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Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection —
12 CFR Chapter X

Part 1026 — Truth in Lending (Regulation Z)

Subpart E—Special Rules for Certain Home Mortgage Transactions

§1026.35 Requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans.

CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION (click to navigate)
(a) Definitions
(b)(1) Escrow accounts - Requirement
(b)(2) Escrow accounts - Exemptions
(b)(2)(iii)-(v) Escrow accounts - Small creditor exemption
(b)(3) Escrow accounts - Cancellation
(c)(1) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: definitions
(c)(2) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: exemptions
(c)(3) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: requirement
(c)(4) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: "Flip" appraisal
(c)(4)(vii) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: "Flip" appraisal exemptions
(c)(5) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: Required disclosure
(c)(6) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans: Copies
(d) Prohibition on evasion using open-end plan
(e) Repayment ability and prepayment penalties (thru 1/9/14)
Official Interpretations

For a copy of this section in effect before 1/1/2014, annotated with pending changes, click HERE.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1) "Higher-priced mortgage loan" means a closed-end consumer credit transaction secured by the consumer's principal dwelling with an annual percentage rate that exceeds the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction as of the date the interest rate is set:

(i) By 1.5 or more percentage points for loans secured by a first lien with a principal obligation at consummation that does not exceed the limit in effect as of the date the transaction's interest rate is set for the maximum principal obligation eligible for purchase by Freddie Mac;

(ii) By 2.5 or more percentage points for loans secured by a first lien with a principal obligation at consummation that exceeds the limit in effect as of the date the transaction's interest rate is set for the maximum principal obligation eligible for purchase by Freddie Mac; or

(iii) By 3.5 or more percentage points for loans secured by a subordinate lien.

(2) "Average prime offer rate" means an annual percentage rate that is derived from average interest rates, points, and other loan pricing terms currently offered to consumers by a representative sample of creditors for mortgage transactions that have low-risk pricing characteristics. The Bureau publishes average prime offer rates for a broad range of types of transactions in a table updated at least weekly as well as the methodology the Bureau uses to derive these rates.

(b) Escrow accounts. (1) Requirement to escrow for property taxes and insurance. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a creditor may not extend a higher-priced mortgage loan secured by a first lien on a consumer's principal dwelling unless an escrow account is established before consummation for payment of property taxes and premiums for mortgage-related insurance required by the creditor, such as insurance against loss of or damage to property, or against liability arising out of the ownership or use of the property, or insurance protecting the creditor against the consumer's default or other credit loss. For purposes of this paragraph (b), the term "escrow account" has the same meaning as under Regulation X (12 CFR 1024.17(b)), as amended.

(2) Exemptions. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(1) of this section:

(i) An escrow account need not be established for:

(A) A transaction secured by shares in a cooperative;

(B) A transaction to finance the initial construction of a dwelling;

(C) A temporary or "bridge" loan with a loan term of twelve months or less, such as a loan to purchase a new dwelling where the consumer plans to sell a current dwelling within twelve months; or

(D) A reverse mortgage transaction subject to § 1026.33.

(ii) Insurance premiums described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section need not be included in escrow accounts for loans secured by dwellings in condominiums, planned unit developments, or other common interest communities in which dwelling ownership requires participation in a governing association, where the governing association has an obligation to the dwelling owners to maintain a master policy insuring all dwellings.

(iii) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(v) of this section, an escrow account need not be established for a transaction if, at the time of consummation:

(A) During any of the three preceding calendar years, the creditor extended more than 50 percent of its total covered transactions, as defined by § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien, on properties that are located in counties that are either "rural" or "underserved," as set forth in paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section;

(B) During the preceding calendar year, the creditor and its affiliates together originated 500 or fewer covered transactions, as defined by § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien; and

(C) As of the end of the preceding calendar year, the creditor had total assets of less than $2,000,000,000; this asset threshold shall adjust automatically each year, based on the year-to- year change in the average of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, not seasonally adjusted, for each 12-month period ending in November, with rounding to the nearest million dollars (see comment 35(b)(2)(iii)-1.iii for the current threshold); and

(D) Neither the creditor nor its affiliate maintains an escrow account of the type described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section for any extension of consumer credit secured by real property or a dwelling that the creditor or its affiliate currently services, other than:

(1) Escrow accounts established for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans on or after April 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2014; or

(2) Escrow accounts established after consummation as an accommodation to distressed consumers to assist such consumers in avoiding default or foreclosure.

(iv) For purposes of paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(A) of this section:

(A) A county is "rural" during a calendar year if it is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area, as those terms are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and as they are applied under currently applicable Urban Influence Codes (UICs), established by the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS). A creditor may rely as a safe harbor on the list of counties published by the Bureau to determine whether a county qualifies as "rural" for a particular calendar year.

(B) A county is "underserved" during a calendar year if, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for the preceding calendar year, no more than two creditors extended covered transactions, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien, five or more times in the county. A creditor may rely as a safe harbor on the list of counties published by the Bureau to determine whether a county qualifies as "underserved" for a particular calendar year.

[Editor's Note: For the current final list of rural and underserved counties, click HERE.

(v) Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, an escrow account must be established pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section for any first-lien higher-priced mortgage loan that, at consummation, is subject to a commitment to be acquired by a person that does not satisfy the conditions in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, unless otherwise exempted by this paragraph (b)(2).

(3) Cancellation. (i) General. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, a creditor or servicer may cancel an escrow account required in paragraph (b)(1) of this section only upon the earlier of:

(A) Termination of the underlying debt obligation; or

(B) Receipt no earlier than five years after consummation of a consumer's request to cancel the escrow account.

(ii) Delayed cancellation. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, a creditor or servicer shall not cancel an escrow account pursuant to a consumer's request described in paragraph (b)(3)(i)(B) of this section unless the following conditions are satisfied:

(A) The unpaid principal balance is less than 80 percent of the original value of the property securing the underlying debt obligation; and

(B) The consumer currently is not delinquent or in default on the underlying debt obligation.

(c) Appraisals for higher-priced mortgage loans. (1) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(i) Certified or licensed appraiser means a person who is certified or licensed by the State agency in the State in which the property that secures the transaction is located, and who performs the appraisal in conformity with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the requirements applicable to appraisers in title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, as amended (12 U.S.C. 3331 et seq.), and any implementing regulations in effect at the time the appraiser signs the appraiser's certification.

(ii) Credit risk means the financial risk that a consumer will default on a loan.

(iii) Manufactured home has the same meaning as in 24 CFR 3280.2.

(iv) Manufacturer's invoice means a document issued by a manufacturer and provided with a manufactured home to a retail dealer that separately details the wholesale (base) prices at the factory for specific models or series of manufactured homes and itemized options(large appliances, built-in items and equipment), plus actual itemized charges for freight from the factory to the dealer's lot or the homesite (including any rental of wheels and axles) and for any sales taxes to be paid by the dealer. The invoice may recite such prices and charges on an itemized basis or by stating an aggregate price or charge, as appropriate, for each category.

(v) National Registry means the database of information about State certified and licensed appraisers maintained by the Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

(vi) New manufactured home means a manufactured home that has not been previously occupied.

(vii) State agency means a “State appraiser certifying and licensing agency” recognized in accordance with section 1118(b) of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (12 U.S.C. 3347(b))and any implementing regulations.

(2) Exemptions. The requirements in paragraphs (c)(3) through (6) of this section do not apply to the following types of transactions:

(i) A qualified mortgage as defined pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1639c;

(ii) An extension of credit for which the amount of credit extended is equal to or less than the applicable threshold amount, which is adjusted every year to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, as applicable, and published in the official staff commentary to this paragraph(c)(2)(ii);

(iii) A transaction secured by a mobile home, boat, or trailer.

(iv) A transaction to finance the initial construction of a dwelling.

(v) A loan with maturity of 12 months or less, if the purpose of the loan is a “bridge” loan connected with the acquisition of a dwelling intended to become the consumer's principal dwelling.

(vi) A reverse-mortgage transaction subject to 12 CFR 1026.33(a).

(vii) An extension of credit that is a refinancing secured by a first lien, with refinancing defined as in § 1026.20(a) (except that the creditor need not be the original creditor or a holder or servicer of the original obligation), provided that the refinancing meets the following criteria:

(A) Either—

(1) The credit risk of the refinancing is retained by the person that held the credit risk of the existing obligation and there is no commitment, at consummation, to transfer the credit risk to another person; or

(2) The refinancing is insured or guaranteed by the same Federal government agency that insured or guaranteed the existing obligation;

(B) The regular periodic payments under the refinance loan do not

(1) Cause the principal balance to increase;

(2) Allow the consumer to defer repayment of principal; or

(3) Result in a balloon payment, as defined in § 1026.18(s)(5)(i); and

(C) The proceeds from the refinancing are used solely to satisfy the existing obligation and amounts attributed solely to the costs of the refinancing; and

(viii) A transaction secured in whole or in part by a manufactured home.

Editor's Note: Effective July 18, 2015, § 1026.35(c)(2)(viii) is revised to read as follows.

(viii) A transaction secured by:

(A) A new manufactured home and land, but the exemption shall only apply to the requirement in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section that the appraiser conduct a physical visit of the interior of the new manufactured home; or

(B) A manufactured home and not land, for which the creditor obtains one of the following and provides a copy to the consumer no later than three business days prior to consummation of the transaction—

(1) For a new manufactured home, the manufacturer's invoice for the manufactured home securing the transaction, provided that the date of manufacture is no earlier than 18 months prior to the creditor's receipt of the consumer's application for credit;

(2) A cost estimate of the value of the manufactured home securing the transaction obtained from an independent cost service provider; or

(3) A valuation, as defined in § 1026.42(b)(3), of the manufactured home performed by a person who has no direct or indirect interest, financial or otherwise, in the property or transaction for which the valuation is performed and has training in valuing manufactured homes.

(3) Appraisals required. (i) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, a creditor shall not extend a higher-priced mortgage loan to a consumer without obtaining, prior to consummation, a written appraisal of the property to be mortgaged. The appraisal must be performed by a certified or licensed appraiser who conducts a physical visit of the interior of the property that will secure the transaction.

(ii) Safe harbor. A creditor obtains a written appraisal that meets the requirements for an appraisal required under paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section if the creditor:

(A) Orders that the appraiser perform the appraisal in conformity with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, as amended (12 U.S.C. 3331 et seq.), and any implementing regulations in effect at the time the appraiser signs the appraiser's certification;

(B) Verifies through the National Registry that the appraiser who signed the appraiser's certification was a certified or licensed appraiser in the State in which the appraised property is located as of the date the appraiser signed the appraiser's certification;

(C) Confirms that the elements set forth in appendix N to this part are addressed in the written appraisal; and

(D) Has no actual knowledge contrary to the facts or certifications contained in the written appraisal.

(4) Additional appraisal for certain higher-priced mortgage loans. (i) In general. Except as provided in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(4)(vii) of this section, a creditor shall not extend a higher-priced mortgage loan to a consumer to finance the acquisition of the consumer's principal dwelling without obtaining, prior to consummation, two written appraisals, if:

(A) The seller acquired the property 90 or fewer days prior to the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property and the price in the consumer's agreement to acquire the property exceeds the seller's acquisition price by more than 10 percent; or

(B) The seller acquired the property 91 to 180 days prior to the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property and the price in the consumer's agreement to acquire the property exceeds the seller's acquisition price by more than 20 percent.

(ii) Different certified or licensed appraisers. The two appraisals required under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section may not be performed by the same certified or licensed appraiser.

(iii) Relationship to general appraisal requirements. If two appraisals must be obtained under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section, each appraisal shall meet the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section.

(iv) Required analysis in the additional appraisal. One of the two required appraisals must include an analysis of:

(A) The difference between the price at which the seller acquired the property and the price that the consumer is obligated to pay to acquire the property, as specified in the consumer's agreement to acquire the property from the seller;

(B) Changes in market conditions between the date the seller acquired the property and the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property; and

(C) Any improvements made to the property between the date the seller acquired the property and the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property.

(v) No charge for the additional appraisal. If the creditor must obtain two appraisals under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section, the creditor may charge the consumer for only one of the appraisals.

(vi) Creditor's determination of prior sale date and price. (A) Reasonable diligence. A creditor must obtain two written appraisals under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section unless the creditor can demonstrate by exercising reasonable diligence that the requirement to obtain two appraisals does not apply. A creditor acts with reasonable diligence if the creditor bases its determination on information contained in written source documents, such as the documents listed in appendix O to this part.

(B) Inability to determine prior sale date or price-modified requirements for additional appraisal. If, after exercising reasonable diligence, a creditor cannot determine whether the conditions in paragraphs (c)(4)(i)(A) and (c)(4)(i)(B) are present and therefore must obtain two written appraisals in accordance with paragraphs (c)(4)(i) through (v) of this section, one of the two appraisals shall include an analysis of the factors in paragraph (c)(4)(iv) of this section only to the extent that the information necessary for the appraiser to perform the analysis can be determined.

(vii) Exemptions from the additional appraisal requirement. The additional appraisal required under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section shall not apply to extensions of credit that finance a consumer's acquisition of property:

(A) From a local, State or Federal government agency;

(B) From a person who acquired title to the property through foreclosure, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or other similar judicial or non-judicial procedure as a result of the person's exercise of rights as the holder of a defaulted mortgage loan;

(C) From a non-profit entity as part of a local, State, or Federal government program under which the non-profit entity is permitted to acquire title to single-family properties for resale from a seller who acquired title to the property through the process of foreclosure, deed-in- lieu of foreclosure, or other similar judicial or non-judicial procedure;

(D) From a person who acquired title to the property by inheritance or pursuant to a court order of dissolution of marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, or of partition of joint or marital assets to which the seller was a party;

(E) From an employer or relocation agency in connection with the relocation of an employee;

(F) From a servicemember, as defined in 50 U.S.C. Appx. 511(1), who received a deployment or permanent change of station order after the servicemember purchased the property;

(G) Located in an area designated by the President as a federal disaster area, if and for as long as the Federal financial institutions regulatory agencies, as defined in 12 U.S.C. 3350(6), waive the requirements in title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, as amended (12 U.S.C. 3331 et seq.), and any implementing regulations in that area; or

(H) Located in a rural county, as defined in 12 CFR 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A).

(5) Required disclosure. (i) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, a creditor shall disclose the following statement, in writing, to a consumer who applies for a higher-priced mortgage loan: "We may order an appraisal to determine the property's value and charge you for this appraisal. We will give you a copy of any appraisal, even if your loan does not close. You can pay for an additional appraisal for your own use at your own cost." Compliance with the disclosure requirement in Regulation B, 12 CFR 1002.14(a)(2), satisfies the requirements of this paragraph.

(ii) Timing of disclosure. The disclosure required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section shall be delivered or placed in the mail no later than the third business day after the creditor receives the consumer's application for a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to paragraph (c) of this section. In the case of a loan that is not a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to paragraph (c) of this section at the time of application, but becomes a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to paragraph (c) of this section after application, the disclosure shall be delivered or placed in the mail not later than the third business day after the creditor determines that the loan is a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to paragraph (c) of this section.

(6) Copy of appraisals. (i) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, a creditor shall provide to the consumer a copy of any written appraisal performed in connection with a higher-priced mortgage loan pursuant to paragraphs (c)(3) and (c)(4) of this section.

(ii) Timing. A creditor shall provide to the consumer a copy of each written appraisal pursuant to paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section:

(A) No later than three business days prior to consummation of the loan; or

(B) In the case of a loan that is not consummated, no later than 30 days after the creditor determines that the loan will not be consummated.

(iii) Form of copy. Any copy of a written appraisal required by paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section may be provided to the applicant in electronic form, subject to compliance with the consumer consent and other applicable provisions of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) (15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.).

(iv) No charge for copy of appraisal. A creditor shall not charge the consumer for a copy of a written appraisal required to be provided to the consumer pursuant to paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section.

(7) Relation to other rules. The rules in this paragraph (c) were adopted jointly by the Federal Reserve Board (Board), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Bureau. These rules are substantively identical to the Board's and the OCC's higher-priced mortgage loan appraisal rules published separately in 12 CFR 226.43 (for the Board) and in 12 CFR 34.201 et seq. and 12 CFR 164.20 et seq. (for the OCC).

(d) Evasion; open-end credit. In connection with credit secured by a consumer's principal dwelling that does not meet the definition of open-end credit in § 1026.2(a)(20), a creditor shall not structure a home-secured loan as an open-end plan to evade the requirements of this section.

(e) Repayment ability, prepayment penalties. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, higher-priced mortgage loans are subject to the following restrictions:

(1) Repayment ability. A creditor shall not extend credit based on the value of the consumer's collateral without regard to the consumer's repayment ability as of consummation as provided in § 1026.34(a)(4).

(2) Prepayment penalties. A loan may not include a penalty described by § 1026.32(d)(6) unless:

(i) The penalty is otherwise permitted by law, including § 1026.32(d)(7) if the loan is a mortgage transaction described in § 1026.32(a); and

(ii) Under the terms of the loan:

(A) The penalty will not apply after the two-year period following consummation;

(B) The penalty will not apply if the source of the prepayment funds is a refinancing by the creditor or an affiliate of the creditor; and

(C) The amount of the periodic payment of principal or interest or both may not change during the four-year period following consummation.

(3) Exclusions. This paragraph (e) does not apply to a transaction to finance the initial construction of a dwelling; a temporary or "bridge" loan with a term of twelve months or less, such as a loan to purchase a new dwelling where the consumer plans to sell a current dwelling within twelve months; or a reverse mortgage transaction subject to § 1026.33.

(4) Sunset of requirements on repayment ability and prepayment penalties. The requirements described in this paragraph (e) shall expire at 11:59 p.m. on January 9, 2014.

Official Interpretations of this section.

Section 1026.35—Prohibited Acts or Practices in Connection With Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans

35(a) Definitions.

Paragraph 35(a)(1).

1. Comparable transaction. A higher-priced mortgage loan is a consumer credit transaction secured by the consumer's principal dwelling with an annual percentage rate that exceeds the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction as of the date the interest rate is set by the specified margin. The table of average prime offer rates published by the Bureau indicates how to identify the comparable transaction.

2. Rate set. A transaction's annual percentage rate is compared to the average prime offer rate as of the date the transaction's interest rate is set (or "locked") before consummation. Sometimes a creditor sets the interest rate initially and then re-sets it at a different level before consummation. The creditor should use the last date the interest rate is set before consummation.

3. Threshold for "jumbo" loans. Section 1026.35(a)(1)(ii) provides a separate threshold for determining whether a transaction is a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to § 1026.35 when the principal balance exceeds the limit in effect as of the date the transaction's rate is set for the maximum principal obligation eligible for purchase by Freddie Mac (a "jumbo" loan). The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) establishes and adjusts the maximum principal obligation pursuant to rules under 12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2) and other provisions of Federal law. Adjustments to the maximum principal obligation made by FHFA apply in determining whether a mortgage loan is a "jumbo" loan to which the separate coverage threshold in § 1026.35(a)(1)(ii) applies.

Paragraph 35(a)(2)

1. Average prime offer rate. Average prime offer rates are annual percentage rates derived from average interest rates, points, and other loan pricing terms currently offered to consumers by a representative sample of creditors for mortgage transactions that have low-risk pricing characteristics. Other pricing terms include commonly used indices, margins, and initial fixed-rate periods for variable-rate transactions. Relevant pricing characteristics include a consumer's credit history and transaction characteristics such as the loan-to-value ratio, owner-occupant status, and purpose of the transaction. To obtain average prime offer rates, the Bureau uses a survey of creditors that both meets the criteria of §1026.35(a)(2) and provides pricing terms for at least two types of variable-rate transactions and at least two types of non-variable-rate transactions. An example of such a survey is the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey&supreg;.

2. Bureau table. The Bureau publishes on the internet, in table form, average prime offer rates for a wide variety of transaction types. The Bureau calculates an annual percentage rate, consistent with Regulation Z (see § 1026.22 and appendix J), for each transaction type for which pricing terms are available from a survey. The Bureau estimates annual percentage rates for other types of transactions for which direct survey data are not available based on the loan pricing terms available in the survey and other information. The Bureau publishes on the internet the methodology it uses to arrive at these estimates.

3. Additional guidance on determination of average prime offer rates. guidance on determination of average prime offer rates. The average prime offer rate has the same meaning in § 1026.35 as in Regulation C, 12 CFR part 1003. See 12 CFR 1003.4(a)(12)(ii). Guidance on the average prime offer rate under § 1026.35(a)(2), such as when a transaction's rate is set and determination of the comparable transaction, is provided in the official commentary under Regulation C, the publication entitled "A Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting it Right!", and the relevant "Frequently Asked Questions" on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) compliance posted on the FFIEC's website at http://www.ffiec.gov/hmda.

35(b) Escrow Accounts

1. Principal dwelling. Section 1026.35(b)(1) applies to principal dwellings, including structures that are classified as personal property under State law. For example, an escrow account must be established on a higher-priced mortgage loan secured by a first lien on a manufactured home, boat, or trailer used as the consumer's principal dwelling. See the commentary under §§ 1026.2(a)(19) and (24), 1026.15, and 1026.23. Section 1026.35(b)(1) also applies to a higher-priced mortgage loan secured by a first lien on a condominium if it is in fact used as the consumer's principal dwelling. But see § 1026.35(b)(2) for exemptions from the escrow requirement that may apply to such transactions.

35(b)(1) Requirement to escrow for property taxes and insurance.

1. Administration of escrow accounts. Section 1026.35(b)(1) requires creditors to establish an escrow account for payment of property taxes and premiums for mortgage-related insurance required by the creditor before the consummation of a higher-priced mortgage loan secured by a first lien on a principal dwelling. Section 6 of RESPA, 12 U.S.C. 2605, and Regulation X, 12 CFR 1024.17, address how escrow accounts must be administered.

2. Optional insurance items. Section 1026.35(b)(1) does not require that an escrow account be established for premiums for mortgage-related insurance that the creditor does not require in connection with the credit transaction, such as earthquake insurance or credit life insurance, even if the consumer voluntarily obtains such insurance.

3. Transactions not subject to § 1026.35(b)(1). Section 1026.35(b)(1) requires a creditor to establish an escrow account before consummation of a first-lien higher-priced mortgage loan. This requirement does not affect a creditor's ability, right, or obligation, pursuant to the terms of the legal obligation or applicable law, to offer or require an escrow account for a transaction that is not subject to § 1026.35(b)(1).

35(b)(2) Exemptions.
Paragraph 35(b)(2)(i).

1. Construction-permanent loans. Under § 1026.35(b)(2)(ii)(B), § 1026.35 does not apply to a transaction to finance the initial construction of a dwelling. Section 1026.35 may apply, however, to permanent financing that replaces a construction loan, whether the permanent financing is extended by the same or a different creditor. When a construction loan may be permanently financed by the same creditor, § 1026.17(c)(6)(ii) permits the creditor to give either one combined disclosure for both the construction financing and the permanent financing, or a separate set of disclosures for each of the two phases as though they were two separate transactions. See also comment 17(c)(6)-2. Section 1026.17(c)(6)(ii) addresses only how a creditor may elect to disclose a construction-permanent transaction. Which disclosure option a creditor elects under § 1026.17(c)(6)(ii) does not affect the determination of whether the permanent phase of the transaction is subject to § 1026.35. When the creditor discloses the two phases as separate transactions, the annual percentage rate for the permanent phase must be compared to the average prime offer rate for a transaction that is comparable to the permanent financing to determine whether the transaction is a higher-priced mortgage loan under § 1026.35(a). When the creditor discloses the two phases as a single transaction, a single annual percentage rate, reflecting the appropriate charges from both phases, must be calculated for the transaction in accordance with § 1026.22(a)(1) and appendix D to part 1026. This annual percentage rate must be compared to the average prime offer rate for a transaction that is comparable to the permanent financing to determine the transaction is a higher-priced mortgage loan under § 1026.35(a). If the transaction is determined to be a higher-priced mortgage loan, only the permanent phase is subject to the requirement of § 1026.35(b)(1) to establish and maintain an escrow account, and the period for which the escrow account must remain in place under § 1026.35(b)(3) is measured from the time the conversion to the permanent phase financing occurs.

Paragraph 35(b)(2)(ii).

1. Limited exemption. A creditor is required to escrow for payment of property taxes for all first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans secured by condominium, planned unit development, or similar dwellings or units regardless of whether the creditor escrows for insurance premiums for such dwellings or units.

2. Planned unit developments. Planned unit developments (PUDs) are a form of property ownership often used in retirement communities, golf communities, and similar communities made up of homes located within a defined geographical area. PUDs usually have a homeowners' association or some other governing association, analogous to a condominium association and with similar authority and obligations. Thus, as with condominiums, PUDs often have master insurance policies that cover all units in the PUD. Under § 1026.35(b)(2)(ii), if a PUD's governing association is obligated to maintain such a master insurance policy, an escrow account required by § 1026.35(b)(1) for a transaction secured by a unit in the PUD need not include escrows for insurance. This exemption applies not only to condominiums and PUDs but also to any other type of property ownership arrangement that has a governing association with an obligation to maintain a master insurance policy.

3. More than one governing association associated with a dwelling. The limited exemption provided pursuant to § 1026.35(b)(2)(ii) applies to each master insurance policy for properties with multiple governing associations, to the extent each governing association has an obligation to maintain a master insurance policy.

Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii).

1. Requirements for exemption. Under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii), except as provided in § 1026.35(b)(2)(v), a creditor need not establish an escrow account for taxes and insurance for a higher-priced mortgage loan, provided the following four conditions are satisfied when the higher-priced mortgage loan is consummated:

i. During any of the three preceding calendar years, more than 50 percent of the creditor's total first-lien covered transactions, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), are secured by properties located in counties that are either "rural" or "underserved," as set forth in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv). Pursuant to that section, a creditor may rely as a safe harbor on a list of counties published by the Bureau to determine whether counties in the United States are rural or underserved for a particular calendar year. Thus, for example, if a creditor originated 90 covered transactions, as defined by § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien, during 2011, 2012, or 2013, the creditor meets this condition for an exemption in 2014 if at least 46 of those transactions are secured by first liens on properties that are located in such counties.

ii. The creditor and its affiliates together originated 500 or fewer first-lien covered transactions, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), during the preceding calendar year.

iii. As of the end of the preceding calendar year, the creditor had total assets that are less than the asset threshold for the relevant calendar year. For calendar year 2014, the asset threshold is $2,028,000,000. Creditors that had total assets of less than $2,028,000,000 on December 31, 2013, satisfy this criterion for purposes of the exemption during 2014. This asset threshold shall adjust automatically each year based on the year-to-year change in the average of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, not seasonally adjusted, for each 12-month period ending in November, with rounding to the nearest million dollars. The Bureau will publish notice of the asset threshold each year by amending this comment. For historical purposes, the prior asset threshold was:

A. For calendar year 2013, the asset threshold was $2,000,000,000. Creditors that had total assets of less than $2,000,000,000 on December 31, 2012, satisfied this criterion for purposes of the exemption during 2013.

iv. The creditor and its affiliates do not maintain an escrow account for any mortgage transaction being serviced by the creditor or its affiliate at the time the transaction is consummated, except as provided in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1) and (2). Thus, the exemption applies, provided the other conditions of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) are satisfied, even if the creditor previously maintained escrow accounts for mortgage loans, provided it no longer maintains any such accounts except as provided in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1) and (2). Once a creditor or its affiliate begins escrowing for loans currently serviced other than those addressed in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1) and (2), however, the creditor and its affiliate become ineligible for the exemption in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) on higher-priced mortgage loans they make while such escrowing continues. Thus, as long as a creditor (or its affiliate) services and maintains escrow accounts for any mortgage loans, other than as provided in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1) and (2), the creditor will not be eligible for the exemption for any higher-priced mortgage loan it may make. For purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii), a creditor or its affiliate "maintains" an escrow account only if it services a mortgage loan for which an escrow account has been established at least through the due date of the second periodic payment under the terms of the legal obligation.

Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1).

1. Exception for certain accounts. Escrow accounts established for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans for which applications were received on or after April 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2014, are not counted for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D). For applications received on and after January 1, 2014, creditors, together with their affiliates, that establish new escrow accounts, other than those described in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(2), do not qualify for the exemption provided under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii). Creditors, together with their affiliates, that continue to maintain escrow accounts established for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans for which applications were received on or after April 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2014, still qualify for the exemption provided under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) so long as they do not establish new escrow accounts for transactions for which they received applications on or after January 1, 2014, other than those described in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(2), and they otherwise qualify under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii).

Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(2).

1. Exception for post-consummation escrow accounts for distressed consumers. An escrow account established after consummation for a distressed consumer does not count for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D). Distressed consumers are consumers who are working with the creditor or servicer to attempt to bring the loan into a current status through a modification, deferral, or other accommodation to the consumer. A creditor, together with its affiliates, that establishes escrow accounts after consummation as a regular business practice, regardless of whether consumers are in distress, does not qualify for the exception described in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(2).

Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iv).

1. Requirements for "rural" or "underserved" status. A county is considered to be "rural" or "underserved" for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) if it satisfies either of the two tests in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv). The Bureau applies both tests to each county in the United States. If a county satisfies either test, the Bureau will include the county on a published list of "rural" or "underserved" counties for a particular calendar year. To facilitate compliance with appraisal requirements in § 1026.35(c), the Bureau will also create a list of only those counties that are "rural" but excluding those that are only "underserved." The Bureau will post on its public Web site the applicable lists for each calendar year by the end of that year, thus permitting creditors to ascertain the availability to them of the exemption during the following year. For 2012, however, the list will be published before June 1, 2013. A creditor may rely as a safe harbor, pursuant to section 130(f) of the Truth in Lending Act, on the lists of counties published by the Bureau to determine whether a county qualifies as "rural" or "underserved" for a particular calendar year. A creditor's originations of covered transactions, as defined by § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien, in such counties during that year are considered in determining whether the creditor satisfies the condition in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) and therefore will be eligible for the exemption during the following calendar year.

i. Under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A), a county is rural during a calendar year if it is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area. These areas are defined by the Office of Management and Budget and applied under currently applicable Urban Influence Codes (UICs), established by the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS). Accordingly, for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A), "adjacent" has the meaning applied by the USDA-ERS in determining a county's UIC; as so applied, "adjacent" entails a county not only being physically contiguous with a metropolitan statistical area but also meeting certain minimum population commuting patterns. Specifically, a county is "rural" if the USDA-ERS categorizes the county under UIC 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Descriptions of UICs are available on the USDA-ERS Web site at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/urban-influence-codes/documentation.aspx. A county for which there is no currently applicable UIC (because the county has been created since the USDA-ERS last categorized counties) is rural only if all counties from which the new county's land was taken are themselves rural under currently applicable UICs.

ii. Under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(B), a county is underserved during a calendar year if, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for the preceding calendar year, no more than two creditors extended covered transactions, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien, five or more times in the county. Specifically, a county is "underserved" if, in the applicable calendar year's public HMDA aggregate dataset, no more than two creditors have reported five or more first-lien covered transactions with HMDA geocoding that places the properties in that county. For purposes of this determination, because only covered transactions are counted, all first-lien originations (and only first-lien originations) reported in the HMDA data are counted except those for which the owner-occupancy status is reported as "Not owner-occupied" (HMDA code 2), the property type is reported as "Multifamily" (HMDA code 3), the applicant's or co-applicant's race is reported as "Not applicable" (HMDA code 7), or the applicant's or co-applicant's sex is reported as "Not applicable" (HMDA code 4). The most recent HMDA data are available at http://www.ffiec.gov/hmda.

2. Examples. i. A county is considered "rural" for a given calendar year based on the most recent available UIC designations, which are updated by the USDA-ERS once every ten years. As an example, assume a creditor makes first-lien covered transactions in County X during calendar year 2014, and the most recent UIC designations have been published in the second quarter of 2013. To determine "rural" status for County X during calendar year 2014, the creditor will use the 2013 UIC designations. However, to determine "rural" status for County X during 2012 or 2013, the creditor would use the UIC designations last published in 2003.

ii. A county is considered "underserved" for a given calendar year based on the most recent available HMDA data. For example, assume a creditor makes first-lien covered transactions in County Y during calendar year 2013, and the most recent HMDA data is for calendar year 2012, published in the third quarter of 2013. To determine "underserved" status for County Y in calendar year 2013 for the purposes of qualifying for the "rural or underserved" exemption in calendar year 2014, the creditor will use the 2012 HMDA data.

Paragraph 35(b)(2)(v).

1. Forward commitments. A creditor may make a mortgage loan that will be transferred or sold to a purchaser pursuant to an agreement that has been entered into at or before the time the loan is consummated. Such an agreement is sometimes known as a "forward commitment." Even if a creditor is otherwise eligible for the exemption in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii), a first-lien higher-priced mortgage loan that will be acquired by a purchaser pursuant to a forward commitment is subject to the requirement to establish an escrow account under § 1026.35(b)(1) unless the purchaser is also eligible for the exemption in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) or the transaction is otherwise exempt under § 1026.35(b)(2). The escrow requirement applies to any such transaction, whether the forward commitment provides for the purchase and sale of the specific transaction or for the purchase and sale of mortgage obligations with certain prescribed criteria that the transaction meets. For example, assume a creditor that qualifies for the exemption in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) makes a higher-priced mortgage loan that meets the purchase criteria of an investor with which the creditor has an agreement to sell such mortgage obligations after consummation. If the investor is ineligible for the exemption in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii), an escrow account must be established for the transaction before consummation in accordance with § 1026.35(b)(1) unless the transaction is otherwise exempt (such as a reverse mortgage or home equity line of credit).

35(b)(3) Cancellation.

1. Termination of underlying debt obligation. Section 1026.35(b)(3)(i) provides that, in general, an escrow account required by § 1026.35(b)(1) may not be cancelled until the underlying debt obligation is terminated or the consumer requests cancellation at least five years after consummation. Methods by which an underlying debt obligation may be terminated include, among other things, repayment, refinancing, rescission, and foreclosure.

2. Minimum durations. Section 1026.35(b)(3) establishes minimum durations for which escrow accounts established pursuant to § 1026.35(b)(1) must be maintained. This requirement does not affect a creditor's right or obligation, pursuant to the terms of the legal obligation or applicable law, to offer or require an escrow account thereafter.

3. Less than eighty percent unpaid principal balance. The term "original value" in § 1026.35(b)(3)(ii)(A) means the lesser of the sales price reflected in the sales contract for the property, if any, or the appraised value of the property at the time the transaction was consummated. In determining whether the unpaid principal balance has reached less than 80 percent of the original value of the property securing the underlying debt, the creditor or servicer shall count any subordinate lien of which it has reason to know. If the consumer certifies in writing that the equity in the property securing the underlying debt obligation is unencumbered by a subordinate lien, the creditor or servicer may rely upon the certification in making its determination unless it has actual knowledge to the contrary.

35(c)—Appraisals.

35(c)(1) Definitions.

35(c)(1)(i) Certified or licensed appraiser.

1. USPAP. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are established by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation (as defined in 12 U.S.C. 3350(9)). Under § 1026.35(c)(1)(i), the relevant USPAP standards are those found in the edition of USPAP and that are in effect at the time the appraiser signs the appraiser's certification.

2. Appraiser's certification. The appraiser's certification refers to the certification that must be signed by the appraiser for each appraisal assignment. This requirement is specified in USPAP Standards Rule 2-3.

3. FIRREA title XI and implementing regulations. The relevant regulations are those prescribed under section 1110 of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), as amended (12 U.S.C. 3339), that relate to an appraiser's development and reporting of the appraisal in effect at the time the appraiser signs the appraiser's certification. Paragraph (3) of FIRREA section 1110 (12 U.S.C. 3339(3)), which relates to the review of appraisals, is not relevant for determining whether an appraiser is a certified or licensed appraiser under § 1026.35(c)(1)(i).

35(c)(2) Exemptions.

1. Compliance with title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). Section 1026.35(c)(2) provides exemptions solely from the requirements of section 1026.35(c)(3) through (6). Institutions subject to the requirements of FIRREA and its implementing regulations that make a loan qualifying for an exemption under section 1026.35(c)(2) must still comply with appraisal and evaluation requirements under FIRREA and its implementing regulations.

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(i)

1. Qualified mortgage criteria. Under §1026.35(c)(2)(i),a loan is exempt from the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c) if:

i. The loan is—(1) subject to the Bureau's ability-to-repay requirements in § 1026.43 as a “covered transaction” (defined in § 1026.43(b)(1)) and (2) a qualified mortgage pursuant to the Bureau's rules or, for loans insured, guaranteed, or administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or Rural Housing Service (RHS), is a qualified mortgage pursuant to the applicable rules prescribed by those agencies (but only once such rules are ineffect; otherwise, the Bureau's definition of a qualified mortgage applies to those loans).

ii. The loan is—(1) not subject to the Bureau's ability-to-repay requirements in § 1026.43 as a “covered transaction” (defined in § 1026.43(b)(1)), but (2) meets the criteria for a qualified mortgage in the Bureau's rules or, for loans insured, guaranteed, or administered by HUD, VA, USDA, or RHS, meets the criteria for a qualified mortgage in the applicable rules prescribed by those agencies (but only once such rules are in effect; otherwise,the Bureau's criteria for a qualified mortgage applies to those loans). To explain further, loans enumerated in § 1026.43(a) are not “covered transactions” under the Bureau's ability-to-repay requirements in § 1026.43, and thus cannot be qualified mortgages (entitled to a rebuttable presumption or safe harbor of compliance with the ability-to-repay requirements of § 1026.43, see,e.g., § 1026.43(e)(1)). These include an extension of credit made pursuant to a program administered by a Housing Finance Agency, as defined under 24 CFR 266.5, or pursuant to a program authorized by sections 101 and 109 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. See § 1026.43(a)(3)(iv) and (vi). They also include extensions of credit made by a creditor identified in § 1026.43(a)(3)(v). Nonetheless, under the exemption in § 1026.35(c)(2)(i), these loans are not subject to the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c) if they meet the Bureau's qualified mortgage criteria in § 1026.43(e)(2), (4), (5), or(6) or § 1026.43(f) (including limits on when loans must be consummated) or, for loans that are insured, guaranteed, or administered by HUD, VA, USDA, or RHS, in applicable rules prescribed by those agencies (but only once such rules are in effect; otherwise,the Bureau's criteria for a qualified mortgage applies to those loans). For example, assume that HUD has prescribed rules to define loans insured under its programs that are qualified mortgages and those rules are in effect. Assume further that a creditor designated as a Community Development Financial Institution, as defined under 12 CFR 1805.104(h), originates a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, which is a part of HUD. The loan is not a “covered transaction” and thus is not a qualified mortgage. See § 1026.43(a)(3)(v)(A) and (b)(1). Nonetheless, the transaction is eligible for an exemption from the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c) if it meets the qualified mortgage criteria in HUD's rules. Nothing in § 1026.35(c)(2)(i) alters the definition of a qualified mortgage under regulations of the Bureau, HUD, VA, USDA, or RHS.

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(ii).

1. Threshold amount. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(2)(ii), the threshold amount in effect during a particular one-year period is the amount stated below for that period. The threshold amount is adjusted effective January 1 of every year by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) that was in effect on the preceding June 1. Every year, this comment will be amended to provide the threshold amount for the upcoming one-year period after the annual percentage change in the CPI-W that was in effect on June 1 becomes available. Any increase in the threshold amount will be rounded to the nearest $100 increment. For example, if the percentage increase in the CPI-W would result in a $950 increase in the threshold amount, the threshold amount will be increased by $1,000. However, if the percentage increase in the CPI-W would result in a $949 increase in the threshold amount, the threshold amount will be increased by $900.

i. From January 18, 2014, through December 31, 2014, the threshold amount is $25,000.

2. Qualifying for exemption — in general. A transaction is exempt under § 1026.35(c)(2)(ii) if the creditor makes an extension of credit at consummation that is equal to or below the threshold amount in effect at the time of consummation.

3. Qualifying for exemption — subsequent changes. A transaction does not meet the condition for an exemption under § 1026.35(c)(2)(ii) merely because it is used to satisfy and replace an existing exempt loan, unless the amount of the new extension of credit is equal to or less than the applicable threshold amount. For example, assume a closed-end loan that qualified for a § 1026.35(c)(2)(ii) exemption at consummation in year one is refinanced in year ten and that the new loan amount is greater than the threshold amount in effect in year ten. In these circumstances,the creditor must comply with all of the applicable requirements of § 1026.35(c) with respect to the year ten transaction if the original loan is satisfied and replaced by the new loan, unless another exemption from the requirements of § 1026.35(c) applies. See § 1026.35(c)(2) and § 1026.35(c)(4)(vii).

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(iii)

1. Secured by a mobile home. For purposes of the exemption in § 1026.35(c)(2)(iii), a mobile home does not include a manufactured home, as defined in § 1026.35(c)(1)(ii).

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(iv).

1. Construction-to-permanent loans. Section 1026.35(c) does not apply to a transaction to finance the initial construction of a dwelling. This exclusion applies to a construction-only loan as well as to the construction phase of a construction-to-permanent loan. Section 1026.35(c) does apply, however, to permanent financing that replaces a construction loan, whether the permanent financing is extended by the same or a different creditor, unless the permanent financing is otherwise exempt from the requirements of § 1026.35(c). See § 1026.35(c)(2). When a construction loan may be permanently financed by the same creditor, the general disclosure requirements for closed-end credit (§ 1026.17) provide that the creditor may give either one combined disclosure for both the construction financing and the permanent financing, or a separate set of disclosures for each of the two phases as though they were two separate transactions. See § 1026.17(c)(6)(ii) and comment 17(c)(6)-2. Section 1026.17(c)(6)(ii) addresses only how a creditor may elect to disclose a construction-to-permanent transaction. Which disclosure option a creditor elects under § 1026.17(c)(6)(ii) does not affect the determination of whether the permanent phase of the transaction is subject to § 1026.35(c). When the creditor discloses the two phases as separate transactions, the annual percentage rate for the permanent phase must be compared to the average prime offer rate for a transaction that is comparable to the permanent financing to determine coverage under § 1026.35(c). When the creditor discloses the two phases as a single transaction, a single annual percentage rate, reflecting the appropriate charges from both phases, must be calculated for the transaction in accordance with § 1026.35 and appendix D to part 1026. The annual percentage rate must be compared to the average prime offer rate for a transaction that is comparable to the permanent financing to determine coverage under § 1026.35(c). If the transaction is determined to be a higher-priced mortgage loan not otherwise exempt under § 1026.35(c)(2), only the permanent phase is subject to the requirements of § 1026.35(c).

2. Financing initial construction. The exemption for construction loans in § 1026.35(c)(2)(iv) applies to temporary financing of the construction of a dwelling that will be replaced by permanent financing once construction is complete. The exemption does not apply, for example, to loans to finance the purchase of manufactured homes that have not been or are in the process of being built when the financing obtained by the consumer at that time is permanent. See § 1026.35(c)(2)(viii).

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(vii)(A)(1)

1. Same credit risk holder. The requirement that the holder of the credit risk on the existing obligation and the refinancing be the same applies to situations in which an entity bears the financial responsibility for the default of a loan by either holding the loan in its portfolio or guaranteeing payments of principal and any interest to investors in a mortgage-backed security in which the loan is pooled. See§ 1026.35(c)(1)(ii)(defining “credit risk”). For example,a credit risk holder could be a bank that bears the credit risk on the existing obligation by holding the loan in the bank's portfolio. Another example of a credit risk holder would be a government-sponsored enterprise that bears the risk of default on a loan by guaranteeing the payment of principal and any interest on a loan to investors in a mortgage-backed security. The holder of credit risk under § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii)(A)(1) does not mean individual investors in a mortgage-backed security or providers of private mortgage insurance.

2. Same credit risk holder—illustrations.

Illustrations of the credit risk holder of the existing obligation continuing to be the credit risk holder of the refinancing include, but are not limited to, the following:

i. The existing obligation is held in the portfolio of a bank, thus the bank holds the credit risk. The bank arranges to refinance the loan and also will hold the refinancing in its portfolio. If the refinancing otherwise meets the requirements for an exemption under § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii), the transaction will qualify for the exemption because the credit risk holder is the same for the existing obligation and the refinance transaction. In this case,the exemption would apply regardless of whether the bank arranged to refinance the loan directly or indirectly, such as through the servicer or subservicer on the existing obligation.

ii. The existing obligation is held in the portfolio of a government-sponsored enterprise(GSE), thus the GSE holds the credit risk. The existing obligation is then refinanced by the servicer of the loan and immediately transferred to the GSE. The GSE pools the refinancing in a mortgage-backed security guaranteed by the GSE, thus the GSE holds the credit risk on the refinance loan. If the refinance transaction otherwise meets the requirements for an exemption under § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii), the transaction will qualify for the exemption because the credit risk holder is the same for the existing obligation and the refinance transaction. In this case, the exemption would apply regardless of whether the existing obligation was refinanced by the servicer or subservicer on the existing obligation (acting as a “creditor” under § 1026.2(a)(17)) or by a different creditor.

3. Forward commitments. A creditor may make a mortgage loan that will be sold or otherwise transferred pursuant to an agreement that has been entered into at or before the time the transaction is consummated. Such an agreement is sometimes known as a “forward commitment.” A refinance loan does not satisfy the requirement of § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii)(A)(1) if the loan will be acquired pursuant to a forward commitment, such that the credit risk on the refinance loan will transfer to a person who did not hold the credit risk on the existing obligation.

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(vii)(B)

1. Regular periodic payments. Under § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii)(B), the regular periodic payments on the refinance loan must not: result in an increase of the principal balance (negative amortization); allow the consumer to defer repayment of principal(see comment 43(e)(2)(i)-2); or result in a balloon payment. Thus, the terms of the legal obligation must require the consumer to make payments of principal and interest on a monthly or other periodic basis that will repay the loan amount over the loan term. Except for payments resulting from any interest rate changes after consummation in an adjustable-rate or step-rate mortgage, the periodic payments must be substantially equal. For an explanation of the term “substantially equal,” see comment 43(c)(5)(i)-4. In addition, a single-payment transaction is not a refinancing meeting the requirements of § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii) because it does not require “regular periodic payments.”

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(vii)(C)

1. Permissible use of proceeds. The exemption for a refinancing under § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii) is available only if the proceeds from the refinancing are used exclusively for the existing obligation and amounts attributed solely to the costs of the refinancing. The existing obligation includes the unpaid principal balance of the existing first lien loan, any earned unpaid finance charges, and any other lawful charges related to the existing loan. For guidance on the meaning of refinancing costs, see comment 23(f)-4. If the proceeds of a refinancing are used for other purposes, such as to pay off other liens or to provide additional cash to the consumer for discretionary spending, the transaction does not qualify for the exemption for a refinancing under § 1026.35(c)(2)(vii) from the appraisal requirements in § 1026.35(c).

Editor's Note: Effective July 18, 2015, paragraphs 35(c)(2)(viii)(A) - (C) are added, as follows:
Paragraph 35(c)(2)(viii)(A)

1. Secured by new manufactured home and land—physical visit of the interior. A transaction secured by a new manufactured home and land is subject to the requirements of § 1026.35(c)(3) through (6) except for the requirement in § 1026.35(c)(3)(i) that the appraiser conduct a physical inspection of the interior of the property. Thus, for example, a creditor of a loan secured by a new manufactured home and land could comply with § 1026.35(c)(3)(i) by obtaining an appraisal conducted by a state-certified or -licensed appraiser based on plans and specifications for the new manufactured home and an inspection of the land on which the property will be sited, as well as any other information necessary for the appraiser to complete the appraisal assignment in conformity with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the requirements of FIRREA and any implementing regulations.

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(viii)(B)

1. Secured by a manufactured home and not land. Section 1026.35(c)(2)(viii)(B) applies to a higher-priced mortgage loan secured by a manufactured home and not land, regardless of whether the home is titled as realty by operation of state law.

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(viii)(B)(2)

1. Independent. A cost service provider from which the creditor obtains a manufactured home unit cost estimate under § 1026.35(c)(2)(viii)(B)(2) is “independent” if that person is not affiliated with the creditor in the transaction, such as by common corporate ownership, and receives no direct or indirect financial benefits based on whether the transaction is consummated.

2. Adjustments. The requirement that the cost estimate be from an independent cost service provider does not prohibit a creditor from providing a cost estimate that reflects adjustments to account for factors such as special features, condition or location. However, the requirement that the estimate be obtained from an independent cost service provider means that any adjustments to the estimate must be based on adjustment factors available as part of the independent cost service used, with associated values that are determined by the independent cost service.

Paragraph 35(c)(2)(viii)(C)(3)

1. Interest in the property. A person has a direct or indirect [sic; should read "direct or indirect interest"] in the property if, for example, the person has any ownership or reasonably foreseeable ownership interest in the manufactured home. To illustrate, a person who seeks a loan to purchase the manufactured home to be valued has a reasonably foreseeable ownership interest in the property.

2. Interest in the transaction. A person has a direct or indirect interest in the transaction if, for example, the person or an affiliate of that person also serves as a loan officer of the creditor or otherwise arranges the credit transaction, or is the retail dealer of the manufactured home. A person also has a prohibited interest in the transaction if the person is compensated or otherwise receives financial or other benefits based on whether the transaction is consummated.

3. Training in valuing manufactured homes. Training in valuing manufactured homes includes, for example, successfully completing a course in valuing manufactured homes offered by a state or national appraiser association or receiving job training from an employer in the business of valuing manufactured homes.

4. Manufactured home valuation—example. A valuation in compliance with § 1026.35(c)(2)(viii)(B)(3) would include, for example, an appraisal of the manufactured home in accordance with the appraisal requirements for a manufactured home classified as personal property under the Title I Manufactured Home Loan Insurance Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, pursuant to section 2(b)(10)of the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. 1703(b)(10).

35(c)(3) Appraisals required.
35(c)(3)(i) In general.

1. Written appraisal—electronic transmission. To satisfy the requirement that the appraisal be "written," a creditor may obtain the appraisal in paper form or via electronic transmission.

35(c)(3)(ii) Safe harbor.

1. Safe harbor. A creditor that satisfies the safe harbor conditions in § 1026.35(c)(3)(ii)(A) through (D) complies with the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c)(3)(i). A creditor that does not satisfy the safe harbor conditions in § 1026.35(c)(3)(ii)(A) through (D) does not necessarily violate the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c)(3)(i).

2. Appraiser's certification. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(3)(ii), the appraiser's certification refers to the certification specified in item 9 of appendix N. See also comment 35(c)(1)(i)-2.

Paragraph 35(c)(3)(ii)(C).

1. Confirming elements in the appraisal. To confirm that the elements in appendix N to this part are included in the written appraisal, a creditor need not look beyond the face of the written appraisal and the appraiser's certification.

35(c)(4) Additional appraisal for certain higher-priced mortgage loans.

1. Acquisition. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(4), the terms "acquisition" and "acquire" refer to the acquisition of legal title to the property pursuant to applicable State law, including by purchase.

35(c)(4)(i) In general.

1. Appraisal from a previous transaction. An appraisal that was previously obtained in connection with the seller's acquisition or the financing of the seller's acquisition of the property does not satisfy the requirements to obtain two written appraisals under § 1026.35(c)(4)(i).

2. 90-day, 180-day calculation. The time periods described in § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(A) and (B) are calculated by counting the day after the date on which the seller acquired the property, up to and including the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property that secures the transaction. For example, assume that the creditor determines that date of the consumer's acquisition agreement is October 15, 2012, and that the seller acquired the property on April 17, 2012. The first day to be counted in the 180-day calculation would be April 18, 2012, and the last day would be October 15, 2012. In this case, the number of days from April 17 would be 181, so an additional appraisal is not required.

3. Date seller acquired the property. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(A) and (B), the date on which the seller acquired the property is the date on which the seller became the legal owner of the property pursuant to applicable State law.

4. Date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property. For the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property under § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(A) and (B), the creditor should use the date on which the consumer and the seller signed the agreement provided to the creditor by the consumer. The date on which the consumer and the seller signed the agreement might not be the date on which the consumer became contractually obligated under State law to acquire the property. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(A) and (B), a creditor is not obligated to determine whether and to what extent the agreement is legally binding on both parties. If the dates on which the consumer and the seller signed the agreement differ, the creditor should use the later of the two dates.

5. Price at which the seller acquired the property. The price at which the seller acquired the property refers to the amount paid by the seller to acquire the property. The price at which the seller acquired the property does not include the cost of financing the property.

6. Price the consumer is obligated to pay to acquire the property. The price the consumer is obligated to pay to acquire the property is the price indicated on the consumer's agreement with the seller to acquire the property. The price the consumer is obligated to pay to acquire the property from the seller does not include the cost of financing the property. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(A) and (B), a creditor is not obligated to determine whether and to what extent the agreement is legally binding on both parties. See also comment 35(c)(4)(i)-4.

35(c)(4)(ii) Different certified or licensed appraisers.

1. Independent appraisers. The requirements that a creditor obtain two separate appraisals under § 1026.35(c)(4)(i), and that each appraisal be conducted by a different licensed or certified appraiser under § 1026.35(c)(4)(ii), indicate that the two appraisals must be conducted independently of each other. If the two certified or licensed appraisers are affiliated, such as by being employed by the same appraisal firm, then whether they have conducted the appraisal independently of each other must be determined based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case known to the creditor.

35(c)(4)(iii) Relationship to general appraisal requirements.

1. Safe harbor. When a creditor is required to obtain an additional appraisal under § 1026(c)(4)(i), the creditor must comply with the requirements of both § 1026.35(c)(3)(i) and § 1026.35(c)(4)(ii) through (v) for that appraisal. The creditor complies with the requirements of § 1026.35(c)(3)(i) for the additional appraisal if the creditor meets the safe harbor conditions in § 1026.35(c)(3)(ii) for that appraisal.

35(c)(4)(iv) Required analysis in the additional appraisal.

1. Determining acquisition dates and prices used in the analysis of the additional appraisal. For guidance on identifying the date on which the seller acquired the property, see comment 35(c)(4)(i)-3. For guidance on identifying the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property, see comment 35(c)(4)(i)-4. For guidance on identifying the price at which the seller acquired the property, see comment 35(c)(4)(i)-5. For guidance on identifying the price the consumer is obligated to pay to acquire the property, see comment 35(c)(4)(i)-6.

35(c)(4)(v) No charge for additional appraisal.

1. Fees and mark-ups. The creditor is prohibited from charging the consumer for the performance of one of the two appraisals required under § 1026.35(c)(4)(i), including by imposing a fee specifically for that appraisal or by marking up the interest rate or any other fees payable by the consumer in connection with the higher-priced mortgage loan.

35(c)(4)(vi) Creditor's determination of prior sale date and price.
35(c)(4)(vi)(A) In general.

1. Estimated sales price. If a written source document describes the seller's acquisition price in a manner that indicates that the price described is an estimated or assumed amount and not the actual price, the creditor should look at an alternative document to satisfy the reasonable diligence standard in determining the price at which the seller acquired the property.

2. Reasonable diligence—oral statements insufficient. Reliance on oral statements of interested parties, such as the consumer, seller, or mortgage broker, does not constitute reasonable diligence under § 1026.35(c)(4)(vi)(A).

3. Lack of information and conflicting information—two appraisals required. If a creditor is unable to demonstrate that the requirement to obtain two appraisals under § 1026.35(c)(4)(i) does not apply, the creditor must obtain two written appraisals before extending a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to the requirements of § 1026.35(c). See also comment 35(c)(4)(vi)(B)-1. For example:

i. Assume a creditor orders and reviews the results of a title search, which shows that a prior sale occurred between 91 and 180 days ago, but not the price paid in that sale. Thus, based on the title search, the creditor would not be able to determine whether the price the consumer is obligated to pay under the consumer's acquisition agreement is more than 20 percent higher than the seller's acquisition price, pursuant to § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(B). Before extending a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c), the creditor must either: (1) perform additional diligence to ascertain the seller's acquisition price and, based on this information, determine whether two written appraisals are required; or (2) obtain two written appraisals in compliance with § 1026.35(c)(4). See also comment 35(c)(4)(vi)(B)-1.

ii. Assume a creditor reviews the results of a title search indicating that the last recorded purchase was more than 180 days before the consumer's agreement to acquire the property. Assume also that the creditor subsequently receives a written appraisal indicating that the seller acquired the property between 91 and 180 days before the consumer's agreement to acquire the property. In this case, unless one of these sources is clearly wrong on its face, the creditor would not be able to determine whether the seller acquired the property within 180 days of the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property from the seller, pursuant to § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(B). Before extending a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to the appraisal requirements of § 1026.35(c), the creditor must either: (1) perform additional diligence to ascertain the seller's acquisition date and, based on this information, determine whether two written appraisals are required; or (2) obtain two written appraisals in compliance with § 1026.35(c)(4). See also comment 35(c)(4)(vi)(B)-1.

35(c)(4)(vi)(B) Inability to determine prior sales date or price-modified requirements for additional appraisal.

1. Required analysis. In general, the additional appraisal required under § 1026.35(c)(4)(i) should include an analysis of the factors listed in § 1026.35(c)(4)(iv)(A) through (C). However, if, following reasonable diligence, a creditor cannot determine whether the conditions in § 1026.35(c)(4)(i)(A) or (B) are present due to a lack of information or conflicting information, the required additional appraisal must include the analyses required under § 1026.35(c)(4)(iv)(A) through (C) only to the extent that the information necessary to perform the analyses is known. For example, assume that a creditor is able, following reasonable diligence, to determine that the date on which the seller acquired the property occurred between 91 and 180 days prior to the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property. However, the creditor is unable, following reasonable diligence, to determine the price at which the seller acquired the property. In this case, the creditor is required to obtain an additional written appraisal that includes an analysis under § 1026.35(c)(4)(iv)(B) and (c)(4)(iv)(C) of the changes in market conditions and any improvements made to the property between the date the seller acquired the property and the date of the consumer's agreement to acquire the property. However, the creditor is not required to obtain an additional written appraisal that includes analysis under § 1026.35(c)(4)(iv)(A) of the difference between the price at which the seller acquired the property and the price that the consumer is obligated to pay to acquire the property.

35(c)(4)(vii) Exemptions from the additional appraisal requirement.
Paragraph 35(c)(4)(vii)(C).

1. Non-profit entity. For purposes of § 1026.35(c)(4)(vii)(C), a "non-profit entity" is a person with a tax exemption ruling or determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)).

Paragraph 35(c)(4)(vii)(H).

1. Bureau table of rural counties. The Bureau publishes on its website a table of rural counties under § 1026.35(c)(4)(vii)(H) for each calendar year by the end of that calendar year. See comment 35(b)(2)(iv)-1. A property securing an HPML subject to § 1026.35(c) is in a rural county under § 1026(c)(4)(vii)(H) if the county in which the property is located is on the table of rural counties most recently published by the Bureau. For example, for a transaction occurring in 2015, assume that the Bureau most recently published a table of rural counties at the end of 2014. The property securing the transaction would be located in a rural county for purposes of § 1026(c)(4)(vii)(H) if the county is on the table of rural counties published by the Bureau at the end of 2014.

35(c)(5) Required disclosure.
35(c)(5)(i) In general.

1. Multiple applicants. When two or more consumers apply for a loan subject to this section, the creditor is required to give the disclosure to only one of the consumers.

2. Appraisal independence requirements not affected. Nothing in the text of the consumer notice required by § 1026.35(c)(5)(i) should be construed to affect, modify, limit, or supersede the operation of any legal, regulatory, or other requirements or standards relating to independence in the conduct of appraisers or restrictions on the use of borrower-ordered appraisals by creditors.

35(c)(6) Copy of appraisals.
35(c)(6)(i) In general.

1. Multiple applicants. When two or more consumers apply for a loan subject to this section, the creditor is required to give the copy of each required appraisal to only one of the consumers.

35(c)(6)(ii) Timing.

1. "Provide." For purposes of the requirement to provide a copy of the appraisal within a specified time under § 1026.35(c)(6)(ii), "provide" means "deliver." Delivery occurs three business days after mailing or delivering the copies to the last-known address of the applicant, or when evidence indicates actual receipt by the applicant (which, in the case of electronic receipt, must be based upon consent that complies with the E-Sign Act), whichever is earlier.

2. No waiver. Regulation B, 12 CFR 1002.14(a)(1), allowing the consumer to waive the requirement that the appraisal copy be provided three business days before consummation, does not apply to higher-priced mortgage loans subject to § 1026.35(c). A consumer of a higher-priced mortgage loan subject to § 1026.35(c) may not waive the timing requirement to receive a copy of the appraisal under § 1026.35(c)(6)(i).

35(c)(6)(iv) No charge for copy of appraisal.

1. Fees and mark-ups. The creditor is prohibited from charging the consumer for any copy of an appraisal required to be provided under § 1026.35(c)(6)(i), including by imposing a fee specifically for a required copy of an appraisal or by marking up the interest rate or any other fees payable by the consumer in connection with the higher-priced mortgage loan.

35(e) Rules for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans

Paragraph 35(e)(2)(ii)(C)

1. Payment change. Section 1026.35(e)(2) provides that a loan subject to this section may not have a penalty described by § 1026.32(d)(6) unless certain conditions are met. Section 1026.35(e)(2)(ii)(C) lists as a condition that the amount of the periodic payment of principal or interest or both may not change during the four-year period following consummation. For examples showing whether a prepayment penalty is permitted or prohibited in connection with particular payment changes, see comment 32(d)(7)(iv)-1. Those examples, however, include a condition that § 1026.35(e)(2) does not include: The condition that, at consummation, the consumer's total monthly debt payments may not exceed 50 percent of the consumer's monthly gross income. For guidance about circumstances in which payment changes are not considered payment changes for purposes of this section, see comment 32(d)(7)(iv)-2.

2. Negative amortization. Section 1026.32(d)(2) provides that a loan described in § 1026.32(a) may not have a payment schedule with regular periodic payments that cause the principal balance to increase. Therefore, the commentary to § 1026.32(d)(7)(iv) does not include examples of payment changes in connection with negative amortization. The following examples show whether, under § 1026.35(e)(2), prepayment penalties are permitted or prohibited in connection with particular payment changes, when a loan agreement permits negative amortization:

i. Initial payments for a variable-rate transaction consummated on January 1, 2010, are $1,000 per month and the loan agreement permits negative amortization to occur. Under the loan agreement, the first date that a scheduled payment in a different amount may be due is January 1, 2014, and the creditor does not have the right to change scheduled payments prior to that date even if negative amortization occurs. A prepayment penalty is permitted with this mortgage transaction provided that the other § 1026.35(e)(2) conditions are met, that is: Provided that the prepayment penalty is permitted by other applicable law, the penalty expires on or before December 31, 2011, and the penalty will not apply if the source of the prepayment funds is a refinancing by the creditor or its affiliate.

ii. Initial payments for a variable-rate transaction consummated on January 1, 2010 are $1,000 per month and the loan agreement permits negative amortization to occur. Under the loan agreement, the first date that a scheduled payment in a different amount may be due is January 1, 2014, but the creditor has the right to change scheduled payments prior to that date if negative amortization occurs. A prepayment penalty is prohibited with this mortgage transaction because the payment may change within the four-year period following consummation.

 

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