The April 9 Federal Register contains the announcement for which the appraisal management industry has been waiting for months: the federal banking and finance regulatory agencies’ proposal of minimum standards for appraisal management companies (“AMCs”). Section 1473 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the agencies – the OCC, FRB, FDIC, NCUA, CFPB, and FHFA (the “Agencies”) -to adopt standards for states to apply in their registration and supervision of AMCs.
Non-QM lending received a big boost this week when Fitch Ratings issued its criteria for analyzing residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) under the Ability to Repay (“ATR”) and Qualified Mortgage (“QM”) rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It announced that it would apply a relative “credit enhancement” adjustment (i.e., extra collateralization) to non-QM loans pooled to back RMBS, but the level of credit enhancement reflects its belief that the risk of massive losses on such loans is relatively slight. In reliance upon required third-party due-diligence reviews, Fitch said that it would assume the accuracy of an originator’s designation of loans as “safe harbor” QM loans, higher-priced QM loans or non-QM loans. Read More
On Friday, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee wrote a letter to Director Cordray chastising the CFPB for its continued refusal to provide meaningful responses to Congressional requests for information about the Bureau’s supervision and enforcement activities related to indirect auto lending. In the letter, Chairman Hensarling cites five instances of Congressional requests for information related to the CFPB’s indirect auto activities over the past year that have been not been satisfied. He criticizes the Bureau’s “pattern of obfuscation” related to Congressional requests for information and contends that the CFPB has created “unnecessary uncertainty” within the auto lending market. Read More
By: Jon Eisenberg
Few agencies have generated as much controversy as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren when she was still a professor and the product of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the agency is charged with being the cop on the beat for consumers much like the SEC is the cop on the beat for investors. Among its goals are preventing consumers from being subject to “deceptive,” “unfair,” and “abusive” practices and holding alleged wrongdoers accountable by bringing enforcement cases against those the CFPB believes have violated consumer financial protection laws. Consumers have flooded it with over 300,000 complaints since the agency began operations less than three years ago, and those have already proven to be a fertile source of information for its examination and enforcement programs.
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On February 28, 2014 the Department of Labor, represented by the Solicitor General, petitioned for Supreme Court review of an appellate decision invalidating a 2010 DOL administrative ruling that determined mortgage loan officers generally do not qualify for the administrative exemption from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held last July that a prior administrative ruling issued in a 2006 DOL Opinion Letter was established law and that DOL was therefore required to use notice and comment rulemaking to change it. The 2006 Opinion Letter had previously determined that loan officers could qualify for the administrative exemption and therefore would be ineligible for overtime pay based on that exemption. The Solicitor General argues that requiring notice and comment for an interpretive rule in any circumstances is inconsistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, which exempts interpretive rules from notice and comment requirements, and therefore the 2010 interpretation should be reinstated. The petition also argues that the D.C. Circuit decision is inconsistent with the rulings of at least two other federal appeals courts. Read More