Ohio Amends Ability to Repay Mortgage Rules

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Last month, the Ohio Attorney General’s office finalized amendments to that state’s “ability to repay” rules adopted under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. Under that Act, it is unconscionable for a lender to, among other things, (i) engage in a pattern or practice of providing consumer transactions to consumers based predominantly on the supplier’s realization of the foreclosure or liquidation value of the consumer’s collateral without regard to the consumer’s ability to repay the loan in accordance with its terms, and (ii) enter into a consumer mortgage transaction knowing there was no reasonable probability of payment of the obligation by the consumer. Effective March 30, 2012, the Act’s two new rules (available here and here) provide a safe harbor for certain loans. A consumer will be considered to have an ability to repay and to have a reasonable probability of payment under the provisions identified above if the lender is offering a fully-amortizing fixed-rate refinance loan that (i) has the same or lesser interest rate as the rate of the consumer’s current loan, (ii) has the same or lesser principal amount as the consumer’s current loan, and (iii) does not extend the payoff date of the consumer’s current loan.