CFPB rescinds two policy statements affecting mortgage servicers

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Rescission of Statement on Bureau Supervisory and Enforcement Response to COVID-19 Pandemic.  The CFPB issued a Rescission of Statement of Policy for the previously-issued Statement on Bureau Supervisory and Enforcement Response to COVID-19 Pandemic (March 26, 2020).  That statement is rescinded as of April 1, 2020, and in the rescission document, the CFPB announces its intent to exercise its supervisory and enforcement authority consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act and with the full authority afforded by Congress consistent with the Bureau’s statutory purpose and objectives.

The rescission document notes that the rescinded statement recognized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of many financial institutions, including staffing and related resource challenges.  The CFPB states, however, that it has concluded that circumstances have since changed, and that financial institutions and other entities have adjusted their operations, including developing more robust remote capabilities.  In the CFPB’s view, companies have had sufficient time to adapt to the pandemic, and should now be able to comply with the law and respond to enforcement or examinations without the need for the flexibility provided under the rescinded policy statement.

The CFPB’s press release regarding the policy rescissions notes that this rescission also has the effect of withdrawing the CFPB as a signatory to the Interagency Statement on Loan Modifications and Reporting for Financial Institutions Working with Customers Affective by the Coronavirus (April 7, 2020) (the “Interagency Statement”).  The rescission document only references the Interagency Statement in a footnote, which states in relevant part for servicers:

[The] statements provided that the Agencies did not intend to take public enforcement actions against entities in certain instances.  The April 7 Interagency Statement focused on loan modifications and stated that the agencies “do not expect to take a consumer compliance public enforcement action against an institution, provided that the circumstances were related to the National Emergency and that the institution made good faith efforts to support borrowers and comply with the consumer protection requirements, as well as responded to any needed corrective action.” . . . To the extent that the Bureau indicated flexibility, it now intends to exercise its supervisory and enforcement authority consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act and with the full authority afforded by Congress.  As detailed in the Statement it is issuing today, the Bureau believes the circumstances described in the April 7 Interagency Statement . . . have changed and that companies should have had sufficient time to adapt.  As such, the Bureau does not intend to continue to provide any flexibilities afforded entities in these specific sections of . . . the April 7 Interagency Statement.

Rescission of Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V in Light of the CARES Act.  The CFPB also issued a Rescission of Statement of Policy for the Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V in Light of the CARES Act (April 1, 2020).

This statement of policy is also rescinded as of April 1, 2021, with the CFPB again noting that consumer reporting agencies and furnishers have adjusted operations since March 2020, including by shifting to remote operations.  However, the statement is rescinded only with respect to the portion that sets forth the CFPB’s flexible supervisory and enforcement approach during the pandemic.  Importantly, the rescission does not apply to the portion of the statement found under the heading “Furnishing Consumer Information Impacted by COVID-19”, which conveys the CFPB’s support for furnishers’ voluntary efforts to provide payment relief, and states that the CFPB does not intend to cite in examinations or take enforcement actions against those who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies that accurately reflects the payment relief measures they are employing.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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