On May 25, the CFPB issued a request for comment on its plans for assessing the 2014 Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule’s effectiveness in meeting the purposes and objectives outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau to assess each significant rule or order it adopts under Federal consumer financial laws. According to the request for comment, and a May 25 blog post on the CFPB’s website, the self-assessment will focus on objectives to ensure that: (i) consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions; (ii) consumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination; (iii) outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations are regularly identified and addressed in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens; (iv) federal consumer financial law is enforced consistently, without regard to the status of a person as a depository institution, in order to promote fair competition; and (v) markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation.
The Dodd-Frank Act established new standards for mortgage lending and created a class of “qualified mortgage” (QM) loans. The standards required lenders to assess consumers’ ability to repay (ATR). Dodd-Frank also provided for a class of QM loans that must not have “certain risky product features and are presumed to comply with the ATR requirement.”
The CFPB issued rules to make ATR and QM standards “clear and effective” in January 2013. As previously covered in a Special Alert, the rule and its amendments that took effect on January 10, 2014 provide a mechanism for curing point-and-fees overages on QM loans as well as more minor amendments to its mortgage origination and servicing rules.