Last month, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law a variety of bills affecting mortgage loan servicers. One bill of note, Oklahoma HB 1123, decreases the time in which a mortgage release must be filed after a mortgage has been satisfied from fifty (50) days to thirty (30) days. Moreover, if a mortgage holder fails to file a release within thirty (30) days after payment of the debt, borrowers may request in writing that the mortgage holder release the mortgage, and the mortgage holder must release the mortgage within ten (10) days of the request. Should a mortgage holder fail to file a release within ten (10) days of receiving a written request, the affected borrower is entitled to recover statutory damages of up to $100.00 per day from the note holder until the mortgage is released.
A related bill, Oklahoma HB 1120, gives title insurance companies and their agents standing to bring an action on behalf of borrowers to recover the penalties for failure to release a satisfied mortgage within the requisite time period. These provisions go into effect on November 1, 2015, giving mortgage servicers in Oklahoma approximately six months from the time the bill was passed to modify servicing procedures and effectively integrate these modified procedures into their loan servicing systems. These changes, along with new federal regulations taking effect in November 2015, underscore the need for proactive, continued regulatory compliance monitoring and training on the part of mortgage servicers.