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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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OCC updated TILA booklet

OCC Bulletin 2018-31, issued yesterday, announces an updated "Truth in Lending Act" booklet of the Comptroller's Handbook," replacing its earlier version issued in December 2014. In addition to replacing the 2014 booklet, the OCC rescinded the TILA sections of its Bulletin 2015-27 and Bulletin 2015-42.


FHFA House Price Index rises

U.S. house prices rose in July, up 0.2 percent from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.2 percent increase in June was revised upward to 0.3 percent.

The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From July 2017 to July 2018, house prices were up 6.4 percent. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from June 2018 to July 2018 ranged from -0.5 percent in the East South Central division to +1.1 percent in the South Atlantic division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +4.7 percent in the New England division to +8.7 percent in the Mountain division.


Debt collection scheme halted by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the operators of an illegal debt collection scheme have agreed to be permanently banned from the debt collection business in order to settle Commission charges that they falsely threatened to have people arrested if their debts were not paid. The defendants falsely claimed consumers would spend up to 120 days in jail or pay thousands of dollars in bail. Court orders impose a judgment of $22.5 million against Gregory MacKinnon, Vantage Point Services LLC, Joseph Ciffa and Bonified Payment Solutions, Inc. The orders impose a judgment of $4.4 million against Angela Burdorf and Payment Management Solutions Inc. The judgment against Ciffa and Bonified Payment Solutions will be suspended due to their inability to pay. The full judgment against Ciffa and Bonified Payment Solutions will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.


All consumers can place free credit card freezes

The Federal Trade Commission and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection have announced that effective Friday, September 21, 2018, consumers concerned about identity theft or data breaches can freeze their credit and place one-year fraud alerts for free. Under the new Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, consumers in some states, those who previously had to pay fees to freeze their credit, will no longer have to do so. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, restricts access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in the consumer’s name. The new law also allows parents to freeze for free the credit of their children who are under 16, while guardians, conservators, and those with a valid power of attorney can get a free freeze for their principals. In addition, the new law extends the duration of a fraud alert on a consumer’s credit report from 90 days to one year. A fraud alert requires businesses that check a consumer’s credit to get the consumer’s approval before opening a new account.

Lenders are reminded that this added accessibility to credit freezes can impact consumer's ability to apply for credit. Lenders should consider reminding consumers to temporarily lift any credit freezes before applying for new credit.


Second quarter mortgage performance unchanged

The OCC has released its Mortgage Metrics Report for the Second Quarter 2018, which showed 95.6 percent of mortgages included in the report were current and performing at the end of the quarter, compared to 95.4 percent a year earlier. The report also showed that servicers initiated 29,612 new foreclosures during the second quarter of 2018­, a 20.6 percent decrease from the previous quarter and a 17.7 percent decrease from a year ago. Servicers implemented 32,655 mortgage modifications in the second quarter of 2018, and 64.1 percent of the modifications reduced borrowers’ monthly payments.

The first-lien mortgages included in the OCC’s quarterly report comprise 33 percent of all residential mortgages outstanding in the United States or approximately 17.5 million loans totaling $3.28 trillion in principal balances.


Board requests comments on amendments to Regs H and K

The Federal Reserve Board has requested public comment on a proposal to amend Regulation H and Regulation K to repeal provisions that incorporate the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (S.A.F.E. Act). The proposal reflects the transfer of the Board's rulemaking authority for the S.A.F.E. Act to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Entities that were subject to the Board's rules are now subject to the Bureau's rules. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

UPDATE: The proposal was published at 83 FR 48402 on 9/25/2018. Comments are due by 11/26/18.


Lender and appraisal company pay $240K for refinance discrimination

HUD has announced that LLC and Appraisal Management Services of America, Inc. agreed have to pay over $240,000 for allegedly refusing to refinance loans because of race and homes’ location on Native American lands.


NCUA Board approves appraisals amendment

The NCUA has announced that its Board yesterday unanimously approved two items on its agenda:

  • A proposed rule amending the agency’s regulation requiring real estate appraisals for certain transactions to provide a measure of regulatory relief
  • A request from the Texas Credit Union Department to revise its member business lending rule to provide parity with the NCUA’s rule following changes made in June 2018


OCC September enforcement actions and terminations

The OCC has released information on recent enforcement actions against national banks, federal savings associations, and individuals currently and formerly affiliated with national banks and federal savings associations. An Order of Prohibition and for a Civil Money Penalty of $1,000 was issued against a former General Lender and Vice President of the Minnesota National Bank, Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Two terminations of existing enforcement actions were also included in the agency's announcement.


HUD and Puerto Rico announce $1.5B hurricane relief agreement

HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló have announced the formal execution of a $1.5 billion grant agreement to help citizens in Puerto Rico recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The signing of the agreement paves the way to speed recovery dollars needed to restore damaged and destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure.


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