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01/17/2020

Disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico

HUD has announced an additional $8.2 billion available for Puerto Rico disaster recovery. Secretary Ben Carson said that HUD will soon publish a Federal Register notice to provide Puerto Rico with the guidelines for establishing its plan to use these long-term mitigation funds appropriated by Congress.

01/16/2020

FHFA announces Giancarlo as chairman of CSS

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that J. Christopher “Chris" Giancarlo, former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will serve as independent, non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Common Securitization Solutions LLC (CSS) and that CSS will amend the structure of its board of directors. This amended structure provides Anthony Renzi, appointed in December 2019 as CSS CEO, a seat on the board and also allows the FHFA to appoint up to three additional independent directors. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will each retain their two current board seats. There will be up to nine board members in total. CSS, a joint venture between the Enterprises, built and runs the technology platform that supports the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS). Both Enterprises began using the CSS Common Securitization Platform in June of 2019.

01/14/2020

HOME program online training available

HUD has announced the launch of its new Building HOME online training series for its HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, an interactive, self-paced online training which guides grantees through 12 modules, providing a foundation of the regulatory requirements of the program and practical advice for implementing all HOME activities at the state and local levels. The training presents real-world scenarios and includes challenge questions and exams. The launch includes 8 of the 12 training modules. Four additional modules will be launched in the next few months to complete the Building HOME online training series.

The HOME program provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use in partnership with local nonprofit groups to fund a wide range of affordable housing activities. This includes building, buying, or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership. HOME also provides direct rental assistance to low-income people. It’s the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.

01/13/2020

CFPB issues no-action letter to Bank of America

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) has issued a no-action letter to Bank of America, N.A. regarding the bank’s funding arrangements with housing counseling agencies certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

01/13/2020

Fair lending and internet marketing

The Federal Reserve System has published its third 2019 issue of Consumer Compliance Outlook, which features an article on the fair lending implications of targeted internet marketing.

01/10/2020

CFPB sues student loan debt-relief companies

The CFPB has announced it has filed suit against several companies and individuals involved in offering student loan debt-relief services for allegedly obtaining consumer reports illegally, charging unlawful advance fees, and engaging in deceptive conduct. The Bureau’s action is against a mortgage lender called Chou Team Realty, LLC, which does business as Monster Loans (Monster Loans); an allegedly sham mortgage brokerage called Lend Tech Loans, Inc.; and several student loan debt-relief companies, including Docu Prep Center, Inc., which does business as DocuPrep Center and Certified Document Center; Certified Doc Prep Services, LP; Assure Direct Services, Inc.; Direct Document Solutions, Inc.; Secure Preparation Services, Inc.; and Docs Done Right, Inc. The Bureau is also taking action against several individuals, including Bilal Abdelfattah, who is also known as Belal Abdelfattah and Bill Abdel; Thomas “Tom” Chou; Sean Cowell; Robert Hoose; Eduardo “Ed” Martinez; Jawad Nesheiwat; Frank Anthony Sebreros; and David Sklar.

In its complaint, the Bureau alleges that between 2015 and 2017, Monster Loans violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by obtaining consumer-report information for millions of consumers with student loan debt from a major credit bureau on the pretense that the company planned to use the information to offer mortgage loans to consumers when, in fact, Monster Loans provided the reports to the student loan debt-relief companies to use in marketing their services. The Bureau also alleges that, between 2017 and at least early 2019, Lend Tech Loans similarly violated the FCRA by obtaining consumer report information for millions of consumers for use in marketing student loan debt-relief services.

The Bureau further alleges that, while offering and providing student loan debt-relief services, certain defendants violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and the Telemarketing Sales Rule by making deceptive representations about the companies’ services.

01/10/2020

FHFA Q3 foreclosure prevention and refinance report

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) yesterday released its third quarter 2019 Foreclosure Prevention and Refinance Report, which shows that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) completed 26,475 foreclosure prevention actions in the third quarter of 2019, bringing the total number of foreclosure prevention actions to 4,381,036 since September 2008. The report also shows that 37 percent of loan modifications completed in the third quarter reduced borrowers' monthly payments by more than 20 percent. The Enterprises' serious delinquency rate dropped to 0.65 percent at the end of the third quarter. This compares with 3.39 percent for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, 1.87 percent for Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and 1.81 percent for all loans (industry average). The report also shows that the Enterprises completed 539,485 refinances in the third quarter.

01/10/2020

NMLS annual conference registration info

The NMLS has posted the full agenda for the 2020 NMLS Annual Conference & Training to be held February 18–21 in San Francisco. The event attracts a growing number of state and federal regulators, licensees and general registrants who come together to exchange information on NMLS user and regulatory compliance issues that affect their organizations. Registrants will also get a first look at the State Examination System (SES), which is currently in pilot testing, and learn how to use the system to improve the exam process for companies.

01/10/2020

OCC adds CRA Request for Info

Yesterday, the FDIC and OCC published [85 FR 1204] their previously announced proposal to amend their respective Community Reinvestment Act regulations. Today, the OCC separately published [85 FR 1285] a Request for Information seeking bank-specific data and information to supplement currently available data and to inform potential revisions to modernize and strengthen the CRA regulatory framework. Responses to this request for information will be accepted through March 10, 2020. Comments on the FDIC/OCC proposed amendments are due by March 9, 2020.

01/09/2020

Brainard explains Fed's CRA stance

Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard spoke at the Urban Institute yesterday on "Strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act by Staying True to Its Core Purpose." Without disparaging the proposal of the OCC and FDIC to amend their CRA regulations, Brainard described the Federal Reserve Board's approach to measuring CRA performance, indicating that the Board of Governors hopes to inform the public comment process with a goal of arriving at a uniform approach that will allow for an interagency final rule.

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