As the mortgage industry continues to evolve, mortgage-related government scrutiny continues. Buckley is a leading provider of legal services to the mortgage industry, representing the top mortgage originators and servicers in the United States. Our clients include the nation’s largest financial institutions, regional banks and lenders, start-up firms, mortgage insurers, title insurers, securities broker-dealers, private equity investors, specialty servicers, warehouse lenders, e-commerce and technology vendors, home builders, and mortgage industry trade associations.
Our comprehensive experience is based on decades of experience as trusted counselors across regulation, enforcement, litigation, transactions, and licensing, and our team approach informs our advice across the entire spectrum of work that we do. Our firm defends mortgage lenders and servicers in every stage of government investigation and enforcement, as well as federal and state court proceedings. We provide regulatory counseling on compliance matters for all aspects of the origination and servicing process, including fair and responsible lending and servicing, the complex set of federal and state disclosure and timing requirements, government insured and guaranteed lending, mortgage fraud and anti-money laundering (AML), preemption, privacy and information security, and electronic delivery of commercial and residential loans. We assist nonbank clients in analyzing state license requirements to engage in the various aspects of the mortgage business, as well as to obtain such licenses or approvals for changes of control. We work with our clients to develop new products as well as design and implement new policies, procedures, and disclosures that ensure compliance with recently enacted federal and state laws and regulations. We also advise on the purchase and sale of mortgage companies, servicers, settlement service providers, as well as mortgage loans and mortgage servicing rights, and assist in negotiating servicing sub-servicing, credit facility, joint venture, private-label outsourcing, technology, and other critical vendor agreements.
Significant work includes:
- Assisted a wide range of bank and nonbank lenders and servicers in adapting systems and procedures to implement the sweeping mortgage regulations adopted under the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule, Loan Originator Compensation Rule, Mortgage Servicing Rules, Truth in Lending Act-Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (TILA-RESPA) Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID), and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)
- Represented numerous mortgage servicers in CFPB investigations regarding alleged violations of RESPA, the Mortgage Servicing Rules (MSR) and the prohibition on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP)
- Conducted due diligence and transactional work in connection with numerous mortgage lender and servicer acquisitions
- Conducted substantial reviews of disclosure and loan documents for mortgage lenders transitioning to new document vendors
- Represented mortgage servicer in complex investigation involving the interplay of the Bankruptcy Code and RESPA’s escrow rule
- Representation of numerous correspondent lenders in actions for breach of contract and indemnification brought by the ResCap Liquidating Trust as successor to Residential Funding Company (RFC) arising from the sale and subsequent securitization of residential mortgage loans
- Represented a U.S. financial services company in its exit from mortgage business
- Represented a U.S. financial services company in sale of mortgage servicing rights and a default servicing platform to Green Tree, which included a subservicing arrangement between the two entities
- Represented a federally chartered bank in the sale of mortgage servicing rights to Two Harbors
- Represented a private equity firm in an equity investment in a reverse mortgage lender
- Represented a mortgage company in $100M stock sale to private equity firm
- Represented a Wall Street bank in a mortgage loan private-label outsourcing arrangement, including related servicing and loan sale agreements
- Represented a client in the acquisition of two mortgage-related fintech companies
- Representing clients in connection with various portfolio retention structures
- Represented clients in establishing Affiliated Business Arrangements/joint ventures
Buckley is a leading provider of legal services to the mortgage lending industry and advises on all aspects of the origination process. We assist clients with product development, advertising and marketing, disclosures, loan originator compensation, underwriting/ability-to-repay, fair lending, applying Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and other anti-kickback requirements to business development efforts, appraisal management, vendor relations, and electronic disclosure and signature. Our clients include mortgage lenders, brokers and insurers, as well as securities broker-dealers, consumer finance companies, home builders, document preparation firms, real estate brokers, lead generators, and mortgage industry trade associations. Our attorneys are recognized authorities on the laws affecting this industry, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Fair Housing Act (FHA), Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), RESPA, Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), Homeowners Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the myriad state laws applicable to mortgage origination.
Our attorneys advise on mortgage servicing-related examination, enforcement, regulatory counseling, litigation, and transactional matters. We advise on all issues pertaining to loss mitigation foreclosure alternatives, collection activities, using affiliated providers for default or other services, payment application, managing escrows, portfolio retention, state licensing, and federal preemption for bank servicing loans given the impact of Dodd-Frank. We are involved in regulatory and private litigation actions pertaining to lender-placed insurance, fair and responsible servicing; loss mitigation and loan modifications; foreclosure and bankruptcy; affiliated and unaffiliated vendor management matters; and False Claims Act (FCA)-related issues. We guide clients through Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) examinations and investigations, state regulator examinations and enforcement (including joint actions through the Multi-state Mortgage Committee (MMC)), Servicemember's Civil Relief Act (SCRA) investigations and enforcement actions, state attorney general investigations, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigations. We negotiate mortgage servicing right purchase and sale agreements, sub-servicing agreements, and various types of vendor agreements. We also assist with remedial efforts to enhance servicing compliance policies, procedures, practices, and internal controls, including the preparation of comprehensive legal requirement inventories, risk assessments, policies, and procedures.
Our lawyers provide local, state, and federal compliance and risk management advice. We develop compliance management programs, including written policies, training, and ongoing monitoring to address compliance with evolving lending laws and regulations. We advise on the complex rules governing Federal Housing Administration lending and servicing. We have played an active role in federal compliance initiatives involving government agencies, including the various investigations and actions relating to the foreclosure crisis such as the interagency horizontal review of the mortgage servicing industry and related Independent Foreclosure Review process. We also regularly conduct 50-state surveys of laws governing the mortgage industry.
Our firm advises on mortgage-related enforcement matters initiated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Federal Housing Administration, state regulators (both individually and through the MMC) and state attorneys general. We resolve complex parallel proceedings involving concurrent government enforcement and civil litigation, congressional investigations, and class actions. We assist our clients in responding to bank regulatory examinations, as well as Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Ginnie Mae audits and inspector general reviews.
Our litigators defend mortgage-related class action and complex civil claims, ranging from multi-district class and mass actions and other complex civil litigation to arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. Our experience involves allegations of fair and responsible lending, unfair competition and deceptive trade acts and practices, fraud, false statements, false claims, breach of contract, loan repurchase claims, and breach of fiduciary duties, as well as alleged violations of regulations and laws governing the mortgage industry. We offer our mortgage industry clients a strong appellate practice, and serve as amicus curiae counsel on cases that impact this industry.
Buckley is involved in the full range of transactions relevant to mortgage companies, servicers, settlement service providers, vendors, and investors. We negotiate the most favorable business terms possible for our clients by leveraging our knowledge of the mortgage industry and its business risks, our experience handling litigation and enforcement matters, and our deep understanding of the relevant laws, regulations, and the expectations of regulators, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE), and Ginnie Mae. Our lawyers are experienced in regulatory and corporate due diligence of both acquisition or investment targets as well as service providers. We negotiate mergers and acquisitions of mortgage lenders, servicers, brokers, settlement service providers, and other service providers; asset purchase and sale transactions, including loans and servicing rights; and distressed asset purchases and sales agreements. We negotiate and document correspondent, wholesale lending, broker, servicing and subservicing, pooling and servicing, warehouse lending and other credit facility, outsourcing, co-branding, portfolio retention, and marketing and affinity marketing agreements. We are also involved in vendor transactions that include, loan origination, servicing, collections, settlement services, vendor arrangements, the provision of electronic/digital mortgage-related services, and joint ventures under Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act's (RESPA) affiliated business arrangement rules.
Our firm offers law-related licensing services to mortgage lenders, loan investors, and mortgage servicing rights-owners, brokers, and servicers, as well as debt collectors, consumer finance companies, and other non-depository financial institutions. We assist with every phase of the licensing process, from identifying potential target licenses to interacting with state regulatory agencies. We work with our clients to obtain licenses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and most U.S. territories. Our experience includes federal and state licensing; mortgage, Federal Housing Administration, and loan originator/loan officer licensing; the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS); and license changes of control, modifications, upgrades, downgrades, and surrenders. We navigate our clients through amendments to corporate structure and change of control, management and location, and Certificate of Authority and DBA filings. Our attorneys have extensive experience working with state and federal regulators and licensing authorities on licensing and compliance matters. Our integrated approach to licensing give us an advantage when drafting initial applications and follow-on requests that have the best chance of obtaining timely approval.
Buckley delivers an in-depth understanding of mortgage lending operations, loan sale transactions, and market expectations in the representation of mortgage lenders in loan repurchase litigation brought by investors, trustees, and bond insurers alleging breaches of representations and warranties in loan purchase or credit enhancement agreements. We also assist clients in responding to repurchase demands made by private investors and government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). As needed, our team can assist in the difficult, loan-by-loan analysis of the validity of repurchase requests.
Our attorneys routinely advise mortgage insurers on a broad range of compliance matters, including those involving the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA); federal, state, and international privacy laws; Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA); Fair Housing Act; Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and Truth in Lending Act (TILA). We also counsel clients on issues pertaining to federal and state fair debt collection laws, state insurance statues, and other state and federal laws and regulations. We assist our clients in drafting and negotiating mortgage insurance contracts and ancillary agreements, contract underwriting, and other arrangements with various settlement service providers. We represent mortgage insurers before Congress, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), FTC, and federal banking and state regulatory agencies.
Buckley advises corporate clients and industry trade associations on pending federal and state legislative and regulatory developments affecting the mortgage industry. Our lawyers draft legislative and regulatory language, prepare comment letters, and advocate client positions before Congress, regulatory agencies, and state legislatures.
On October 28, HUD and DOJ announced a long-awaited Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which provides prudential guidance concerning the application of the False Claims Act to matters involving alleged noncompliance with FHA guidelines. The announcement was made by HUD Secretary Dr. Benjamin S...Special Alerts
"HUD’s disparate impact proposal clarifies fair lending laws" by Jeffrey P. Naimon and H Joshua Kotin (Law360)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last month released its long-anticipated proposal to revise its disparate impact rule under the Fair Housing Act. Although the proposal has attracted some criticism from those who believe the proposal would make it more difficult for plaintiffs...Articles
"Dorian update: How state laws protect servicemembers" by Jeffrey P. Naimon, Sasha Leonhardt, and Jessica M. Shannon (Law360)
Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and southeastern United States in late August and early September, and the governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Puerto Rico authorized the activation of state National Guard forces for response efforts. In addition, the Rhode...Articles
"FHA enforcement: What decreased reliance on the False Claims Act means for FHA lenders and servicers" by Melissa Klimkiewicz, Michelle L. Rogers, and Katherine Brockway Katz (HousingWire)
Top offcials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are looking to chart a new course to win back banks that have fled the Federal Housing Administration lending program following a series of multimilliondollar False Claims Act settlements. In the past, HUD has partnered with the U...Articles
"Alternative data and fair lending face off: The relationship is complicated" by Jonice Gray Tucker and Caroline M. Stapleton (Mortgage Compliance Magazine)
Thinking of getting into a relationship with alternative data? You're not alone. Use of "alternate data," a term broadly used to describe consumer information gathered from non-conventional sources, is becoming increasingly attractive to mortgage lenders, their service providers, and even consumers...Articles
INTRODUCTION The Know Before You Owe: TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures Rule (“TRID Rule”) and its initial accompanying amendments have now been in effect for several years, and the rule continues to evolve. In response to industry requests, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”)...Articles
"Breaking down (language) barriers: A practical approach to LEP borrowers" by Jessica L. Pollet and Susanna K. Sedrak (Westlaw Journal)
In roughly 5.3 million households in the United States, the head of the house doesn’t speak English as the primary language or has limited ability to understand it.1 But like most individuals seeking full participation in the U.S. economy, those with limited English proficiency need access to...Articles
"Even with a safe harbor, private flood insurance rules may prove vexing" by Melissa Klimkiewicz and Brandy A. Hood (National Mortgage News)
Seven years after Congress mandated that the federal banking agencies issue rules to facilitate growth of the private flood insurance market, the rules are here, and mortgage lenders and servicers should take notice. Starting on July 1, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller...Articles
"Is the CFPB bound by its non-binding guidance? The implications of the PHH due process decision for TRID and other CFPB rules" by Brandy A. Hood and Steven R. vonBerg
Predictability and certainty are crucial components of the consumer finance market. Consumers crave it, as do industry participants. A common understanding of legal requirements promotes uniformity in the application of consumer protections and allows lenders, servicers, systems providers,...Buckley Commentary & Analysis
"7 tips for surviving FHA’s annual recertification process" by Melissa Klimkiewicz, Michelle L. Rogers, Kathryn L. Ryan, and Kathryn R. Goodman (HousingWire)
The past year brought some good news for Federal Housing Administration mortgagees, as top Department of Housing and Urban Development officials continued to urge the Department of Justice to reduce reliance on the False Claims Act in enforcing FHA program requirements. Notwithstanding this...Articles
"The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act: Common compliance challenges" by Sherry-Maria Safchuk and Frida Alim (The Review of Banking & Financial Services)
Since 2015, financial institutions have been inundated with reviewing and implementing numerous changes to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”) as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The act transferred HMDA rulemaking authority to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (“Bureau”), added new...Articles
"Hurricane Florence: How state laws protect service members" by Jeffrey P. Naimon, Sasha Leonhardt, and Jessica M. Shannon (Law360)
As the southeastern United States braces for Hurricane Florence, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have authorized their state National Guard for response efforts, and neighboring governors in Maryland and West Virginia have placed their National Guard members on notice...Articles
"Tossing life preservers into floodwaters: Next steps for the mortgage and flood insurance markets" co-authored by Melissa Klimkiewicz (Aon Risk Solutions)
As hurricane seasons go, 2017’s stands as the most expensive in U.S. history. Yet the winds that hit the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico were not unprecedented. Indeed, given the long break since the Katrina, Rita, and Wilma landfalls of 2004-2005, there was some sense that hurricanes Irma and Maria...Articles
We get it: The simple mention of climate change invokes a visceral reaction from believers and skeptics alike. Rest assured; we are not trying to achieve consensus regarding the planet’s future through this article. We do, however, want lenders and servicers to take a fresh look at some...C-Suite Review
The prevalence of wholesale mortgage brokers has fluctuated dramatically in the past two decades, peaking in the mid-to-late 2000s due to high homebuyer demand and a comparatively lax regulatory environment, and crashing with the housing market and subsequent financial crisis. The massive overhaul...C-Suite Review
Notwithstanding the dramatic expansion of consumer financial protection regulation in the wake of the financial crisis and the Dodd-Frank Act, most would still agree with the general principle that markets, not regulations, should determine the prices that consumers pay for taking a loan. But...Articles
"The rise and fall of statistical sampling in RMBS cases" by Amanda Lawrence and Michael A. Rome (Law360)
The 2008 mortgage crisis prompted a wave of residential mortgage-backed securities and repurchase litigation as trustees, certificate holders (i.e. investors), monoline insurers, securitizers and other stakeholders pursued claims related to loans securitized in RMBS trusts. One of the hallmarks of...Articles
Jeffrey P. Naimon and Jon David D. Langlois Authored a Law360 Article, "Ignore Borrower Preference In Loss Mitigation? CFPB Says Yes"
Mortgage servicers should not listen to borrowers when it comes to loss mitigation. At least, that’s what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says. More specifically, servicers should disregard when a borrower tells the servicer they do not want to keep their home. Officially, this has been...Articles
Melissa Klimkiewicz and Brandy A. Hood Authored a Law360 Article, "Managing Flood Risk When '1,000-Year' Floods Seem Common"
Hurricane Harvey is the most significant in a recent series of catastrophic coastal and riverine floods impacting communities across the United States. This “1,000-year flood” follows two consecutive years of “500-year” floods in Houston, and Houston is not alone. Just ask Missourians about the “1,...Articles
Jeffrey P. Naimon and Sasha Leonhardt Authored a Law360 Article, "Harvey Crisis: How State Laws Will Protect Servicemembers"
As Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and southeastern Texas this past weekend, thousands of first responders were called to action to provide critical assistance to communities along the Gulf Coast. Even as this storm continues to affect those along the water and move inland, rescue operations,...Articles
On January 22, the Federal Housing Finance Agency published its annual adjustment to the cap on average total assets used to determine whether a Federal Home Loan Bank member qualifies as a community financial institution (CFI). The new cap is $1,224,000,000. Under the Federal Home Loan Bank Act,...InfoBytes
According to sources, on January 17, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger sent a letter to prominent members of Congress announcing plans to extend the qualified mortgage patch—which exempts loans eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) from the Qualified Mortgage (QM) Rule’s 43 percent...InfoBytes
On January 15, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted final approval of a class action settlement between homeowners and a mortgage company to resolve allegations that the company violated the Internal Revenue Code by failing to report deferred mortgage interest...InfoBytes
On January 16, Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) inquiring about the benefits and drawbacks of using alternative data in mortgage lending, as well as the federal government’s role in overseeing the use of...InfoBytes
On December 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a TILA case brought by a consumer against his mortgage lender, citing lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the provisions of FIRREA that require claims involving a bank that is in receivership to be...InfoBytes
On December 30, the FTC announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada had, on December 5, granted its motion for summary judgment in an action against a mortgage loan modification operation (operation) for allegedly violating the FTC Act and the Mortgage Assistance Relief...InfoBytes
California Court of Appeal: Borrowers allowed opportunity to cure default on missed loan modification payments
On December 16, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District allowed borrowers who missed payments on their modified mortgage loan to reinstate the loan and avoid foreclosure by paying the amount in default under the terms of the modified loan, rather than the amount that would...InfoBytes
On December 16, a national bank and the city of Philadelphia agreed to a $10 million settlement in a fair lending suit filed against a national bank in 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The settlement resolves claims against the bank alleging violations of...InfoBytes
On December 18, the CFPB announced final rules adjusting the asset-size thresholds under HMDA (Regulation C) and TILA (Regulation Z). Both rules take effect on January 1, 2020. Under HMDA, institutions with assets below certain dollar thresholds are exempt from the collection and reporting...InfoBytes
On December 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgement in favor of a bank and mortgage servicer defendants in an action brought by a consumer to prevent foreclosure of his property. According to the unpublished opinion, in 2016, the...InfoBytes
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 7, 2018) – Buckley Sandler LLP today formally announced the launch of APPROVED , a new approach to licensing for financial services companies. Buckley Sandler is building upon years of financial services experience and licensing know-how to offer APPROVED, a technology-...Press Releases
Buckley Sandler today announced the publication of the second edition of the CFPB Mortgage Origination Rules Deskbook. Produced in partnership with the American Bankers Association, the book is the definitive guide for bank and nonbank mortgage originators navigating the Consumer...Announcements
BuckleySandler LLP hosted its eighth annual Fair Lending Today conference in Washington, DC on March 13-14, 2016. The two-day event featured an evening of interactive roundtable discussions on fair lending issues, followed by a full day of seminars. The sessions were led by BuckleySandler attorneys...Press Releases
Buckley Sandler Files Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf of Industry Group in RESPA Case; Marks First Appeal Against CFPB Director Decision
On October 5, 2015, Buckley Sandler attorneys filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Consumer Mortgage Coalition (CMC) in the first case to come up on appeal to the District of Columbia Circuit since the CFPB was founded in 2011. In the CMC’s brief, Buckley Sandler attorneys argued that the...Press Releases
Buckley Sandler LLP hosted its annual Fair Lending Today conference in Washington, DC, March 15-16, 2015. The two-day event featured an evening of interactive roundtable discussions on fair lending issues, followed by a full day of seminars. The roundtables and seminars were led by Buckley Sandler...Press Releases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 9, 2014) – Buckley Sandler LLP , a leading financial services and criminal and civil enforcement defense law firm, is pleased to announce the availability of “The New CFPB Mortgage Origination Rules Deskbook.” Published in partnership with the American Bankers Association...Press Releases
Our Mortgages Team
Special Alert: HUD, DOJ sign MOU on mortgage False Claims Act violations
"HUD’s disparate impact proposal clarifies fair lending laws" by Jeffrey P. Naimon and H Joshua Kotin (Law360)
"Dorian update: How state laws protect servicemembers" by Jeffrey P. Naimon, Sasha Leonhardt, and Jessica M. Shannon (Law360)
Recent Blog Posts
January 24, 2020
FHFA raises annual CFI cap
January 24, 2020
Kraninger outlines plan to extend GSE patch, previews QM Rule
January 22, 2020
District Court approves class settlement in mortgage tax action
January 22, 2020
Democratic Congressmen ask GAO to look at alternative data in mortgage lending
January 9, 2020
9th Circuit affirms no jurisdiction without exhaustion of administrative remedies