- Credit Cards: On February 5th, the CFPB published a blog post explaining several aspects of deferred interest health care credit cards. The topics discussed included, “How to avoid paying interest” and, “What happens at the end of the promotional period.” In the post, the CFPB warned consumers about cards such as GE CareCredit cards and outlined the CFPB’s December 2013 enforcement action against GE for “deceptive and unfair credit card enrollment tactics” (previously reported).
- Housing and Urban Development: On February 2nd, the CFPB announced that it supported a recent announcement by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which stated that HUD would grant lenders the authority to accept Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage loans that are electronically signed, rather than traditional pen and ink signed loans. CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated that the HUD’s initiative is an, “Important step toward improving the mortgage closing experience for consumers…[a]nd can help jumpstart the move toward a more seamless, paperless, and consumer-friendly experience.”
- Outlook: On February 6th, the CFPB announced that several CFPB officials will speak at the 19th Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute, sponsored by the Practicing Law Institute, which will be held during two sessions on April 7-8 and April 28-29. The CFPB announced that the conference will focus on issues such as data security, mortgage litigation, credit, debit, and retail banking, and emerging payments. Meredith Fuchs, the CFPB’s Associate Director and General Counsel, will be the keynote speaker for both sessions. Other CFPB speakers scheduled are:
- Charles Honig, Managing Counsel, Office of Regulations
- Peggy Twohig, Assistant Director for Nonbank Supervision, Office of Supervision Policy
- Christopher Young, Senior Counsel and Chief of Staff, Office of Supervision Policy
- Natalie Williams, Assistant Litigation Deputy, Office of Enforcement
- Hunter Wiggins, Deputy Enforcement Director for Policy and Strategy
- William Wade-Gery, Acting Assistant Director for Card and Payment Markets
- Student Loans: On February 3rd, CFPB Student Loans Ombudsman Rohit Chopra published a blog post summarizing comments the CFPB received from student loan borrowers and servicers in response to Chopra’s call for comments in November (previously reported). The CFPB’s findings include:
- Many servicers stated that they cannot comply with payment allocation instructions provided online, even though many borrowers pay online;
- Many servicers cannot accept instructions in advance of a payment made by a third party;
- Some servicers do not allow borrowers to allocate payments to a specific loan; and
- Some servicers have recently changed their payment allocation policies.
- Mortgage: On February 7th, CFPB Director Richard Cordray held a press call to discuss the CFPB’s ongoing approach to the residential mortgage market. Cordray stated that the CFPB is, “considering proposing rules that would make changes in how financial institutions report their mortgage activity,” including requiring lenders to report home equity lines of credit and improving the kinds of information collected on loans to include underwriting and pricing information such as an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio, the interest rate, the total origination charges, and the total discount points. He explained that this information will help regulators, “identify new consumer protection concerns as they develop.”Cordray stated that the CFPB is also interested in collecting explanations regarding rejected loan applications and lenders’ assessments of whether a loan is a Qualified Mortgage. In doing so, Cordray stated that the CFPB is also considering easing compliance burdens by updating technological reporting processes. Finally, Cordray added that the CFPB is considering a larger participant rule to cover nonbanks that make 25 or more mortgage loans in a year.
- System of Records: On February 3rd, the CFPB published in the Federal Register (79 FR 6190) a notice of revision to its Enforcement Database’s system of records. The revision modifies, among other things, the:
- System’s location;
- System’s manager(s) and address; and
Individuals whose personal information is maintained as part of the system of records includes, among others:
- Current and former officers;
- Agents; and
- Contractors of entities subject to CFPB investigations or enforcement actions. Public comments will be accepted through March 5th.
- System of Records: On February 3rd, the CFPB published in the Federal Register (79 FR 6192) a notice of revision to its Ombudsman System’s system of records. The revision modifies the:
- System’s retention and disposal of records;
- Categories of records; and
- Record source categories.
Individuals whose personal information is maintained as part of the system of records include, among others, those who submit inquiries to the Ombudsman’s Office as well as CFPB employees who review or respond to such inquiries. Public comments will be accepted through March 5th. The new system of records will go into effect on March 14th, unless comments received result otherwise.