay the same price regardless of which lender they choose” and that few borrowers consider more than two options. The data also found that lenders who choose to take on riskier loans may compensate for the risk by charging higher prices.
On April 13, the OCC issued Bulletin 2023-10 announcing the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council’s issuance of the 2023 edition of the revised “A Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!” The guide focuses on HMDA data submissions due March 1, 2024, and includes requirements and instructions for reporting and disclosing data for institutions and transactions covered by Regulation C. The guide also reflects a technical amendment to the 2020 HMDA Rule to adjust the loan volume thresholds (which took effect January 1) for reporting HMDA data on closed-end mortgage loans. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the CFPB issued the technical amendment last December to establish that the threshold for reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans is 25 mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years, the threshold established by the 2015 HMDA Rule.
On March 20, the CFPB announced the release of the 2022 HMDA modified loan application register (LAR) data. The LAR data, available on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s HMDA platform, contains modified loan-level information on approximately 4,394 HMDA filers. The Bureau also announced plans to produce the 2022 HMDA data “in other forms to provide users insights into the data,” including through a nationwide loan-level dataset, which will provide all publicly available data from all HMDA reporters, as well as aggregate and disclosure reports with summary information by geography and lender, to allow users the ability to create custom datasets and reports. The Bureau also said it plans to publish a Data Point article highlighting key trends in the annual HMDA data.
On March 15, the CFPB released the 2023 HMDA institutional and transactional coverage charts. The charts update the reporting thresholds for transactions that involve a closed-end mortgage loan, pursuant to an order issued last September by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in National Community Reinvestment Coalition v. CFPB. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) As previously covered by InfoBytes, in 2020 the CFPB issued a final rule, which amended Regulation C and permanently increased the reporting threshold from the origination of at least 25 closed-end mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years to 100, and permanently increased the threshold for collecting and reporting data about open-end lines of credit from the origination of 100 lines of credit in each of the two preceding calendar years to 200.
The 2023 HMDA Institutional Coverage Chart outlines criteria for determining whether an institution is covered by Regulation C. Additionally, the 2023 HMDA Transactional Coverage Chart explains that under HMDA/Regulation C, a transaction is reportable only if it is an application for, an origination of, or a purchase of a covered loan. The chart explains how to determine whether a transaction involves a covered loan and whether it meets the applicable loan-volume thresholds.
On March 3, the CFPB published findings from a voluntary review of the 2015 HMDA Final Rule issued in October 2015, as well as subsequent related amendments that eased certain reporting requirements and permanently raised coverage thresholds for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit (covered by InfoBytes here). Under Section 1022(d) of Dodd-Frank, the Bureau is required to conduct an assessment of each significant rule or order adopted by the agency under federal consumer financial law. The Bureau noted that it previously determined that the 2015 HMDA Final Rule “is not a significant rule for purposes of section 1022(d)” and said the decision to conduct the review was voluntary.
The Report on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Rule Voluntary Review found, among other things, that (i) “[c]onsistent with the 2015 HMDA Final Rule’s increase in the closed-end reporting threshold for depository institutions, HMDA coverage of first lien, closed-end mortgages decreased between Q1 of 2017 and Q1 of 2018, from 97.0 percent to 93.8 percent”; (ii) for all financial institutions originating closed-end mortgages, “the share of those institutions reporting HMDA data decreased between 2015 and 2020, with the largest decreases observed in 2017 and 2020” after the reporting threshold rose from 25 loan originations to 100 loan originations; (iii) revising data points to include the age of applicant and co-applicant race, ethnicity, gender, and income, increased the amount of compiled data; and (iv) analyzing data assists in detecting fair lending risk and discrimination in mortgage lending. “HMDA’s expanded transactional coverage improved the risk screening used to identify institutions at higher risk of fair lending violation by improving the accuracy of analysis and thus reducing the false positive rate at which lenders were mistakenly identified as high risk,” the report said.
The report also noted that interest rate data “provides an important observation that enables data users, including government agencies, researchers, and consumer groups to analyze mortgage pricing in order to better serve HMDA’s purposes. In particular, interest rate information brings a greater transparency to the market and facilitates enforcement of fair lending laws.” The Bureau further noted that HMDA data is “crucial” to federal regulators when conducting supervisory examinations and enforcement investigations. The Bureau commented that the “requirement to report new HMDA data points greatly increased the accuracy of supervisory data since the additional data points are now used to assess fair lending risks and are subject to supervisory exams for accurate filing to HMDA,” adding that the data is “also used to estimate appropriate remuneration amounts for harmed consumers.”
On February 9, the CFPB published the 2023 Reportable HMDA Data: A regulatory and reporting overview reference chart. The chart serves as a reference tool for data points that are required to be collected, recorded, and reported under Regulation C, as amended by HMDA rules, which were most recently issued in April 2020 (covered by InfoBytes here). The chart also provides relevant regulation and commentary sections and guidance for when to report “not applicable or exempt” as found in Section 4.2.2 of the 2022 Filing Instructions Guide. The Bureau notes that the “chart does not provide data fields or enumerations used in preparing the HMDA loan/application register (LAR).” For additional information on preparing the HMDA LAR, financial institutions should consult FFIEC guidance here.
On February 1, the OCC reminded banks and OCC examiners that the loan origination threshold for reporting HMDA data on closed-end mortgages has changed due to a court decision issued last year, which addressed challenges made by a group of consumer fair housing associations to changes made in 2020 by the CFPB that permanently raised coverage thresholds for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit under HMDA (covered by InfoBytes here.) Due to a court order vacating the 2020 HMDA Final Rule as to the loan volume reporting threshold for closed-end mortgage loans, the OCC explained that the loan origination threshold for reporting HMDA data on closed-end mortgage loans reverted to the threshold established by the 2015 HMDA Final Rule.
According to Bulletin 2023-5, the threshold for reporting HMDA data is now 25 closed-end mortgage loans originated in each of the two preceding calendar years rather than the 100-loan threshold set by the 2020 HMDA Final Rule. “Banks that originated at least 25 closed-end mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years but fewer than 100 closed-end mortgage loans in either or both of the two preceding calendar years (referred to collectively as affected banks) may need to make adjustments to policies and procedures to comply with reporting obligations,” the OCC said. The agency added that it does not plan to assess penalties for failures to report closed-end mortgage loan data on reportable transactions conducted in 2022, 2021 or 2020 for affected banks that meet other coverage requirements under Regulation C.