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On October 8, the CFPB issued its semi-annual report to Congress covering the Bureau’s work from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The report, which is required by Dodd-Frank, addresses, among other things, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer credit, significant rules and orders adopted by the Bureau, consumer complaints, and various supervisory and enforcement actions taken by the Bureau. In his opening letter, Director Dave Uejio discusses the Bureau’s efforts to increase racial equity in the marketplace and to mitigate the financial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumers, including measures such as reinstituted regular public reporting, developing Prioritized Assessments to protect consumers from elevated risks of harm related to the pandemic, and numerous enforcement actions with claims or findings of various violations. Uejio also notes that communities of color, particularly Black and Hispanic communities, have disproportionately experienced the health and economic effects of the pandemic, and states that the Bureau is utilizing “all [of its] tools to ensure that all communities, of all races and economic backgrounds, can participate in and benefit from the nation’s economic recovery.”
Among other topics, the report highlights two publications by the Bureau: one focusing on the TRID Integrated Disclosure Rule (covered by InfoBytes here), and another focusing on credit record trends for young enlisted servicemembers during the first year after separation (covered by InfoBytes here). The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer credit are also discussed, as are the results from the Bureau’s Making Ends Meet Survey. In addition to these areas of focus, the report notes the issuance of several significant notices of proposed rulemaking related to remittance transfers, debt collection practices, the transition from LIBOR, and qualified mortgage definitions under TILA. Multiple final rules were also issued concerning Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z); remittance transfers; and payday, vehicle, title, and certain high-cost installment loans. Several other rules and initiatives undertaken during the reporting period are also highlighted.
On June 17, President Biden signed S. 475 establishing June 19, Juneteenth, as a federal holiday. The “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act” amends 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a) which codifies the legal public holidays. Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the holiday will be observed on Friday, June 18.
The establishment of a new federal holiday mere hours before the first observance of that holiday poses novel compliance challenges for the mortgage industry. Notably, both TRID and TILA rescission requirements have important timing standards that reference federal holidays.
Under TRID, the Loan Estimate must be provided to the consumer at least seven business days prior to consummation, and the Closing Disclosure must be provided to the consumer at least three business days prior to consummation. For purposes of these requirements, “business day” is defined as “all calendar days except Sundays and legal public holidays” as specified in 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a). As the holiday occurs on a Saturday this year, Saturday, June 19 is not a “business day” for purposes of calculating either the 7-business day waiting period after delivery of the Loan Estimate or the 3-business-day waiting period after delivery of the Closing Disclosure. Commentary to Regulation Z also states that, for purposes of rescission and the provision of mortgage disclosures, when a federal holiday falls on a Saturday but is observed on the preceding Friday, the observed holiday is a business day.
Accordingly, for purposes of providing the Loan Estimate at least seven business days prior to closing and the Closing Disclosure at least three business days prior to closing, lenders may not count Saturday, June 19, as a business day, but must count Friday, June 18, as a business day. Absent clarification from the CFPB, lenders are advised to push closings back one day where they were previously counting Saturday (June 19) as a business day. For example, if a Closing Disclosure was received by the consumer on Thursday, June 17, closing may not occur until Tuesday, June 22.
A rescission period expires on midnight on the third business day after closing and uses the same definition of business days, which is “all calendar days except Sundays and legal public holidays.” As such, Saturday, June 19 this year is not a “business day” for purposes of the 3-business day rescission period and lenders should ensure that consumers are provided an extra day where the rescission period encompasses June 19, and are made aware of that extension. This raises unique funding and Notice of Right to Cancel disclosure related questions, the answers to which may depend on individual facts and circumstances. Absent further guidance from the CFPB, creditors may wish to delay closing by one day for those transactions where the three-day Closing Disclosure period is relevant, as well as consider providing updated Notices of Right to Cancel with a new rescission period taking into account both the new public holiday and when such new notice is sent.
On June 18, CFPB acting Director Dave Uejio issued a statement recognizing that "some lenders did not have sufficient time after the Federal holiday declaration to consider whether and how to adjust closing timelines" and that "some lenders may delay closings to accommodate the reissuance of disclosures adjusted for the new Federal holiday." Uejio further noted that "TILA and TRID requirements generally protect creditors from liability for bona fide errors and permit redisclosure after closing to correct errors." He added that any guidance ultimately issued by the Bureau "would take into account the limited implementation period before the holiday and would be issued after consultation with the other FIRREA regulators and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors to ensure consistency of interpretation for all regulated entities."
- The TRID Rule covers a loan if it: “[i] is made by a creditor as defined in § 1026.2(a)(17); [ii] is secured in full or in part by real property or a cooperative unit; [iii] is a closed-end, consumer credit (as defined in § 1026.2(a)(12)) transaction; [iv] is not exempt for any reason listed in § 1026.3; and [v] is not a reverse mortgage subject to § 1026.33.”
- Regulation Z exempts certain mortgage loans from the TRID disclosure requirements (i.e., providing the LE and CD) (the “Partial Exemption”). This exemption covers certain subordinate housing assistance loans. To qualify, “a transaction must meet all of the following criteria: [i] the transaction is secured by a subordinate-lien; [ii] the transaction is for the purpose of a down payment, closing costs, or other similar home buyer assistance, such as principal or interest subsidies; property rehabilitation assistance; energy efficiency assistance; or foreclosure avoidance or prevention; [iii] the credit contract provides that it does not require the payment of interest; [iv] the credit contract provides that repayment of the amount of credit extended is: forgiven either incrementally or in whole, deferred for at least 20 years after the transaction, or until the sale of the property, or until the property securing the transaction is no longer the consumer’s principal dwelling; [v] the total of costs payable by the consumer in connection with the transaction only include recording fees, transfer taxes, a bona fide and reasonable application fee, and a bona fide and reasonable fee for housing counseling services[;] the application fee and housing counseling services fee must be less than one percent of the loan amount; [and] [iv] the creditor provides either the Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosures or the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure[.] Regardless of which disclosures the creditor chooses to provide, the creditor must comply with all Regulation Z requirements pertaining to those disclosures.”
- The BUILD Act includes a partial statutory exemption from the TRID disclosure requirements for similar transactions. To qualify for the Partial Exemption from the TRID disclosure requirements under the BUILD Act, the loan must be a residential mortgage loan, offered at a 0 percent interest rate, have only bona fide and reasonable fees, and be primarily for charitable purposes and be made by an organization described in Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of that Code.
- If a housing assistance loan creditor opts for one of the partial exemptions under either the Regulation Z Partial Exemption or under the BUILD Act, they are excused from the requirement to provide the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure for that transaction. The Partial Exemption under Regulation Z does not excuse the creditor from providing certain other disclosures required by Regulation Z. If the creditor qualifies for the exemption under the BUILD Act, they have the option to provide the GFE, HUD-1 and Truth In Lending disclosures in lieu of the LE and CD at the creditor’s discretion.
On October 1, the CFPB released the assessment report required by Section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID), concluding that the TRID Rule “made progress towards several of its goals.” The assessment report was conducted using the Bureau’s own research and external sources. In opening remarks, Director Kraninger noted that the Bureau was “unable to obtain or generate the data necessary” to include a cost-benefit analysis, but documented the benefits and costs when possible. In addition to studying the effectiveness of the TRID Rule, the report also summarized the public comments the Bureau received from its November 2019 request for information (covered by InfoBytes here).
The Bureau issued the TRID Rule in November 2013, and the Rule took effect on October 3, 2015. Among other things, the TRID Rule integrated TILA’s Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and RESPA’s settlement statement (HUD-1), as well as other Dodd-Frank required disclosures, into the “Loan Estimate” and “Closing Disclosure” forms. Key findings of the assessment include:
- The TRID disclosure forms improved borrower abilities to locate key mortgage information, and compare costs and features of different mortgage offers;
- Evidence was mixed as to whether the TRID disclosure forms improved borrower abilities to understand loan estimates and transactions, and the TRID Rule increased consumer shopping for mortgages;
- The median response for one-time costs for lenders of implementing the rule was roughly $146 per mortgage originated in 2015;
- Evidence was unclear regarding ongoing costs for lenders, noting that over the last decade, lenders’ costs have increased steadily, but the data does not show a clear increase from the time the TRID Rule took effect; and
- Purchases and refinances dropped notably (around 14 percent and eight percent, respectively) in the first two months after the effective date, and purchase closing times lengthened by about 13 percent. However, both changes returned to pre-TRID Rule amounts and durations.
Additionally, the Bureau released a Data Point report titled, “How mortgages change before origination,” which details how the terms and costs of a mortgage loan may change during the origination process. The Bureau examined about 50,000 mortgages originated between March 2016 and November 2017, and found, among other things, that (i) APR changes occurred in more than 40 percent of mortgages; (ii) loan amount and the loan to value ratio changed for nearly 25 percent of mortgages; and (iii) interest rate changed for eight percent of mortgages.
On June 9, the CFPB released a factsheet on TRID Title Insurance Disclosures and FAQs regarding lender credits on the total payments disclosure, the optional signature line, and separating consumer and seller information. Highlights of each document include:
- TRID Title Insurance Disclosures. The factsheet discusses the two forms of title insurance commonly purchased in residential transactions—lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance. The factsheet breaks down the disclosure rules for each, including, among other things, (i) when and how the costs are required to be disclosed; (ii) specifics regarding simultaneous title insurance; and (iii) differences between state disclosures and TRID disclosures for simultaneous rates. The Bureau also provides detailed disclosure examples for various title insurance scenarios.
- FAQs. The updated FAQs note, among other things, that when providing separate closing disclosures to sellers and consumers, the TRID Rule requires seller-paid loan costs and other costs to be disclosed on page 2 of the consumer’s Closing Disclosure. Additionally, the FAQs provide a breakdown of the Total of Payments disclosure on the Closing Disclosure and discuss when a creditor may require a consumer to sign a Loan Estimate or Closing Disclosure.
On April 29, the CFPB issued an interpretive rule (IR) “clarifying that consumers can exercise their rights to modify or waive certain required waiting periods” in order to allow borrowers impacted by Covid-19 to access mortgage credit faster. The IR states that if, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a mortgage borrower determines that a mortgage transaction must be completed prior to the end of the waiting period for either the TRID Rule or the Regulation Z right of rescission rule, the borrower may waive the waiting period. Further, the IR asserts that the Covid-19 pandemic qualifies as a “changed circumstance” for purposes of certain TRID Rule provisions, permitting the use of revised estimates of settlement charges. In addition, the Bureau issued a frequently asked question that addresses the Equal Credit Opportunity Act Valuations Rule, which states that a first-lien loan borrower may also waive the requirement that a lender provide the borrower with appraisals and valuations at or before settlement of the loan.
- “[L]ender credits include [(i)] payments, such as credits, rebates, and reimbursements, that a creditor provides to a consumer to offset” a consumer’s closing costs paid “as part of the mortgage loan transaction”; and (ii) “premiums in the form of cash” provided by a creditor “to a consumer in exchange for specific acts, such as for accepting a specific interest rate, or as an incentive, such as to attract consumers away from competing creditors.”
- Lender credits can be specific or non-specific. Non-specific lender credits are also known as “general lender credits.” The FAQs provide examples of both types of lender credit, and note that the distinction is important, as the two types of lender credits are disclosed differently on the Closing Disclosure.
- Creditors are not required to disclose “a closing cost and a related lender credit on the Loan Estimate if the creditor” absorbs the cost, but will be required to disclose these costs if they are “offsetting a cost charged to the consumer.”
- Creditors are required to disclose a closing cost and a related lender credit on a Closing Disclosure if they absorb the cost, “even if the consumer will not be charged for the closing cost.”
- To disclose lender credits on a Loan Estimate, creditors must calculate the sum “of all general and specific lender credits.”
- The nature of how lender credits are disclosed on a Closing Disclosure varies based on whether it is a general lender credit or a specific lender credit.
- The nature of how lender credits for a “no-cost loan” are disclosed varies based “on whether [a] creditor is absorbing closing costs as well as whether [it] is offsetting costs for specific settlement services.”
- When disclosing all of the closing costs charged to consumers, creditors must include a corresponding total amount of lender credits.
- Creditors that provide “a lender credit to offset a certain dollar amount of closing costs” without specifying which costs are providing a general lender credit. The FAQs outlines the disclosure process.
- Lender credits can only change in certain circumstances. Regulation Z does not limit increases in lender credits on a Loan Estimate, but a decrease in “lender credits disclosed on [a] Loan Estimate” may “lead to a violation of the good faith disclosure standard” if it is not tied to a triggering event outlined in Regulation Z.
On December 18, the CFPB published two guides to assist with TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID) compliance for construction-only and construction-permanent loans. The Bureau notes that under Regulation Z, “a creditor may treat a construction-permanent loan as either one, combined transaction or as two or more separate transactions.” Disclosure options are (i) one, combined loan estimate along with one, combined closing disclosure; or (ii) two or more loan estimates and two or more closing disclosures for each phase of the construction-permanent loan. Appendix D in both the Combined Guide and the Separate Guide provides methods that may be used for estimating construction phase financing disclosures. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau previously released FAQs in May concerning the application of TRID to construction loans.
On November 20, the CFPB issued a request for information (RFI) regarding the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures Rule (TRID Rule) assessment, which is required by Section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1022(d) requires the Bureau to conduct an assessment of each “significant rule or order” no later than five years after its effective date. The Bureau issued the TRID Rule in November 2013, and the rule took effect on October 3, 2015. In addition to comments received on this RFI, the Bureau notes that it is also considering the approximately 63 comments already received regarding the TRID Rule from the 2018 series of RFIs issued on the adopted regulations and new rulemakings, as well as the inherited regulations (covered by InfoBytes here and here).
The RFI seeks public feedback on any information relevant to assessing the effectiveness of the TRID Rule, including (i) comments on the feasibility and effectiveness of the assessment plan; (ii) recommendations to improve the assessment plan; (iii) data and information about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of the TRID Rule; and (iv) recommendations for modifying, expanding, or eliminating the TRID Rule.
Comments must be received within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.
On July 31, the CFPB released FAQs to assist with TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID Rule) compliance. The five new FAQs relate to providing loan estimates to consumers. Highlights include:
- If a consumer submits the six pieces of information (name, income, social security number, property address, estimate of the value of the property, and loan amount sought) that constitute an application under the TRID Rule, the creditor must ensure that a loan estimate is delivered or placed in the mail within three business days.
- A creditor cannot require the consumer to submit anything other than the six pieces of information that constitute an application under the TRID Rule as a condition to providing a loan estimate.
- A creditor cannot require a consumer to provide verifying documents in order to receive a loan estimate.
- If a consumer submits the six pieces of information that constitute an application, in order to receive a pre-approval or a pre-qualification letter, the creditor must also provide a loan estimate within three business days of receipt.
- A creditor may collection additional information, beyond the six pieces of information that constitute an application, it deems necessary to process a request for a mortgage loan, including a request for a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter.