The CFPB has issued an interim rule to fill a regulatory gap.  Some lenders are chartered or licensed by states, while others operate under federal charters. For years, state lenders have been able to rely on a federal law called the Alternative Mortgage Transaction Parity Act, or AMTPA, to make variable rate loans and other “alternative” mortgages, regardless of state law restrictions. Congress passed AMTPA to allow state lenders to make alternative mortgages on the same footing as their federally chartered competitors. Last year, the Dodd-Frank Act amended AMTPA to update it and to provide states more room to regulate certain fixed-rate loans and certain features of adjustable rate mortgages.

Without this interim rule implementing the AMTPA amendments, state lenders would lose their ability – overnight – to rely on AMTPA to make alternative mortgages. That could hurt not just state lenders that rely on AMTPA, some of which may be small rural banks. It could also hurt consumers by reducing their access to mortgages from those lenders.

The CFPB believes this interim rule will help preserve certainty in affected mortgage markets. It will also give lenders, consumers, and state regulators time to adjust to recent changes to the law. AMTPA was designed to preserve consumer access to alternative mortgages.

The interim rule gives state lenders two choices: They can follow state law when they make alternative mortgages or they can follow some straightforward federal requirements that provide consumers basic protections. For example, under the federal requirements, lenders must use a fair and transparent method – like a publicly available index that the lender does not control – for changing the rate on an adjustable rate loan.

Check dodd-frank.com frequently for updates on the Dodd-Frank Act and other important securities law matters.