It seems as if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released final rules regarding consumer mortgage lending and servicing on a daily basis. There have been just as many announcements from the CFPB that is was delaying the effective date of the final rules and regulations. The CFPB has now informed us that most of the mortgage servicing rules will become effective as of January 10, 2014.
To help those of us who may have a difficult time keeping all of the various new rules straight, the CFPB has issued some handy charts. One of my favorites that is applicable to lenders and mortgages servicers can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201306_cfpb_comparison-chart_servicing-rules-applicability-regulation-x-and-regulation-z.pdf. I would be remiss if I didn’t also repeat the CFPB’s warning: “This chart is not a substitute for the rules. Only the rules and the Official Interpretations can provide complete and definitive information regarding their requirements. The complete rules, including the Official Interpretations and small entity compliance guide, are available at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations/2013-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act-regulation-x-and-truth-in-lending-act-regulation-z-mortgage-servicing-final-rules/.” If you are really excited about the new rules, you may enjoy the CFPB’s chart of all of the mortgage related rules, which can be found at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/mortgage-rules-at-a-glance/.
The CFPB has also included a Mortgage Rules Readiness Guide that provides you with several questions to assist you with determining your level of readiness: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201307_cfpb_mortgage-implementation-readiness-guide.pdf. Admittedly, this compliance readiness check is a bit like asking a new parent whether he or she is ready for the baby to arrive — we feel compelled to say yes, and really we have no clue what we are in store for. As there is always one more thing we can do to get ready for the big day, there is at least one additional policy and procedure that you may want to consider: how to ensure timely and accurate responses to complaints that consumers have lodged with the CFPB.
It is important to monitor your company’s responses to consumer complaints, because the CFPB has made it clear that it intends to consider the number of consumer complaints against a company to determine whether the company has committed an unfair, deceptive, or abusive act or practice. The company’s response to complaints will also be uploaded to the Complaint Database that is available to the public. The complaints are also shared with state and federal law enforcement agencies and Congress. Thus, it may be a good practice to periodically search your company’s name in the Complaint Database to ensure your company has logged and responded to each of the complaints lodged against you in a timely manner. The reports may also assist you in spotting trouble areas so that you can quickly address the matter and your procedures and head-off any costly litigation or enforcement actions. The Complaint Database is active now, so there is no need to wait to roll out your complaint response procedures.
After reviewing your company’s various policies we hope you feel a bit more ready for the big day.