For the past six months, the mortgage lending industry has reported receiving conflicting messages from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) recipients’ eligibility for FHA-insured mortgages. In December 2018, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) asked HUD to clarify whether it has “developed a policy regarding DACA recipients’ eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage loans.” If not, the senators requested HUD to “promptly provide clear and written guidance to FHA-approved lenders clarifying” that DACA recipients are not ineligible for FHA insurance simply because of their DACA status.  In response, HUD issued a letter explaining that is has “not implemented any policy changes” with respect to “FHA’s eligibility requirements” for non-U.S. citizens who are lawful residents. HUD reiterated that “non-U.S. citizens without lawful residency are ineligible for FHA financing.”  In early 2019, Fannie Mae issued a guide regarding “non-citizen borrower eligibility,” explaining that mortgages provided to DACA recipients are eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae because DACA recipients are lawful nonpermanent residents because they have a valid Employment Authorization Document number.  During congressional testimony in April, HUD Secretary Ben Carson seemingly clarified that DACA recipients are eligible for FHA-insured mortgages. The secretary commented that “plenty of DACA recipients … have FHA mortgages,” and that he would be surprised if lenders received statements to the contrary from HUD staff.Read More
On behalf of the American Bankers Association and state bankers associations across the country, K&L Gates partner Paul F. Hancock and associate Olivia Kelman crafted a comment that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD” or “Department”) on August 20, 2018, in support of reopening rulemaking regarding the Department’s implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard. On June 20, 2018, HUD issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that sought public comment on possible amendments to the Department’s 2013 final disparate impact rule in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015). In that decision, the Supreme Court articulated the standards for, and the constitutional limitations on, disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. The comment explains that the rule should be amended because it adopts standards that are inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent, fails to provide much needed guidance to entities seeking to comply with the law, and is therefore outdated and ineffective. A copy of the comment is available here.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has, for the first time, publicly expressed views on marketing services agreements (“MSAs”) under Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. After months of rumors regarding the CFPB’s investigation, it issued a consent order against Lighthouse Title, Inc., a Michigan title insurance agency that had entered into a series of MSAs with various settlement service providers (“Consent Order”). Although the Consent Order fails to describe the nature of the services performed under the agreements, it clarifies the CFPB’s concerns regarding methods used in determining the payments under such agreements. The Consent Order also raises troubling questions about how the CFPB interprets Section 8 of the Act, since many of those interpretations seem to be at odds with guidance previously offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This alert provides a brief background regarding MSAs, highlights issues raised by the CFPB Consent Order and discusses lessons learned for structuring new and existing MSAs.
To read the full alert, click here.
By: Krista Cooley
Last Thursday, HUD issued Mortgagee Letter 2013-41 to clarify its self-reporting requirements for FHA-approved lenders. The Mortgagee Letter updates HUD’s prior guidance regarding an FHA-approved lender’s obligation to self-report instances of fraud, material misrepresentations, and material findings identified in connection with the origination, underwriting, or servicing of FHA-insured loans. New guidance set forth in this Mortgagee Letter includes direction on the timeframes to which lenders must adhere in reporting findings to senior management and to HUD, as well as clarification regarding what constitutes a “mitigated” finding in connection with the self-reporting requirements. Read More
This week, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) weighed in on its proposed version of a Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) Qualified Mortgage (“QM”). Although the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) rules gave FHA-insured loans QM status on a temporary basis until 2021 (subject to certain conditions, discussed below), it looks like HUD wanted to get its version finalized by January 2014, when the CFPB’s QM rules take effect. As discussed more fully in this alert, HUD’s proposed QM Rule (the “HUD Proposed Rule”) would give QM status to all single family, forward FHA-insured loans. Title II insured loans, however, would be required to meet the CFPB’s 3% limit for points and fees.
In an attempt to expedite synchronization of the HUD QM definition with implementation of the CFPB Final Rule, HUD shortened the usual 60-day comment period to 30 days. As such, comments on this proposal are due by Wednesday, October 30, 2013.
To read the full alert, click here.
In an increasingly complex battle among the branches of the federal government, the Solicitor General recently urged the Supreme Court to deny certiorari in the appeal titled Township of Mount Holly, New Jersey v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., et al., No. 11-1507. The Mt. Holly matter seeks review of whether the Fair Housing Act recognizes a disparate impact theory of discrimination and if so, how courts are to analyze such claims. A disparate impact theory imposes liability on defendants for actions that are undertaken without discriminatory intent but that nonetheless have a disproportionately harmful effect on particular groups of individuals. The Supreme Court had previously granted certiorari to review these same questions in the appeal titled Magner v. Gallagher, No. 10-1032, which appeal the defendants subsequently withdrew under circumstances garnering review by Congress.
By: Krista Cooley
On Wednesday, HUD issued Mortgagee Letter 2013-10 to implement the Lender Insurance (“LI”) regulation it finalized in January of 2012. As announced in the final regulation, FHA mortgagees participating in the LI program will be required, as a condition of approval for LI authority, to indemnify HUD for self-endorsed loans that HUD deems ineligible for FHA insurance. Mortgagee Letter 2013-10 provides additional guidance on the Department’s policy changes regarding indemnification, which are effective for all loans insured by LI mortgagees on or after April 9, 2013. The Mortgagee Letter and a revised Lender Insurance Guide released Wednesday provide additional guidance regarding LI changes, including LI eligibility criteria and HUD’s processes to monitor, terminate, and reinstate LI authority. Read More
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently announced that an independent actuarial review of the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund found that the Fund’s capital reserve ratio has fallen to -1.44%, which represents a negative economic value of $16.3 billion. In the wake of this announcement, HUD unveiled a series of aggressive steps it intends to take over the next several months. According to the Annual Report provided to Congress earlier this month, FHA lenders will have to contend with several policy changes to FHA origination and servicing requirements in the coming year, as well as to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. Read More
On Friday, November 16, 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its 2012 Annual Report to Congress and announced that the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund suffered a $16.3 billion deficit. In addition, for the fourth year in a row, the MMI Fund has failed to meet its 2% statutory reserve amount, an amount required under the National Housing Act to be held back to cover excess loss.