FNMA /Fannie Mae

CFPB Seeks Comments on Proposed Mortgage Servicing Rule

CFPB Seeks Servicing Agent Comments on Proposed Mortgage Servicing Rules.  This is an important discussion for Service Providers who work for Mortgage Lenders

 LINK TO CFPB POST

By Erik Durbin and Paul Rothstein – MAY 04, 2017

Today, we’ve released our plan to assess the effectiveness of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) mortgage servicing rule. We are asking the public to comment on our plan, to suggest sources of data, and generally to provide other information that would help with the assessment.

Mortgage loan servicers are typically responsible for several activities relating to mortgage loans such as:

  • Processing loan payments
  • Responding to borrower inquiries
  • Keeping track of principal and interest paid
  • Managing escrow accounts
  • Reporting to investors
  • Pursuing collection and loss mitigation activities (including foreclosures and loan modifications) under certain circumstances

In January 2013, the CFPB issued the 2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule. We amended the rule a few times before it took effect, and we refer to all of the requirements and related amendments that took effect on January 10, 2014, as the RESPA mortgage servicing rule. This rule gave borrowers new consumer protections related to mortgage loan servicing, many of which were aimed at helping consumers who were having trouble making their mortgage payments.

The RESPA mortgage servicing rule requires, among other things, that servicers provide disclosures to borrowers related to force-placed insurance, respond to errors asserted by borrowers in a timely manner, and follow certain procedures related to loss mitigation applications and communications with borrowers. For example, servicers generally must acknowledge written notices of error within five days and investigate and respond to the borrower in writing within 30 days. In general, the consumer protection purposes of RESPA include that servicers respond to borrower requests and complaints in a timely manner, maintain and provide accurate information, help borrowers avoid unwarranted or unnecessary costs and fees, and facilitate review for foreclosure avoidance options.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) requires us to review some of our rules within five years after they take effect. These formal reviews are called assessments. We are conducting an assessment of the RESPA mortgage servicing rule, and we will issue a report of the assessment by January 2019. As required by law, the assessment will address the rule’s effectiveness in meeting the purposes and objectives of title X of the Dodd-Frank Act and the specific goals of the rule, using available evidence and data. We recently released our plan for the remittance rule assessment, as well.

We see conducting the assessment as an opportunity. Conducting the assessment will advance our knowledge of the benefits and costs of the key requirements of the RESPA mortgage servicing rule. The assessment will also provide the public with information on the mortgage servicing market, and help us to fulfill our commitment to be an evidence-based and effective agency.

We would like your help in improving the assessment.

We invite consumers, consumer advocates, housing counselors, mortgage loan servicers, industry representatives, and other interested parties to comment on our assessment plan. Comments can suggest sources of data, offer other recommendations, and generally provide information that would help us understand the rule’s effectiveness or improve this important work.

We are committed to well-tailored and effective regulations and have sought to carefully calibrate our efforts to ensure consistency with respect to consumer financial protections across the financial services marketplace.

Comments on the plan will be due 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Learn more about your options and rights related to mortgage loans.

For more information on how to comply with the Bureau’s mortgage servicing rules, visit our implementation and guidance page.

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Join the conversation. Follow CFPB on Twitter  and Facebook .

 

New FNMA and FHLMC URLA’s Announced

Sounds like alphabet soup with all the acronyms,  but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have published the new, redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application forms. So the long-standing 1004 Loan Application that we all know (and often had signed at closing) will soon be history.  The press release reads:

WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) and Freddie Mac today announced the publication of the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), the standardized form used by borrowers to apply for a mortgage loan. This is the first substantial revision made to the form in more than 20 years and the changes will allow lenders to deliver an easier, more consumer-friendly loan application experience. The redesigned URLA form includes a reorganized layout, simplified terminology, and new data fields that capture necessary information in an easy-to-read format. Additionally, the GSEs worked together to create a common corresponding dataset, called the Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD) to ensure consistency of data delivery.

“The redesigned URLA is the result of extensive collaboration with industry stakeholders,” said Andrew Bon Salle, Executive Vice President, Single-Family Business, Fannie Mae. “We are proud to be a part of this effort that enables lenders to better serve their customers by providing ease and clarity to borrowers during the loan origination process.”

The documents are being published now, in an effort to provide the industry with ample time to become familiarized with the URLA and ULAD updates and plan necessary changes to their systems. Lenders may begin using the redesigned URLA on January 1, 2018. A timeline for required use of the redesigned URLA and ULAD will be established at a later date.

Revisions made to the URLA form and corresponding ULAD include:

  • Redesigned format: Improved navigation and organization that will support accurate data collection and better efficiency for a more consumer-friendly experience.
  • New and updated fields: Capture loan application details that reflect today’s mortgage lending business and support both the GSEs’ and government requirements.
  • Clearer instructions: Simplified terminology enables borrowers to complete the loan application with less help from the lender.
  • Revised government monitoring information: Incorporates the revised Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) demographic questions.
  • Spanish informational version: Will be available soon.

The GSEs collaborated closely with lenders, technology solution providers, mortgage insurers, trade associations, housing advocates, borrower groups, and other government agencies (CFPB, FHA, VA, and USDA-RD), throughout the URLA project from the initial requirements gathering, reviews of the form revisions, and contributions to the data. For the first time, the GSEs conducted extensive consumer and lender usability testing across the U.S. to gather their feedback on the URLA designs. The designs were updated based on the responses gathered and were used in subsequent usability testing and industry outreach.

Today’s announcement is part of the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP), a larger joint initiative undertaken by the GSEs, under FHFA direction, to standardize single-family mortgage data in the U.S.

To learn more about the redesigned, consumer-friendly URLA and corresponding dataset – ULAD visit – https://fanniemae.com/singlefamily/uniform-residential-loan-application.

Fannie Mae helps make the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and affordable rental housing possible for millions of Americans. We partner with lenders to create housing opportunities for families across the country. We are driving positive changes in housing finance to make the home buying process easier, while reducing costs and risk. To learn more visit fanniemae.com

FEMA Flood Maps Can be Appealed to Lower Flood Insurance Costs

Harrisburg, PA – Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today issued a consumer alert telling homeowners about a process by which they can appeal their property’s placement in a flood zone by the federal government, which in many cases requires them to purchase flood insurance.

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently re-mapped most of the country using 100-year flood projections, resulting in many homes being designated in flood zones which were never there before, despite many of these homes never or rarely having experienced flooding,” Commissioner Miller said. “If the mortgage on a home is backed by the federal government, which many are, then the homeowner must buy flood insurance.”

To appeal a home’s placement in what is officially called a Special Flood Hazard Area, the homeowner must show the lowest adjacent grade, or the lowest ground touching the structure, is at or above what is called the Base Flood Elevation. The Base Flood Elevation is the computed elevation to which flood water is anticipated to rise during the base flood used in determining the land is in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Commissioner Miller noted that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to provide this information in a letter to FEMA. For this type of appeal, called a Letter of Map Amendment, there is no charge to the consumer.

Homeowners can get more information on how to appeal a flood zone designation, get a flood map, and find answers to other questions, by going to https://www.fema.gov/information-homeowners. Homeowners can also call 1-877-FEMA-MAP (1-877-336-2627) to get information on appealing a flood zone designation.

As NFIP premiums have risen and more homes have been re-mapped into flood zones, more private insurers have started entering the flood insurance market. However, private companies may not cover higher risk properties, leaving the NFIP as the only option for some homeowners.  Homeowners who now have NFIP insurance with a subsidy, and switch to a private policy, will likely not be eligible for any subsidy if they later go back to the NFIP. Currently, only those homes insured through the NFIP are eligible for federal grants to help cover the cost of flood mitigation work, such as raising a home to lessen the chances of flooding in the future.

“In many cases, we have found comparable private flood coverage is much less expensive than the NFIP product,” said Commissioner Miller. “I encourage consumers who need or want flood insurance to shop and find the best coverage for them at the best price.”

Get Your Closing Paperwork Right with the New TRID

Remember, all loan applications taken through July 31, 2015  fall under the existing HUD regulations using the existing HUD-1 and Truth in Lending Rules, regardless of the closing date.

Loan applications taken as of August 1st will require the TRID change.  In the real world, that means we will be alternating between BOTH TRID and the OLD HUD-1/RESPA/TIL forms well into August, September and October.

Good article from Locke, Lord, LLP about the CFPB’s “Sensitivity” to issues faced with TRID – the new Truth in Lending and Respa form changes that start with loan applications taken August 1st.

Can You Prove the Dates Required Under TRID?

Excellent article for title companies, and especially smaller title agencies by Aaron Prenger of Spencer, Fane, Britt and Browne, called” Snail Mail: a Whale of a fail…”  pointing out the importance of title copanies and lenders proving the dates documents were sent out and received.

” With the upcoming regulatory changes going into effect on August 1st, it is more important than ever for mortgage lenders and title companies to have an electronic disclosure system…”

” Practically speaking, this means lenders and title companies that do not use electronic disclosures will not be able to begin collecting required documentation until four days after taking an application by phone or online. Likewise, such lenders will need to have their closing packages prepared at least seven days prior to closing.

Read the whole article here:  “Snail mail: a whale of a fail that will make your borrowers bail, your lenders flail, and leave you on the rail”

Legal Issues Affecting Real Estate and Mortgage Title Closings

Excellent article by  Alston and Bird (AlstonFinance.com)

Non-Agency Residential Mortgage Loans in 2014:   A Survey of Legal Issues Affecting the Market. (Read entire article)

It covers in a solid overview of :

  • Qualified Mortgages
  • QRM and Risk Retention
  • Due Diligence Rule
  • Developments in Mortgage Servicing and ECOA
  • Mortgage Servicing Transfers
  • Proposed Changes in Mortgage Servicing and Safe Harbor Protection

“Conclusion

As can be seen, 2014 was a watershed year in the history of residential mortgage finance. More regulations were passed than would be ordinarily expected in a full decade.  A lot remains to be digested, and some areas of regulation are still unresolved, but overall the biggest surprise was that all of these regulations had a surprisingly small impact on the RMBS market. Origination standards had tightenedso much after the financial crisis that the changes from QMs had very little impact. QRMs did not have a loan-to-valueratio requirement and was virtually the same as QMs, so the impact on the market was negligible. Regulation AB IIhas resulted in no real change in the RMBS market, which was completely private anyway. There were a number ofchanges in mortgage servicing, and the mergers and acquisitions market was surprisingly active.”

CFPB Finalizes TIL-RESPA Changes

Good Blog article by Buckley Sandler LLP that briefly outlines TIL-RESPA Changes

On January 20, 2015, the CFPB finalized amendments to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (“TRID”) rule that make a number of amendments, clarifications, and corrections, including:

  • Relaxing the redisclosure requirements after a rate lock.  The final rule permits creditors to provide a revised Loan Estimate within three business days after an interest rate is locked, instead of the current requirement to provide the revised Loan Estimate on the date the rate is locked (and instead of the proposed rule that would have allowed only one business day)
  • Creating room on the Loan Estimate for the disclosure that must be provided on the initial Loan Estimate as a condition of issuing a revised estimate for construction loans where the creditor reasonably expects settlement to occur more than 60 days after the initial estimate is provided
  • Adding the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure to the list of loan documents that must disclose the name and NMLSR ID number of the loan originator organization and individual loan originator under 12 C.F.R. § 1026.36(g)
  • Providing additional guidance related to the disclosure of escrow accounts, such as when an escrow account is established but escrow payments are not required with a particular periodic payment or range of payments
  • Clarifying that, consistent with the requirement for the Loan Estimate, the addresses for all properties securing the loan must be provided on the Closing Disclosure, although an addendum may be used for this purpose

 

More Government Oversight for Third Party Mortgage Vendors – That’s Us, Folks

Bryan Cave has a great article on new regulations on the horizon for title and closing companies and those who handle mortgage funds. The oversight is starting to strangle. I’m not sure how a small “Mom and Pop” type title agency or closing company be expected to keep up with all the regulations and oversight? Soon every transaction will take a group of internal auditors (tough in a small company) to triple check the file and fill out performance standards and performance contracts.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a Bulletin about third party vendors in April 2012 and many others Government Agencies have followed. In is becoming quite obvious that the bar has been raised on how banks are expected to relate to their third party processors, program managers and other service providers. And it is increasingly plain that we are seeing a significant change in how regulators approach the relationships between banks and their third party vendors. Examiners are digging deeper – – especially into the content of bank contracts – and the scope of review is extending to more and more vendors.

The CFPB Bulletin states that the CFPB

“expects supervised banks and nonbanks to oversee their business relationships with service providers in a manner that ensures compliance with Federal consumer financial law”(emphasis added).

While the CFPB focuses on consumer products and services and the OCC and FRB approach vendor risk management more broadly, the Bulletins issued by all three regulators show some similar regulatory expectations, including:

  • Thorough due diligence of the service provider, which the OCC notes could call for on-site visits depending on the risks of the relationship;
  • Clear contractual expectations for the service provider, including enforceable consequences for violating contractual requirements (see more below); and
  • Establishment and maintenance of internal controls and on-going monitoring of the service provider.

So be prepared, in addition to a new HUD-1, new TIL and other forms, there are many more rules and regs on the horizon.

FNMA Says Most Consumers Now Believe they can Qualify for a Mortgage

WASHINGTON – Feb. 12, 2014 – More Americans now believe it would be easy for them to get a mortgage, according to Fannie Mae’s January 2014 National Housing Survey results.  A FNMA  National Housing Survey polled 1,000 Americans via live telephone interview. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts.

Positive consumer attitudes regarding the ease of a mortgage application climbed 2 percentage points to an all-time survey high of 52 percent, while those who think it would be difficult dropped 3 points to 45 percent – an indication that consumers view mortgage credit as more accessible.

While Freddie Mac still predicts more moderate home price gains over the next 12 months, consumers’ view that mortgage credit is more available may allow for continued but measured improvement in the housing recovery.

Consumer attitudes about the economy also improved in January despite downbeat jobs data for the past two months. The share of consumers who believe the economy is on the right track climbed 8 percentage points to 39 percent, while the share who believe it’s on the wrong track declined to 54 percent. Additionally, the share who expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year increased to 44 percent, continuing an upward trend since November 2013.

“For the first time in the National Housing Survey’s three-and-a-half-year history, the share of respondents who said it is easy to get a mortgage surpassed the 50-percent mark, exceeding those who said it would be difficult by 7 percentage points,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

“The gradual upward trend in this indicator during the last few months bodes well for the housing recovery and may be contributing to this month’s increase in consumers’ intention to buy rather than rent their next home,” he adds. “The dip in overall home price expectations, though notable, is consistent with our view of moderating home price gains this year from a robust pace last year, while positive trends in perceptions about the economy and personal finances over the next year support our view of stronger growth in the broader economy.”

Survey highlights

Homeownership and renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation decreased from last month to 2.0 percent.
  • The share of people who say home prices will stay the same in the next 12 months increased 7 percentage points to 45 percent, while the share who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months fell by 6 percentage points to 43 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased by 2 percentage points to 55 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house decreased from last month, down 2 percentage points to 65 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 5 percentage points from last month to 38 percent.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation decreased from last month to 2.8 percent, tying the all-time survey low.
  • Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, a decrease of 5 percentage points from last month.
  • The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move hit an all-time survey high of 70 percent, and those who say they would rent is at an all-time low of 26 percent.

FHFA Reviews Transfer Fees

To end the practice of developers charging a transfer fee each time a property changes hands, FHFA issued a proposed guidance [No.2010-N-11] on August 12, 2010, that would restrict FNMA, FHLMC and the FHLB’s from investing in properties with transfer fee covenants; this includes mortgages on such properties.

Info On Home Closing

Home Closing 101: An Educational Initiative of the American Land Title Association