Skip to main content
Menu Icon Menu Icon

InfoBytes Blog

Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


Subscribe to our InfoBytes Blog weekly newsletter and other publications for news affecting the financial services industry.

  • CFPB Releases QM Compliance Chart for Small Creditors


    On September 24, the CFPB released an additional mortgage rule implementation resource, entitled the Small Creditor Qualified Mortgages Flowchart. The flowchart walks small creditors through a series of questions to help those institutions determine the types of qualified mortgages they can originate. The chart is included on the CFPB’s broader mortgage rule implementation resources website.

    CFPB Compliance Community Banks Qualified Mortgage

    Share page with AddThis
  • CFPB Issues Report on Examination Findings, Other Supervisory Activities

    Consumer Finance

    This afternoon, the CFPB released its summer 2013 Supervisory Highlights report, which covers supervisory activity from November 2012-June 2013.  This is the second such report the CFPB has released; the first report came out in October 2012 and covered activity from July 2011 through September 2012.

    The report provides a brief review of the CFPB’s public enforcement actions and non-public supervisory actions and developments in the supervision program, including the issuance of bulletins, the issuance of new fair lending examination procedures, and the reorganization of supervision staff. The report also reviews the CFPB’s risk-based approach to examinations, including the “Institution Product Lines” approach, and outlines the factors that influence examination priorities.  The report does not identify any planned supervisory activities.

    The bulk of the report, however, summarizes the CFPB’s examination findings. Key findings are discussed below.

    Compliance Management Systems (CMS)

    • CMS Elements
      • Although the report states no specific CMS structure is required, it also states that, based on the CFPB’s supervisory experience, an effective CMS commonly has the following components:  (i) board and management oversight; (ii) compliance program; (iii) consumer complaint management program; and (iv) independent compliance audit.  The report provides additional discussion on each component.
    • Nonbanks
      • The report states that nonbanks are more likely than banks to lack a robust CMS. The CFPB found one or more instances of nonbanks that lack formal policies and procedures, have not developed a consumer compliance program, or do not conduct independent consumer compliance audits. According to the CFPB, the lack of an effective CMS has, in a number of instances, resulted in violations of Federal consumer financial laws. In these instances, the CFPB has required appropriate corrective action.
      • The report notes that CMS deficiencies in nonbanks are generally related to the supervised entity’s lacking a CMS structure altogether. CFPB examinations have found instances where nonbanks do not have a separate compliance function; rather, compliance is embedded in the business line, which can lead to deficiencies.
    • Banks
      • The CFPB found that banks generally had an adequate CMS structure; however, several institutions lacked one or more of the components of an effective CMS.
      • The most common weakness the CFPB identified in banks is a deficient system of periodic monitoring and independent compliance audits. An entity that lacks periodic monitoring and instead relies on an annual independent compliance audit to identify regulatory violations and CMS deficiencies increases its risk that violations and weaknesses will go undetected for long periods of time, potentially leading to multiple regulatory violations and increased consumer harm.


    Mortgage Servicing

    • Servicing Transfers
      • Examiners found noncompliance with RESPA’s requirement to provide disclosures to consumers about transfers of the servicing of their loans.
      • Examiners also noted lack of controls relating to the review and handling of key documents – such as loan modification applications, trial modification agreements, and other loss mitigation agreements – necessary to ensure the proper transfer of servicing responsibilities for a loan.
      • Examiners noted that one servicer did not review any individual documents that the prior servicer had transferred, such as trial loan modification agreements.
      • At another servicer, examiners determined that documentation the servicer received in the transfer was not organized or labeled, and as a result, the servicer did not utilize loss mitigation information provided to the prior servicer in its loss mitigation efforts.
    • Payment Processing
      • A servicer provided inadequate notice to borrowers of a change in the address to which they should send payments, which constituted a potentially unfair practice impacting thousands of borrowers. The entity acted promptly to ensure that it did not impose late fees or other delinquency fees, or any other negative consequences.
      • A servicer decided – without notice to borrowers – to delay property tax payments from December of one year to January of the next, resulting in the borrowers’ inability to claim a tax deduction for the prior year, which the CFPB cited as an unfair practice.
      • A servicer paid certain property taxes late, in violation of RESPA. The CFPB directed the servicer to pay any fees associated with the late payment and to investigate whether consumers experienced any additional harm as a result of the late payments. Further, at the CFPB’s direction, the servicer will notify consumers of the late payment and solicit information about any additional harm. If any such harm is identified, the servicer will remediate it.
      • Examiners have found violations of the Homeowners Protection Act (HPA) at several servicers. In one examination, examiners found excessive delays in processing borrower requests for private mortgage insurance (PMI) cancellation. Additionally, in cases where PMI was canceled, the servicer improperly handled unearned PMI premiums in violation of the HPA. The CFPB required the servicer to amend its policies and procedures relating to PMI cancellation. The servicer also must conduct a review to determine whether borrowers were subject to additional harm caused by delays in processing PMI cancellations.
      • Examiners identified a servicer that charged consumers default-related fees without adequately documenting the reasons for and amounts of the fees. Examiners also identified situations where servicers mistakenly charged borrowers default-related fees that investors were supposed to pay under investor agreements. Servicers have refunded these fees to borrowers.
    • Loss Mitigation
      • Examiners have found issues related to: (i) inconsistent borrower solicitation and communication; (ii) inconsistent loss mitigation underwriting; (iii) inconsistent waivers of certain fees or interest charges; (iii) long application review periods; (iv) missing denial notices; (v) incomplete and disorganized servicing files; (vi) incomplete written policies and procedures; and (v) lack of quality assurance on underwriting decisions.
      • The CFPB states that weak compliance management surrounding loss mitigation processes creates fair lending risk and that it expects that entities servicing mortgage loans will implement fair lending policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that they are ECOA compliant. The CFPB states that servicers should conduct fair lending training for loss mitigation staff and engage in effective and timely fair lending risk assessments, compliance monitoring, and testing.

    Fair Lending

    • ECOA
      • The report states that some lenders are not complying with various aspects of the adverse action notification requirements under ECOA and Regulation B. The CFPB has found instances where supervised entities violated ECOA and Regulation B by failing to comply with either the provision, content, or timing requirements for adverse action notices and has directed the entities to develop and implement plans to ensure that the appropriate monitoring and internal controls are in place to detect and prevent future violations.
      • The report specifically notes that loan servicers should have systems in place to determine whether borrowers who apply for a change in the terms of credit are entitled to adverse action notices. The CFPB notes that some institutions may find it helpful to arrange for independent, internal reviews of loan files to ensure that the documentation supports the action taken and that all timing requirements are met. In addition, the report states that institutions should provide comprehensive periodic training to management and staff regarding compliance with ECOA and Regulation B, including compliance with provisions on adverse action notices.

    CFPB Nonbank Supervision Mortgage Servicing Fair Lending Compliance Bank Supervision Loss Mitigation

    Share page with AddThis
  • CFPB Director Affirms Mortgage Rule Effective Dates, Acknowledges Potential Secondary Market Impacts


    On Wednesday, CFPB Director Richard Cordray delivered remarks at an Exchequer Club luncheon in Washington, DC. During a brief question and answer segment, Mr. Cordray confirmed that the Bureau does not intend to delay the effective date of the mortgage rules and fully expects institutions to be in compliance when the rules take effect in January 2014. Financial institutions and their trade associations have expressed concern about implementing certain aspects of the myriad rules in the short time allowed by the CFPB and the potential impact on credit markets. Most recently industry representatives highlighted specific challenges at a House Financial Services Committee hearing that focused on the potential effects of the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage (ATR/QM) rule.

    Mr. Cordray generally downplayed the potential market impact and cost of compliance with the CFPB’s mortgage rules, with a particular focus on the ATR/QM rule.  Mr. Cordray explained the CFPB expects that the spread between QM and non-QM loans, if passed to the consumer, should be only 10 basis points, and that, as a result, concerns over the significant cost of compliance with the ATR/QM rule’s requirements are overblown. Some market participants believe this estimate may be overly optimistic and not in line with the factors they are considering in making pricing decisions on non-QM loans. These observers believe that the underlying CFPB economic analysis for the estimate includes a series of critical assumptions based on limited data, such as the probability that a borrower will allege a rule violation and estimated repurchase and litigation costs.

    Mr. Cordray reiterated the agency’s promise to provide further guidance on the interplay of fair lending compliance and QM lending although, given his expectations that QM and non-QM loans will not vary significantly from a pricing perspective, he expressed the view that the issue is not a major concern.  He also downplayed concerns that changes to FHA premium requirements will cause more QM loans to exceed the APR threshold required for QM safe harbor status, an issue recently addressed by FHA Commissioner Galante.

    In response to an observation from BuckleySandler Partner Jerry Buckley that the assignee liability provisions of the ATR/QM rule may act as an impediment to private capital re-entering the secondary market -- an issue that could become more critical since the Federal Reserve Board has signaled it may soon begin to taper its quantitative easing activities, which have buoyed secondary market liquidity -- Mr. Cordray acknowledged that the provision could possibly serve as a brake on secondary market liquidity. He also noted the CFPB’s ongoing work with the FHFA to develop a national mortgage database, which is intended to allow the agencies to monitor, among other things, the health of the secondary market.

    CFPB Mortgage Origination RMBS Fair Lending Compliance Qualified Mortgage

    Share page with AddThis
  • CFPB Updates TILA, ECOA Examination Procedures


    On June 4, the CFPB released new TILA and ECOA examination procedures, which were updated to incorporate certain of the CFPB mortgage rules finalized in January 2013 that address appraisals, escrow accounts, and mortgage loan originator compensation and qualifications. Parts of the Regulation Z (TILA) amendments took effect June 1, 2013, while the majority of the changes to both Regulation Z and Regulation B (ECOA) take effect in January 2014. The CFPB explained that the procedures will help financial institutions and mortgage companies understand how they will be examined under the new requirements that, among other things: (i) set qualification and screening standards for loan originators, (ii) prohibit steering incentives, (iii) prohibit “dual compensation,” (iv) extend the required duration of an escrow account on higher-priced mortgage loans, (v) prohibit mandatory arbitration, (vi) require lenders to provide appraisal reports and valuations, and (vii) prohibit single premium credit insurance.

    CFPB Examination TILA Mortgage Origination Compliance ECOA

    Share page with AddThis