On October 22, the CFPB finalized targeted amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act mortgage rules that took effect in January 2014. The amendments include:
- Points and fees cure. Under the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule, loans must meet certain requirements to receive “qualified mortgage” or “QM” status. In particular, the points and fees charged to a consumer on a QM generally cannot exceed 3 percent of the loan amount. The amendments permit a lender or secondary market purchaser that discovers, after the loan has closed, that the 3 percent cap was exceeded to retain QM status by refunding the excess amount to the consumer with interest. However, the refund must occur within 210 days after consummation and before the consumer files suit, provides written notice to the lender that the cap has been exceeded, or becomes 60 days past due. In addition, the creditor must maintain and follow policies and procedures for reviewing points and fees and providing refunds to consumers. Although the CFPB stated that this amendment is intended to encourage lenders to provide access to credit to consumers seeking loans that are at or near the points and fees limit, the provision will expire on January 10, 2021.
- Debt-to-income cure. In the April proposal, the Bureau requested comment on the need for a cure for loans that inadvertently exceed the 43% debt-to-income requirement for QMs made under Appendix Q. The Bureau deferred action on this issue, stating that it is considering the comments and whether to address the issue in a future rulemaking.
- Ability-to-Repay exemption for non-profits expanded. Certain 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that lend to low- and moderate-income consumers are already exempt from the Ability-to-Repay rule if the organization makes no more than 200 mortgages a year, among other limitations. The CFPB has amended this provision to allow certain non-profit groups to continue extending interest-free, forgivable loans, also known as “soft seconds,” without regard to the 200-mortgage loan limit.
- Small servicer exemption expanded. Certain small servicers are exempt from some of the CFPB’s new mortgage servicing rules, so long as they (and their affiliates) service 5,000 or fewer mortgage loans and they (or their affiliate) are the creditor or assignee for all of the loans. However, some non-profit organizations do not meet this exemption because they service loans, for a fee, from other associated non-profit lenders that are not considered “affiliates,” even though they operate under mutual contractual obligations to serve the same charitable mission, and use a common name, trademark, or servicemark. Because of this unique corporate structure, these non-profit organizations did not qualify for the small servicer exemption, unlike their for-profit counterparts with similar arrangements. The final rule expands the small servicer exemption to include these non-profit organizations, so long as they are 501(c)(3) non-profits that service loans on behalf of other non-profits within a common network or group of nonprofit entities, and meet other requirements.