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FEMA to suspend communities in four states next week

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published [86 FR 22357] in today's Federal Register a notice that it has scheduled communities in Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. The listed communities include:

  • Mississippi: Byhalia, Holly Springs, and unincorporated areas of Marshall and Tunica Counties
  • New York: Lewiston (Town), Lewiston (Village), Niagara Falls, Porter, Somerset, Wilson, and Youngstown
  • Ohio: Eastlake, Fairport Harbor, Grand River, Lake County (unincorporated areas), Lakeline, Mentor, Mentor-on-the-Lake, North Perry, Timberlake, Willoughby, and Willowick
  • South Carolina: Duncan, Greenville County (unincorporated areas), Lyman, Spartanburg, Spartanburg County (unincorporated areas), Union, and Union County (unincorporated areas)

If FEMA receives documentation that a listed community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to May 4, 2021, the community will not be suspended.


CFPB delays compliance date for General QM rule

The CFPB announced Tuesday afternoon that it has delayed the mandatory compliance date of the General Qualified Mortgage (QM) final rule from July 1, 2021, to October 1, 2022.

The CFPB said it is taking this action to help ensure access to responsible, affordable mortgage credit, and preserve flexibility for consumers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects. Delaying the mandatory compliance date of the General QM final rule allows lenders more time to offer QM loans based on the homeowners’ debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and not solely based on certain pricing thresholds.

Delaying the final rule’s compliance date would also give lenders more time to use the Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Patch, which provides QM status to loans that are eligible for sale to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, the availability of the GSE Patch after July 1, 2021, may be limited by recent revisions to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements entered into by the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The changes are reflected in the BankersOnline Regulations page for § 1026.43 of Regulation Z.

  • Tuesday's final rule delaying the mandatory compliance date
  • Summary of Tuesday's final rule
  • PUBLICATION AND EFFECTIVE DATE UPDATE: This rule will be effective 6/30/2021. Published at 86 FR 22844 on 4/30/2021.


New home sales decline

HUD and the Census Bureau have reported that the March 2021 sales of new single-family homes declined by 20.7 percent below the revised February rate of 846,000 but were 66.8. percent above the March 2020 estimate of 612,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2021 was $330,800. The average sales price was $397,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 307,000, a supply of 3.6 months at the current sales rate.


HOME-ARP grantees announced

HUD Secretary Fudge on Friday held a Zoom call to discuss the nearly $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds allocated by HUD to help communities across the country create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The supplemental funding, known as HOME-ARP, was provided by the American Rescue Plan and is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.


HUD to resume housing inspections

HUD Secretary Fudge has announced that HUD will substantially increase housing inspections beginning on June 1, 2021. Thirteen months ago, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with public health guidance, HUD took many steps to protect HUD-assisted households and the people who provide that assistance from exposure to COVID-19. Among those steps was the suspension of most in-person housing inspections by the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) last year along with waivers that enabled Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Multifamily housing owners and managers to reduce activities that could contribute to COVID-19 transmission.

Multifamily housing owners and property managers were informed on Friday that HUD has developed detailed protocols guiding all aspects of the inspection process. HUD, in collaboration with the CDC, will implement additional protocols and associated safety measures, including:

  • The inspection of high priority/risk properties for both the Public Housing and Multifamily portfolios before other properties;
  • Evaluation of known property-specific health conditions prior to the inspection;
  • Regular COVID-19 testing of inspectors and efforts to facilitate the vaccination of inspectors;
  • Travel and quarantine guidelines for inspectors;
  • Detailed operational protocols for inspectors pre-inspection, during the inspection, and post-inspection reviewed by the CDC;
  • Ability for residents to opt-out of unit inspections when inspectors arrive on-site.


CFPB files suit to seize hidden assets of debt collector

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and New York Attorney General Letitia James have announced they have filed a complaint in federal court to seize a $1.6 million home, the ownership of which the complaint alleges was fraudulently transferred by the operator of a massive and now-defunct debt-collection scheme. Douglas MacKinnon transferred ownership of his home to his wife and daughter for the sum of $1 shortly after learning of a federal and state investigation into his companies, Northern Resolution Group LLC and Enhanced Acquisitions LLC. The complaint asks the court to declare the transfer void and order the seizure and sale of the property to partially repay MacKinnon’s outstanding debt to the federal and state governments for his illegal conduct.


Federal Reserve enforcement orders

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has announced the execution of two enforcement orders against state-chartered member banks.

  • The Yellowstone Bank, Laurel, Montana, was ordered to pay a $9,500 civil money penalty for a pattern or practice of unspecified violations of Federal Reserve Board Regulation H section 208.25, which implements the National Flood Insurance Act.
  • Iowa Prairie Bank, Brunsville, Iowa, entered into a written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Iowa Division of Banking addressing matters of board oversight, credit risk management, asset improvement, the allowance for loan and lease losses, capital planning, a business plan and budget, regulatory reporting, dividends, and compliance with laws and regulations.


Stark Law phantom debt victims getting refunds

The Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General are sending payments totaling more than $4 million to more than 10,000 consumers who lost money to the Stark Law phantom debt collection scheme.

According a suit filed by the FTC and the Illinois Attorney General, Stark Law used multiple business names to target consumers who obtained or applied for payday or other short-term loans, pressuring them into paying debts they either did not owe or that the defendants had no authority to collect. Stark Law allegedly called consumers and demanded immediate payment for supposedly delinquent loans, at times threatening consumers with lawsuits or arrest, falsely claiming they would be charged with “defrauding a financial institution” or “passing a bad check.”

Affected consumers are receiving full refunds, averaging $375 each.


GSEs extend some loan origination flexibilities

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Wednesday announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend some temporary loan origination flexibilities until May 31, 2021. All temporary flexibilities were originally set to expire on April 30.

Alternative appraisals on purchase and rate-term refinance loans are among the flexibilities that will now be extended through May 31, 2021.

Those temporary flexibilities related to employment verification, condominium project reviews, and expanded power of attorney are being allowed to expire as scheduled on April 30, 2021.

Due to low usage of the temporary flexibilities, FHFA expects to retire all temporary selling flexibilities on May 31, 2021.


OCC rates six CRA evals Outstanding

The OCC has released a list of 15 OCC-supervised institutions evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act whose evaluations became public in March. Of those evaluations, eight are rated satisfactory, six are rated outstanding, and one is rated needs to improve.

We congratulate these banks for having earned "outstanding" ratings:


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