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  • CFPB Seeks Public Comment on its Plans for Assessing the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule

    Consumer Finance

    On May 25, the CFPB issued a request for comment on its plans for assessing the 2014 Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule’s effectiveness in meeting the purposes and objectives outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau to assess each significant rule or order it adopts under Federal consumer financial laws. According to the request for comment, and a May 25 blog post on the CFPB’s website, the self-assessment will focus on objectives to ensure that: (i) consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions; (ii) consumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination; (iii) outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations are regularly identified and addressed in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens; (iv) federal consumer financial law is enforced consistently, without regard to the status of a person as a depository institution, in order to promote fair competition; and (v) markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation.

    The Dodd-Frank Act established new standards for mortgage lending and created a class of “qualified mortgage” (QM) loans. The standards required lenders to assess consumers’ ability to repay (ATR). Dodd-Frank also provided for a class of QM loans that must not have “certain risky product features and are presumed to comply with the ATR requirement.”

    The CFPB issued rules to make ATR and QM standards “clear and effective” in January 2013. As previously covered in a Special Alert, the rule and its amendments that took effect on January 10, 2014 provide a mechanism for curing point-and-fees overages on QM loans as well as more minor amendments to its mortgage origination and servicing rules.

    Consumer Finance CFPB Mortgages Dodd-Frank Ability To Repay

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  • DOJ Reduces Brazilian Construction Company Penalty Based on Inability to Pay

    Financial Crimes

    On April 11, the DOJ filed a memorandum in its case against a Brazilian construction company, requesting that the Court approve a lower sentence than originally proposed based on the company's inability to pay. On December 21, the company and its petrochemical affiliate reached a $4.5 billion combined global settlement with U.S., Brazilian, and Swiss authorities to resolve FCPA allegations, in which both companies agreed to plead guilty in the U.S. to conspiracy to violate the FCPA. As part of that agreement, the U.S. and Brazilian authorities agreed to conduct an independent analysis to confirm the accuracy of the construction company's representation that it had an inability to pay a penalty in excess of $2.6 billion. The memorandum set forth the DOJ’s determination that the construction company lacks the ability to pay a criminal penalty in excess of $2.6 billion and included adjustments for the requested penalty to match that ability. In particular, the portion of the penalty paid to the United States would be lowered from approximately $117 million to approximately $93 million. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 17.

    Prior Scorecard coverage of the company's settlement can be found here.

    Financial Crimes DOJ FCPA Ability To Repay

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  • Special Alert: Summary of CFPB's final prepaid rule

    Consumer Finance

    I. Overview of the CFPB's Final Prepaid Rule

    On October 5, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) issued a final rule (Prepaid Rule) amending Regulations E and Z to extend consumer protections to prepaid card accounts. The new protections include pre-acquisition disclosures, error resolution rights, and periodic statements. In addition, prepaid card accounts that include a separate credit feature are subject to some of Regulation Z’s credit card provisions, including an ability-to-repay requirement. Prepaid card issuers are also required to submit to the Bureau and to post to their websites any new and revised prepaid card account agreements. In this alert we summarize key provisions of the Prepaid Rule except those provisions that apply only to payroll and government benefits prepaid cards, which will be covered in a separate alert.

    II. Effective Date

    The Prepaid Rule’s effective date is October 1, 2017, however, the effective date for posting prepaid card account agreements is October 1, 2018. Heeding concerns about burden, the Bureau stated that the Prepaid Rule does not require financial institutions to pull and replace prepaid account access devices or packaging materials that were manufactured, printed, or otherwise produced in the normal course of business prior to October 1, 2017. Instead, financial institutions must provide consumers with notice of certain changes in terms and updated initial disclosures, in certain circumstances.

     

    Click here to read full Special Alert

     

    * * *

    Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

    Consumer Finance CFPB Digital Commerce Prepaid Cards Special Alerts Payments Regulation Z Ability To Repay

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  • FDIC Releases Final Technical Assistance Video to Cover Mortgage Servicing Rules

    Lending

    On February 13, the FDIC released the third and final technical assistance video intended to assist bank employees to comply with certain mortgage rules issued by the CFPB. The final video addresses the Mortgage Servicing Rules and the “Small Servicer” exemption. The first video, released on November 19, 2014, covered the ATR/QM Rule, and the second video, released on January 27, covered the Loan Originator Compensation Rule.

    FDIC CFPB Dodd-Frank Mortgage Servicing Ability To Repay

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  • Special Alert: CFPB Finalizes Points-and-Fees Cure and Other Mortgage Rule Amendments

    Lending

    Last week, the CFPB finalized an important amendment to its ATR/QM Rule that provides a mechanism for curing points-and-fees overages on qualified mortgage (“QM”) loans, as well as more minor amendments to its mortgage origination and servicing rules.  The new rules, which were proposed in April, are detailed below.  The discussion below regarding the new origination rules, including the points-and-fees cure, will also appear with the American Bankers Association/BuckleySandler publication, The New CFPB Mortgage Origination Rules Deskbook.  (Click here for information about obtaining copies of the Deskbook.)

    Click here to view the full special alert.

    Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

     

    CFPB Qualified Mortgage Ability To Repay

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  • CFPB Finalizes Qualified Mortgage Points & Fees Cure

    Lending

    On October 22, the CFPB finalized targeted amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act mortgage rules that took effect in January 2014.  The amendments include:

    • Points and fees cure.  Under the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule, loans must meet certain requirements to receive “qualified mortgage” or “QM” status.  In particular, the points and fees charged to a consumer on a QM generally cannot exceed 3 percent of the loan amount.  The amendments permit a lender or secondary market purchaser that discovers, after the loan has closed, that the 3 percent cap was exceeded to retain QM status by refunding the excess amount to the consumer with interest. However, the refund must occur within 210 days after consummation and before the consumer files suit, provides written notice to the lender that the cap has been exceeded, or becomes 60 days past due.  In addition, the creditor must maintain and follow policies and procedures for reviewing points and fees and providing refunds to consumers. Although the CFPB stated that this amendment is intended to encourage lenders to provide access to credit to consumers seeking loans that are at or near the points and fees limit, the provision will expire on January 10, 2021.

    • Debt-to-income cure.  In the April proposal, the Bureau requested comment on the need for a cure for loans that inadvertently exceed the 43% debt-to-income requirement for QMs made under Appendix Q.  The Bureau deferred action on this issue, stating that it is considering the comments and whether to address the issue in a future rulemaking.
    • Ability-to-Repay exemption for non-profits expanded.  Certain 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that lend to low- and moderate-income consumers are already exempt from the Ability-to-Repay rule if the organization makes no more than 200 mortgages a year, among other limitations. The CFPB has amended this provision to allow certain non-profit groups to continue extending interest-free, forgivable loans, also known as “soft seconds,” without regard to the 200-mortgage loan limit.
    • Small servicer exemption expanded.  Certain small servicers are exempt from some of the CFPB’s new mortgage servicing rules, so long as they (and their affiliates) service 5,000 or fewer mortgage loans and they (or their affiliate) are the creditor or assignee for all of the loans.  However, some non-profit organizations do not meet this exemption because they service loans, for a fee, from other associated non-profit lenders that are not considered “affiliates,” even though they operate under mutual contractual obligations to serve the same charitable mission, and use a common name, trademark, or servicemark.  Because of this unique corporate structure, these non-profit organizations did not qualify for the small servicer exemption, unlike their for-profit counterparts with similar arrangements.  The final rule expands the small servicer exemption to include these non-profit organizations, so long as they are 501(c)(3) non-profits that service loans on behalf of other non-profits within a common network or group of nonprofit entities, and meet other requirements.

    CFPB Qualified Mortgage Ability To Repay

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  • HUD Issues Final Rule To Eliminate Post-Payment Interest On FHA Loans

    Lending

    On August 26, HUD issued its final rule prohibiting mortgagees from charging post-payment interest under FHA’s single family mortgage insurance program. The final rule is responsive to the CFPB’s ATR/QM rule, under which post-payment interest charges will be considered a prepayment penalty in connection with FHA loans closed on or after January 21, 2015. Because prepayment penalties are prohibited on higher-priced FHA loans, the new definition of “prepayment penalty” under the ATR/QM rule would have effectively prohibited the making of higher-priced FHA mortgage loans. Also effective January 21, 2015, HUD’s final rule ensures consistency among FHA single-family mortgage products and provides the same protections for all borrowers. Under the final rule, monthly interest on the debt must be calculated on the actual unpaid principal balance as of the date prepayment is received.

    CFPB FHA Qualified Mortgage Ability To Repay

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  • Unofficial Transcripts of the ABA Briefing/Webcast "Mortgage Q&A with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"

    Lending

    To address outstanding questions regarding the new mortgage rules that took effect in January 2014, CFPB staff provided non-binding, informal guidance in a webinar hosted by the American Bankers Association (ABA). Specifically, CFPB staff answered questions regarding the mortgage origination rules and the mortgage servicing rules on April 22, 2014.

    With the ABA’s consent, BuckleySandler has prepared a transcript of the webinar that incorporates the ABA’s slides. The transcript is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal opinions, interpretations, or advice by BuckleySandler. The transcript was prepared from the audio recording arranged by the ABA and may have minor inaccuracies due to sound quality. In addition, the transcripts have not been reviewed by the CFPB or the ABA for accuracy or completeness.

    Questions regarding the matters discussed in the webinar or the rules themselves may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

     

    CFPB Mortgage Origination Mortgage Servicing Qualified Mortgage Ability To Repay

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  • CFPB Adjusts CARD Act, HOEPA, And Ability To Repay Thresholds

    Consumer Finance

    On August 14, the CFPB issued a final rule to re-calculate certain threshold amounts under Regulation Z. With respect to certain amounts under the CARD Act, effective January 1, 2015, the minimum interest charge disclosure thresholds will remain unchanged, while the permissible penalty fees safe harbor will increase to $27 for a first late payment and $38 for each subsequent violation in the following six months. With respect to HOEPA loans, effective January 1, 2015, the adjusted total loan amount threshold will be $20,391, and the adjusted statutory fee trigger will be $1,020. Also effective January 1, 2015, for the purpose of a creditor’s determination of a consumer’s ability to repay a transaction secured by a dwelling, a covered transaction will not be a qualified mortgage unless the transaction’s total points and fees do not exceed: (i) 3% of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $101,953; (ii) $3,059 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $61,172 but less than $101,953; (iii) 5% of the total loan amount for a loan greater than or equal to $20,391 but less than $61,172; (iv) $1,020 for a loan amount greater than or equal to $12,744 but less than $20,391; and (v) 8% of the total loan amount for a loan amount less than $12,744.

    CFPB HOEPA CARD Act Ability To Repay

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  • Special Alert: CFPB Guidance States That Successors Are Not Subject to the ATR/QM Rule

    Lending

    On July 8, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule stating that the addition of a successor as an obligor on a mortgage does not trigger the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule (ATR/QM Rule) requirements if the successor previously received an interest in the property securing the mortgage by operation of law, such as through inheritance or divorce.  Creditors may rely on the interpretive rule as a safe harbor under section 130(f) of TILA.

    In adopting the interpretations described below, it appears that the CFPB primarily intended to respond to inquiries from the industry and consumer advocates about situations where one family member inherits a home from another and, in order to keep the home, requests to be added to the mortgage and to modify its terms, such as by reducing the rate or payments.

    Click here to view the special alert.

    *      *      *

    Questions regarding the matters discussed in the Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

     

    CFPB Mortgage Origination Mortgage Servicing Qualified Mortgage Ability To Repay

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