Category: Other Federal Agencies & GSEs

1
FinCEN Acknowledges the Problem, But a Solution Will Require More
2
U.S. District Court Strikes Down HUD’s Fair Housing Act Disparate Impact Rule
3
California Attorney General Offers Online and Mobile “Do Not Track” Privacy Policy Recommendations
4
Inspector General Urges FHFA to Consider Suing Servicers, Force-Placed Insurers
5
Recent Force-Placed Insurance Initiatives by FHFA & CFPB Suggest Divergent Priorities
6
Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. FHFA: Fremont Meets The Federal Government
7
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Revise Servicing Transfer Requirements
8
K&L Gates Consumer Financial Services Group to Present at MBA Legal Issues Conference in San Diego
9
Federal Agencies Propose AMC Minimum Standards
10
DOL Seeks Supreme Court Review of the Invalidation of its Mortgage Loan Officer Overtime Ruling

FinCEN Acknowledges the Problem, But a Solution Will Require More

By: David L. Beam

Money services businesses (“MSBs”) have been losing access to banking services. Increased scrutiny by bank regulators of MSB relationships have led banks to conclude that providing services to MSBs carries increased compliance and reputational risk. Even if these risks can be managed in theory through appropriate due diligence and controls, many banks have decided that costs and risks of offering banking services to MSBs outweigh the revenue that they generate. Read More

U.S. District Court Strikes Down HUD’s Fair Housing Act Disparate Impact Rule

By: Paul F. Hancock, Andrew C. Glass, Roger L. Smerage, and Olivia Kelman

On Monday, November 3, 2014, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the disparate impact rule promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) in March 2013 under the Fair Housing Act.  The court held that HUD had issued the rule—codified at 24 C.F.R. § 100.500—in contravention of the plain language of the Fair Housing Act.  The case is styled American Insurance Association, et al. v. United States Department of Housing & Urban Development, et al., Case No. 1:13-cv-00966-RJL (D.D.C.).

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California Attorney General Offers Online and Mobile “Do Not Track” Privacy Policy Recommendations

By: Jonathan D. Jaffe, Jeremy M. McLaughlin

California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently issued guidance to help companies provide more “meaningful” privacy policies. Entitled “Making Your Privacy Practices Public,” the recommendations consolidate previously issued guidance and provide new information regarding online tracking and Do Not Track (DNT) signals. As the guidance document indicates, the recommendations “are not regulations, mandates or legal opinions” and offer greater protections than those required under existing law. Clearly, though, they reflect the attorney general’s preferences and what she believes are privacy best practices. Read More

Inspector General Urges FHFA to Consider Suing Servicers, Force-Placed Insurers

By: Nanci L. Weissgold, Kerri M. Smith, * Christopher Shelton
* Mr. Shelton is not admitted in D.C. Supervised by Nanci Weissgold, member of D.C. Bar.

On June 25, 2014, the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a report on force-placed insurance with only one recommendation: FHFA should consider suing servicers and force-placed insurers for hundreds of millions of dollars in allegedly “excessive” force-placed insurance premiums.

As we discussed in a recent blog post, “force-placed” or “lender-placed” insurance is an area of increasing controversy, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rolling out new restrictions on perceived conflicts of interest between insurers and the servicers that bring them business. The inspector general noted these reforms going forward, but believes that FHFA should also assess how to pursue perceived past abuses. Read More

Recent Force-Placed Insurance Initiatives by FHFA & CFPB Suggest Divergent Priorities

By: Nanci L. Weissgold, *Christopher Shelton
* Mr. Shelton is not admitted in D.C. Supervised by Nanci Weissgold, member of D.C. Bar.

Force-placed insurance is under continuing scrutiny by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). However, each agency’s focus is slightly different. FHFA, perhaps galvanized by a New York enforcement action, has focused on conflicts of interest between servicers and insurers. The CFPB has focused on erroneous placing of insurance and excessive charges. Read More

Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. FHFA: Fremont Meets The Federal Government

By: Irene C. Freidel

On June 2, 2014, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sued the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac in state court, under Massachusetts’ consumer protection statute (“Chapter 93A”) to force them to sell foreclosed properties to non-profit organizations at fair market value, so that the properties can then be re-sold or leased back to the former homeowner. See Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Federal Housing Finance Agency, et al., C.A. No. 14-1763 (June 2, 2014). Among other things, the lawsuit seeks a declaration that the GSEs’ current anti-fraud guidelines violate Massachusetts foreclosure law (M.G.L. c. 244, § 35C(h)), an order requiring property sales to non-profits in specific transactions, an injunction to prevent the GSEs from refusing to adhere to Massachusetts law, and an award of penalties of up to $5,000 for each transaction that the court determines constituted an unfair and deceptive practice under state law. The lawsuit follows a series of communications between the Massachusetts Attorney General and FHFA beginning in 2012 in which the state has demanded that FHFA direct the GSEs to change their anti-fraud “arms-length” requirements that apply to short sales and REO transactions. Read More

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Revise Servicing Transfer Requirements

By: Eric J. Edwardson

There has been considerable recent discussion in the mortgage servicing industry regarding the increasing hurdles to transfers of residential mortgage servicing rights. Those hurdles include additional scrutiny from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency, and state regulators. In the past week, each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued updates to their servicing transfer requirements moving up the due dates for requests for approvals of servicing transfers, making it more difficult to consummate quick transfers. The new requirements don’t create new standards for approval of transfers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac servicing rights, but they do add a bit more procedural difficulty for such transfers. Read More

K&L Gates Consumer Financial Services Group to Present at MBA Legal Issues Conference in San Diego

On May 4-7, 2014 the Mortgage Bankers Association will hold its annual Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference in San Diego, CA. Several K&L Gates partners from the Consumer Financial Services Group will be presenting at the conference.

Melanie Brody will address “A Look Ahead: HMDA and Fair Lending” on Sunday, May 4, at 4:35 pm.

Krista Cooley will participate on a panel on Tuesday, May 6, at 3:15 pm, entitled “False Claims, Indemnifications, Repurchases and Rescissions.” She will discuss how the False Claims Act is affecting participants in HUD’s Federal Housing Administration loan program.

Andrew Glass will speak on Sunday, May 4, at 1:50 pm in the Litigation Forum on Fair Lending, explaining the status of fair lending/servicing litigation, and specifically the status of challenges to the disparate impact rule, the status of the municipal lawsuits against banks for “predatory” lending, and the HUD complaints by NFHA challenging the maintenance of properties held in REO.

Paul Hancock will address fair lending issues on Tuesday, May 6, at 1:30 pm.

Kris Kully will discuss Dodd-Frank Act amendments to RESPA and TILA on the ever-popular “Essentials: Alphabet Soup of Federal Laws,” on Sunday, May 4, at 1:50 pm.

Larry Platt will speak on Monday, May 5, at 3:15 pm on the “Deep Dive” panel for QRM, the Future of the Secondary Market, and GSE Reform.

Phil Schulman will participate on the panel entitled “A Look Ahead: TILA/RESPA,” on Sunday, May 4, at 3:15 p.m., and then will continue the discussion on the integrated disclosure forms on Monday, May 5, at the “Deep Dive: RESPA/TILA” panel at 3:15 pm.

Nanci Weissgold will present on two panels at the conference. On Sunday, May 4, at 12:30 pm, Nanci will present on a panel entitled “Essentials: Servicing Rule,” focusing on the basics of the CFPB’s Mortgage Servicing Rules. Nanci also will provide more insights into the national servicing standards on the “Deep Dive: Servicing: New Rules, New Developments” panel to be held Monday, May 5, at 1:30 pm.

We look forward to seeing you in San Diego!

 

 

Federal Agencies Propose AMC Minimum Standards

By: Nanci L. Weissgold, Morey Barnes Yost

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.

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DOL Seeks Supreme Court Review of the Invalidation of its Mortgage Loan Officer Overtime Ruling

By: Thomas H. Petrides, John L. Longstreth

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

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