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On November 26, the Wisconsin governor signed SB 457, which, among other things, includes provisions granting temporary authority for certain mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to originate loans in the state while their license applications are pending. Specifically, SB 457 provides that in order to be eligible for temporary authority to operate, the individual must have been a registered MLO prior to becoming employed by a mortgage banker or mortgage broker, and must meet the following additional criteria: (i) no previous MLO application denials; (ii) no MLO license suspensions or revocations in any governmental jurisdiction; (iii) has not been “subject to, or served with, a cease and desist order in any governmental jurisdiction or by the director or the [CFPB]”; (iv) has not been convicted of a disqualifying crime; and (v) must be registered with the NMLS as a loan originator for a one-year period immediately preceding the date on which the applicant furnished the required information. For individuals who were licensed MLOs in another state, and are now employed by a mortgage banker or mortgage broker in Wisconsin, the individual is eligible for temporary authority to operate if the individual met criteria (i) through (iv) listed above and was licensed in another state during the 30 days prior to submitting the required application information in Wisconsin. Beginning November 28, SB 457 permits qualifying MLO applicants to engage in mortgage transactions while their applications are pending for licensure for up to 120 days, or upon the withdrawal, denial, or approval of the licensing application, whichever is sooner.
On November 18, the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, which would require several state specific requirements for mortgage loan originators (MLO) seeking to utilize temporary authority (Temporary Authority) in the state of Georgia pursuant to Section 106 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act—which is set to take effect November 24. Specifically, the proposed rule outlines the following additional requirements:
- Disclosure requirements. Mortgage companies are required to provide additional written disclosures to consumers showing that the MLO is not licensed and may ultimately not be granted a license. This written disclosure shall be “made no later than the date the consumer signs an application or any disclosure, whichever event occurs first,” and must be maintained by the company. Additionally, the disclosure must state that the Department “may take administrative action against the [MLO] that may prevent such individual from acting as a [MLO]” before a loan is closed. The language in the rule must appear on the loan documentation in 10-point bold-face type.
- Education requirements. Any MLO who qualifies to utilize Temporary Authority must submit proof to the Department that they have enrolled in a class to satisfy education requirements and have registered to take the national MLO test. Both notifications must be submitted within 30 days of the MLO’s application submission.
- Advertising requirements. All advertisements must “clearly and conspicuously” indicate that MLOs operating under Temporary Authority are currently unlicensed and have pending applications with the Department. Moreover, the advertisement must state that the “Department may grant or deny the license application.”
- Transaction journal requirements. Mortgage companies must maintain a journal of mortgage loan transactions that clearly identifies when any MLO utilizes Temporary Authority at any point in the application or loan process. The transaction journal should also notate the outcome of the MLO’s license application as either “approved, withdrawn, or denied.”
- Signature requirements. Any MLO operating under temporary authority must indicate “TAO,” (temporary authority to operate) or use a substantially similar designation next to any signature on a loan document, including those that relate to the negotiation of terms or the offering of a loan.
- Administrative fines. Mortgage companies who employ a person who does not satisfy the federal Temporary Authority requirements but engages in licensable MLO activities under Georgia law will be subject to a fine of $1,000 per occurrence and the mortgage companies’ license shall be subject to suspension or revocation.
Comments on the proposed rule must be received by December 18.
Visit here for additional guidance on MLO temporary authority from APPROVED.
CFPB says some organizations won’t need to comply with screening and training requirements for temporary MLOs
On November 15, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule, which clarifies the screening and training requirements for mortgage loan originators (MLOs) with temporary authority under Regulation Z. As previously covered by InfoBytes, Section 106 of Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act amends the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) to establish temporary authority, providing a way for eligible MLOs who have applied for a new state loan originator license to act as a loan originator in the application state while the state considers the application. Regulation Z currently requires organizations to perform criminal screenings (including whether the applicant has been convicted of enumerated felonies within specified timeframes) and training requirements before permitting the individual to originate loans. According to the Bureau, Regulation Z is “ambiguous” as to whether these requirements would apply to MLOs with temporary authority and therefore, the interpretive rule clarifies that an organization is not required to conduct the criminal screening or ensure the training of any MLOs with temporary authority under the SAFE Act.
The interpretive rule is effective November 24, the same day the SAFE Act amendments take effect.
On October 25, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) published proposed regulations that (i) require all licensees under the California Financing Law (CFL) to register through NMLS; and (ii) establishes regulatory requirements for the oversight of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program administrators. Currently, under the CFL, some licensees engaged in residential mortgage origination and brokering are already licensed through the NMLS, while other lenders and brokers not engaged in the business of making or brokering loans secured with residential real property or financing PACE transactions are not on NMLS. According to the initial statement of reasons, the proposed regulations would amend existing licensing rules to transition all licensees under the CFL to registration through NMLS. Moreover, the proposed regulations implement AB 1284—which was signed into law on October 4, 2017, and, beginning January 1, 2019, requires a private entity that administers a PACE program on behalf of a public agency to be licensed under the CFL—and make conforming changes to the existing rules under the CFL. According to the DBO, the objectives of the proposed regulations “are to protect property owners who are offered PACE financing from deception, misrepresentations, or misunderstandings, to promote transparency in PACE financing, to provide oversight of persons soliciting property owners, and to facilitate a fair marketplace where the financing option can provide benefits to both property owners and the environment.” Comments on the proposed regulations are due by December 9.
On September 25, the CFPB published four FAQs pertaining to compliance with federal SAFE Act amendments created by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the Act), which take effect on November 24. According to the Bureau, the Act’s amendments “establish temporary authority, which provides a way for eligible loan originators who have applied for a new state loan originator license to act as a loan originator in the application state while the state considers the application.” Specifically, the FAQs address (i) residential mortgage loan originator categories and requirements; (ii) the temporary authority to act as a loan originator, as added by Section 106 of the Act; (iii) guidance concerning state transitional license availability under the SAFE Act; and (iv) the impact of the Act’s amendments on the permissibility of state transitional licensing under the SAFE Act and Regulation H.
On August 16, the Finance Commission of Texas adopted provisions to amend various licensing requirements for residential mortgage loan originators (MLOs) regulated by the state’s Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC), and implement licensing provisions in HB 1442, which took effect September 1. The amendments adopted by the Commission in August “maintain the current one-year term, the current December 31 expiration date, and the current reinstatement period from January 1 through the last day of February.” The Commission further clarified that these amendments apply to MLOs regulated by the OCCC, not just those applying for licensure. The amendments took effect September 5.
On August 28, the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions published in the Indiana Register an emergency rule providing 120-day temporary authority for certain mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to originate loans in Indiana without a state license, pursuant to Section 106 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The new rule provides that in order to be eligible for temporary authority to operate, an MLO, among other things, must have been licensed as an MLO in another state continuously during the past 30 days or operating as a registered MLO for a depository institution continuously for the past year. The rule permits an eligible MLO applicant to engage in mortgage transactions while their application is pending for licensure for up to 120 days or upon approval of the licensing application, whichever is sooner, beginning November 24.
On August 15, NYDFS announced a settlement with a student loan servicer and its parent company to resolve allegations that the companies failed to comply with state financial services law requirements when servicing, purchasing, and originating student financing agreements. According to the consent order, the student loan servicer—which, among other things, services student financing agreements that constitute retail installment obligations within the meaning of N.Y. Banking Law § 491(6-a)—allegedly engaged in the business of a sales finance company without being licensed by NYDFS and failed to follow the E-Sign Act’s disclosure requirements. NYDFS also claimed the companies failed to disclose to consumers (i) their right to receive non-electronic TILA disclosures; (ii) how to withdraw consent for notice by electronic means; and (iii) the method for requesting paper copy TILA disclosures. Furthermore, the companies also allegedly failed to provide consumers with a statement of the “requirements for access to and retention of TILA disclosures provided to them electronically.” In addition, NYDFS stated that the parent company provided New York consumers with promissory notes containing clauses purportedly allowing for the capitalization/compounding of interest under certain circumstances, which violated state banking laws, even though the companies contended they did not actually capitalize interest.
In addition to paying a $203,000 civil penalty and $33,309 in disgorgement, the student loan servicer will apply for a sales finance company license and a student loan servicer license, and the companies will correct issues concerning their capitalization of interest as well as remove incorrect information from their loan documents.
According to NYDFS, New York’s student loan servicer licensing law, which requires companies servicing student loans held by state residents to meet new standards, takes effect October 9.
On July 31, NYDFS published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the New York State Register. The proposed rule would implement legislation related to the supervision, regulation, and licensing of private student loan servicers passed in March as part of the state’s FY 2020 budget. As previously covered by InfoBytes, unless exempt from certain provisions, student loan servicers must comply with the requirements set forth in the amendments to the banking law and be licensed by NYDFS in order to service student loans owned by residents of New York. Entities exempt from the licensing requirements include servicers of federal student loans, banking organizations, foreign banking organizations, national banks, federal savings associations, federal credit unions, or any bank or credit union organized under the laws of any other state.
Among other things, the proposed regulation outlines servicing standards, examination guidelines, cybersecurity compliance requirements, and definitions for the terms “unfair” and “abusive.” A list of prohibited practices is also provided, which includes: (i) employing schemes to defraud or mislead borrowers; (ii) engaging in unfair, deceptive, abusive, or predatory acts or practices; (iii) “misapplying payments to the outstanding balance of any student loan or to any related interest or fees”; (iv) making false statements or omissions connected to information provided to a government agency; (v) failing to promptly respond to communications received from NYDFS; and (vi) failing to provide responses to consumer complaints.
Generally, the requirements will take effect October 9, with the exception of a phased-in transition period for certain cybersecurity provisions related to 23 NYCRR Part 500 that gives student loan servicers until April 9, 2020 to comply. Comments on the proposed regulation are due September 30.
New Jersey establishes Office of the Student Loan Ombudsman, provides student loan servicer regulations
On July 30, the New Jersey governor signed S1149 to, among other things, establish the Office of the Student Loan Ombudsman within the Department of Banking and Insurance and provide licensing requirements for student loan servicers. Notably, federal or state chartered banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions, as well as their wholly owned subsidiaries, are exempt from the bill’s licensure requirements
The appointed ombudsman’s responsibilities will include (i) reviewing, analyzing, and resolving borrower complaints; (ii) providing information to the public, agencies, legislators, and others regarding borrower concerns; (iii) reviewing complete student loan histories for borrowers who have provided written consent; (iv) establishing and maintaining a student loan borrower education course, including providing information on “monthly payment obligations, income-based repayment options, loan forgiveness, and disclosure requirements”; and (v) providing a report 12 months following the date of appointment to the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance (Commissioner) conveying any additional steps that may be necessary to address the licensing and enforcement of student loan servicers.
Additionally, the bill establishes licensing provisions for student loan servicers, and requires all servicers and certain other exempt entities to maintain student loan records for at least two years after the final payment or assignment of the loan, whichever comes first.
The bill also gives the Commissioner authority to conduct investigations and examinations of licensed servicers, as well as impose fines of not more than $10,000 for the first violation, and $20,000 for the second and for offenses thereafter. Student loan servicers must also comply with applicable federal laws, including the Truth in Lending Act. The bill notes that “any violation of any federal law or regulation shall be deemed a violation of this section and a basis upon which the [C]ommissioner may take enforcement action.”
The bill will take effect November 27.
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss “Beneficial Ownership: You have questions – We have quick answers” at the ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference
- Moorari K. Shah to discuss "Legal & regulatory issues – Next wave of regulatory policy" at the Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "Risk management in enforcement actions: Managing risk or micromanaging it" at an American Bar Association webinar
- Kari K. Hall and Christopher M. Walczyszyn to speak on the "Understanding updates to Regulation CC to ensure effective check processing" at a National Association of Federal Credit Unions webinar
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "ACAMS Moneylaundering.com Year-End Compliance Review and 2020 Outlook" at an ACAMS webinar
- APPROVED Webcast: Periodic reporting made easier
- Daniel P. Stipano to discuss "A 20/20 view on 2020’s legislative and regulatory outlook" at the ACAMS Anti-Financial Crime and Public Policy Conference