CFPB Proposes Amendments to Facilitate Rural Access to Credit

On January 29th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) proposed changes to its mortgage rules to facilitate responsible lending by small creditors, particularly in rural and underserved areas. The proposal would (i) expand the definition of “small creditor,” raising the loan origination limit for small­creditor status from 500 first­ lien mortgage loans to 2,000 and would exclude loans held in portfolio by the creditor and its affiliates; (ii) include mortgage affiliates in calculation of small­creditor status; (iii) expand the definition of “rural” areas; (iv) provide grace periods for small creditor and rural or underserved creditor status; (v) create a one­year qualifying period for rural or underserved creditor status; and (vi) provide additional implementation time for small creditors. Comments should be submitted on or before March 30th, 2015. CFPB Press Release.

Supervisory Compliance Bulletin

On January 27th, the CFPB issued a bulletin to remind supervised financial institutions of existing regulatory requirements regarding confidential supervisory information. The bulletin provides guidance on what types of information constitute confidential supervisory information and explains that disclosure of confidential supervisory information is not allowed, with limited exceptions. The CFPB is aware that some supervised financial institutions may have entered into non­disclosure agreements that purport to restrict the institution from sharing information with a regulator, or to require the institution to notify a third party when it shares information. The bulletin explains that provisions in non­disclosure agreements do not alter or limit the CFPB’s existing supervisory authority or the supervised financial institution’s obligations relating to confidential supervisory information. CFPB Press Release.