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CFPB looks at mortgage-pricing differences
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.
FFIEC releases 2023 HMDA reporting guide
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.
FFIEC releases 2022 HMDA data
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.
CFPB issues 2023 HMDA institutional and transactional coverage charts
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.
CFPB publishes HMDA review
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.”
CFPB issues HMDA reference chart for 2023
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.
Agencies remind banks of HMDA reporting changes on closed-end mortgages
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.
The FDIC and Federal Reserve Board also issued similar guidance (see FIL-06-2023 and CA 23-1).
CFPB adjusts annual dollar amount thresholds under TILA, HMDA regulations
On December 21, 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, 2022. The following thresholds are effective January 1, 2023:
- For open-end consumer credit plans under TILA, the threshold for disclosing an interest charge will remain unchanged at $1.00;
- For HOEPA loans, the adjusted total loan amount threshold for high-cost mortgages will be $24,866, and the adjusted points-and-fees dollar trigger for high-cost mortgages will be $1,243;
- 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 $124,331; 3.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $74,599 but less than $124,331; 6.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction with a loan amount less than $74,599; 6.5 or more percentage points for a first-lien covered transaction secured by a manufactured home with a loan amount less than $124,331; 3.5 or more percentage points for a subordinate-lien covered transaction with a loan amount greater than or equal to $74,599; or 6.5 or more percentage points for a subordinate-lien covered transaction with a loan amount less than $74,599”; 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 $124,331; $3,730 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $74,599 but less than $124,331; 5 percent of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $24,866 but less than $74,599; $1,243 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $15,541 but less than $24,866; and 8 percent of the total loan amount for a loan amount less than $15,541.”
With respect to credit card annual adjustments, the Bureau noted that its 2023 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”).
The Bureau also issued a final rule adjusting the asset-size threshold under HMDA (Regulation C). Under HMDA, institutions with assets below certain dollar thresholds are exempt from collection and reporting requirements. The final rule increases the asset-size exemption threshold for banks, savings associations, and credit unions from $50 million to $54 million, thereby exempting institutions with assets of $54 million or less as of December 31, 2022, from collecting HMDA data in 2023.
CFPB discusses mortgage financing risk options in current environment
On December 21, the CFPB reported that higher mortgage interest rates have led to increased monthly payments and higher debt-to-income ratios for borrowers. According to a recent Bureau analysis of quarterly HMDA data, some interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have risen as high as seven percent and are at levels higher than what has been seen for nearly 20 years. The Bureau reported that in response to increasing interest rates, financial service providers are offering alternative financing options to provide opportunities for consumers to access lower rates, including adjustable-rate mortgages, temporary buydowns, home equity lines of credit and loans, and loan assumptions where a homebuyer assumes responsibility for the remaining balance of a home seller’s mortgage with the original loan terms. Explaining the various risks associated with these offerings, the Bureau warned consumers that they should understand the costs associated with cash-out refinances and risks related to alternative sales transactions (e.g., contract-for-deeds or land contracts, rent-to-own arrangements, and equity-sharing arrangements), which may sound appealing in a higher interest rate market but may “lack the protections of traditional mortgages, including the ability to build and access home equity, foreclosure protections, or even basic disclosures that allow for comparison shopping.”
CFPB issues HMDA technical amendment
On December 12, the CFPB issued a technical amendment to the HMDA Rule to reflect the closed-end mortgage loan reporting threshold of 25 mortgage loans in each of the two preceding calendar years. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted partial summary judgment to a group of consumer fair housing associations (collectively, “plaintiffs”) that challenged changes made in 2020 that permanently raised coverage thresholds for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit under HMDA. The 2020 Rule, which amended Regulation C, 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 (covered by InfoBytes here). The plaintiffs sued the CFPB in 2020, arguing, among other things, that the final rule “exempts about 40 percent of depository institutions that were previously required to report” and undermines HMDA’s purpose by allowing potential violations of fair lending laws to go undetected. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) As a result of the September 23 order, the threshold for reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans is 25, the threshold established by the 2015 HMDA Rule.