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Top Story Lending Related


Alabama and Kentucky severe storms relief

The FDIC has issued two financial institution letters announcing steps to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions and facilitate recovery.

  • FIL-31-2021 concerning areas of Kentucky affected by severe storms, slooding, landslides, and mudslides
  • FIL-32-2021 with regard to areas of Alabama affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes


CA mortgage mod service charged with fair housing violations

HUD has announced that it is charging the owners and employees of a business known as The House Lawyer, which operated in Redwood City, California, with violating the Fair Housing Act by targeting Hispanic homeowners with illegal and unfair mortgage modification services. HUD’s charge alleges, among other things, that the company collected fees from Hispanic borrowers for loan modification services prior to the completion of those services, in violation of California law, while encouraging them to withhold their mortgage payments, putting them at risk of foreclosure.


Comptroller’s Handbook booklet revised

The OCC has issued Bulletin 2021-22 announcing the revision of the “Credit Card Lending” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook. The revised booklet—

  • reflects the adoption of the current expected credit loss methodology by some banks and the increased use of models in credit card originations and risk management
  • reflects changes to OCC issuances published and rescinded since this booklet was last issued
  • includes clarifying edits regarding supervisory guidance, sound risk management practices, or legal language
  • revises certain content for general clarity


CFPB issues consumer complaint bulletin

The CFPB announced it has issued a Complaint Bulletin with a county-level demographic overview of consumer complaints.

Among other key findings in this bulletin:

  • From 2019 to 2020, consumer complaints increased across all demographic groups. Complaints increased at a greater rate in predominantly minority counties compared to predominantly white, non-Hispanic counties.
  • Consumers living in predominantly minority counties submitted more complaints on a per capita basis in nearly every one of the 11 product categories about which the Bureau accepts complaints.
  • Credit or consumer reporting appears to cause significantly more issues for consumers in predominantly minority counties.

The Bureau plans to enhance its complaint form to give consumers the option to provide household size and household income when submitting a complaint. It will also begin exploring what additional information it may need to help better understand the experiences of diverse communities that submit complaints.


FOMC statement issued - Fed Funds rate unchanged

The Federal Reserve Board issued the Federal Open Market Committee statement following yesterday's FOMC meeting. In the statement, the committee said it:

"... seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. With inflation running persistently below this longer-run goal, the Committee will aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time so that inflation averages 2 percent over time and longer‑term inflation expectations remain well anchored at 2 percent. The Committee expects to maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy until these outcomes are achieved. The Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee's assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time...."


GSEs offer new refi option for low-income borrowers

The FHFA announced on Wednesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement a new refinance option this summer for low-income borrowers with Enterprise-backed single-family mortgages. Eligible borrowers will benefit from a reduced interest rate and lower monthly payment. The FHFA estimates that borrowers who take advantage of the new refinance option could save an average of between $100 and $250 a month.

The new refinance option includes:

  • A requirement that the lender provides a savings of at least $50 in the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment, and at least a 50-basis point reduction in the borrower’s interest rate;
  • A maximum $500 credit from the lender for an appraisal if the borrower is not eligible for an appraisal waiver (the Enterprises will provide the lender a credit of $500 upon the loan’​s sale to an Enterprise); and A waiver of the 50 basis point up-front adverse market refinance fee for borrowers with loan balances at or below $300,000.

To qualify, a borrower must:

  • Have an Enterprise-backed 1-unit single-family mortgage that is owner-occupied;
  • Have an income at or below 80% of the area median income;
  • Have not missed a payment in the past six months, and no more than one missed payment in the past 12 months; and
  • Not have a mortgage with a loan-to-value ratio greater than 97%, a debt-to-income ratio above 65%, or a FICO score lower than 620.


House prices continue to rise

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has reported that house prices rose nationwide in February, up 0.9 percent from the previous month, according to the latest FHFA House Price Index. House prices rose 12.2 percent from February 2020 to February 2021. The previously reported 1.0 percent price change for January 2021 remained unchanged.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from January 2021 to February 2021 ranged from +0.3 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +1.6 percent in the Mountain division. The 12-month changes ranged from +10.5 percent in the West North Central division to +15.4 percent in the Mountain division.


CFPB responds to claims of Mr. Cooper unauthorized withdrawals

CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio has issued a statement in response to apparent unauthorized withdrawals made by a mortgage servicer, Nationstar Mortgage LLC, d/b/a Mr. Cooper. Unauthorized duplicate-payment drafts by Mr. Cooper appear to have resulted in hundreds of thousands of consumers’ bank accounts being debited for multiples of their mortgage payments. Affected consumers have reported being charged overdraft fees and likely suffered additional harm as a result of these unauthorized withdrawals.

“The CFPB is taking immediate action to understand and resolve the situation that has affected hundreds of thousands of consumers. The CFPB will use all appropriate tools at our disposal to help ensure harmed consumers receive relief. Consumers affected by the incident should monitor their accounts and may contact Mr. Cooper directly. Consumers can submit complaints to the CFPB at or call toll-free at 855-411-2372."

National Mortgage News reported on Monday that Mr. Cooper was working on reversing unauthorized payment drafts from some of its borrowers' bank accounts. Mr. Cooper said in a blog post that "All duplicate transaction requests have been stopped. We are actively working with the banks involved and the payments vendor [where the errors reportedly originated] to correct the issue and prevent recurrence."

[Financial institutions holding deposit accounts affected by the apparent unauthorized transactions are likely to receive error claims under Regulation E, and must follow the requirements of the regulation in processing those claims. Part of their investigation of these claims should be checking to see if the duplicate debits have been reversed. Any bank-imposed fees (such as overdraft and return item fees) triggered by the duplicate debits will have to be reversed. - Editor]


CFPB action against reverse mortgage lender

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken action against Nationwide Equities Corporation for sending deceptive loan advertisements to hundreds of thousands of older borrowers. The Bureau found that advertisements from Nationwide Equities misled consumers concerning how much money they could receive from a reverse mortgage, the fees and costs associated with the products, and the consequences of nonpayment. The advertisements violated the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule (MAP Rule), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). The CFPB is ordering the company to—

  • pay a $140,000 civil money penalty,
  • cease its illegal conduct, and
  • implement a compliance plan to affirmatively review every advertisement to ensure they do not violate federal law.

Nationwide Equities is a mortgage broker and direct lender that offers and originates reverse mortgage loans, primarily home equity conversion mortgage loans and private jumbo reverse mortgage loans. The company, headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, is one of the largest reverse mortgage lenders in the United States, is licensed in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and operates three retail branches across the country.


SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund registration information

The SBA has announced it will begin registrations on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT and open applications on Monday, May 3, 2021, at noon EDT for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.

The Fund was established under the American Rescue Plan and provides a total of $28.6 billion in direct relief funds to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023.


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