On January 29, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed several changes to its mortgage rules to facilitate lending in rural and underserved areas. The proposed rule would increase the number of financial institutions able to offer certain types of mortgages in rural and underserved areas. The proposed rule will be open for public comment until March 30, 2015. Release. Proposed Rule.
On January 20, CFPB finalized two minor modifications to the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rules. The changes, which were proposed in October 2014, address when consumers will receive updated disclosures after locking in an interest rate, and how consumers receive information regarding certain construction loans. The “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rule, including the changes finalized today, will be effective August 1, 2015. Release. Final Rule.
On September 3, the CFPB warned credit card companies against deceptively marketing interest-rate promotions, over concerns about companies luring in consumers with offers of reduced or zero interest for a specific purchase or balances transferred from another credit card and then hitting them with surprise interest charges. Release.
On December 19, CFPB and 49 states and the District of Columbia filed a proposed court order requiring Ocwen Financial Corporation, the fourth-largest mortgage servicer in the country, to provide $2 billion in principal reduction to underwater borrowers. Ocwen was previously charged with engaging in illegal and deceitful foreclosure practices and other violations. Press Release. Consent Order.
On December 24, the FDIC and CFPB announced a settlement with American Express Centurion Bank concerning charges of unfair and deceptive marketing practices related to credit card “add-on products” in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act. Together, the FDIC and CFPB will require restitution of no less than $40.9 million. The OCC and CFPB also announced actions against other American Express affiliated institutions for the same unfair and deceptive practices. Release. Order.
On December 12, the Fed, FDIC, CFPB, FHFA, NCUA and OCC issued a final rule that creates exemptions from certain appraisal requirements for certain higher-priced mortgage loans. The final rule provides that loans of $25,000 or less and certain “streamlined” refinancings are exempt from the Dodd-Frank Act appraisal requirements, which go into effect on January 18, 2014. Joint Release. Joint Final Rule.