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Mortgage Servicing Requirements from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

REGULATORY ALERT

NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION
1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

DATE: January 2014 LETTER No.: 14-RA-04
TO: Fedrerally Insured Credit Union
SUBJ: Mortgage Servicing Requirements from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
ENCL:

ACTION:           Compliance Required as of January 10, 2014

Dear Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer:

If your credit union services mortgage loans, you must comply with CFPB’s new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (REPSA) Mortgage Servicing rule for certain mortgage loans.1   The RESPA Mortgage Servicing rule addresses:
 
  1. Force-placed insurance; 
  2. Error resolution and information requests;
  3. General servicing policies, procedures, and requirements;
  4. Early intervention with delinquent members;
  5. Continuity of contact with delinquent members; and
  6. Loss mitigation.
Small servicers are exempt from only certain parts of the rule, as discussed throughout this letter.  Your credit union is a small servicer if you, together with any affiliates, service 5,000 or fewer mortgages, and you (or an affiliate) are the creditor or assignee for all of them.2  
 
Specifically, small servicers are exempt from the:
 
  • Prohibition on purchasing force-placed insurance, where a servicer could continue the member’s existing hazard insurance coverage by advancing funds to escrow, under certain circumstances when the cost of force-placed insurance is less than the cost of advancing for hazard insurance;
  • General servicing policies, procedures, and requirements provision;
  • Early intervention provision; and
  • Majority of the loss mitigation provision.

However, small servicers must comply with:

  • Most of the force-placed insurance provision,
  • The error resolution and information requests provision; and
  • Two sections of the loss mitigation provision: a) Small servicers must not make the first notice or filing for foreclosure unless a member’s mortgage is more than 120 days delinquent; and b) Small servicers must not proceed to foreclosure judgment if the member is performing under the terms of a loss mitigation agreement.
Additional mortgage servicing requirements may apply under the new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) Mortgage Servicing rule issued by CFPB.3   The requirements of the TILA mortgage servicing rule are addressed in a separate NCUA Regulatory Alert 14-RA-03.
 
Background
 
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) amended RESPA, which is implemented by Regulation X, to require disclosures for force-placed insurance.  The Dodd-Frank Act also required servicers to take action to correct certain errors asserted by consumers and to respond to requests for certain information from consumers regarding their mortgages.  CFPB adopted a rule to implement these Dodd-Frank Act provisions and issue additional mortgage servicing requirements, including designating personnel to assist delinquent consumers and contact consumers soon after delinquency to consider loss mitigation options. 
 
Concurrent with the RESPA Mortgage Servicing rule, CFPB also issued a final rule amending TILA, which is implemented by Regulation Z, and provided companion mortgage servicing rules.  CFPB Bulletin 2013-12 clarifies the interplay between the servicing rules, bankruptcy law, and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).4
 
If your credit union is a creditor, assignee, or servicer of mortgages, you should be familiar with the mortgage servicing rules under both Regulation X and Regulation Z to determine whether the rules apply to the loans you service, and if so, your compliance obligations under the rules.
 
How Does a Credit Union Qualify for the Small Servicer Exemption?
 
Your credit union is considered a small servicer under both the TILA and RESPA Mortgage Servicing rules if:
 
  • Together with any affiliates, you service 5,000 or fewer mortgages, and you (or an affiliate) are the creditor or assignee for all of them.5
An affiliate is defined as any company that controls your credit union, is controlled by your credit union, or is under common control with your credit union.6   For example, a credit union service organization (CUSO) that is owned by a credit union is considered an affiliate.
 
If you service any mortgages you (or an affiliate) did not originate or do not own, you do not qualify as a small servicer, even if you service 5,000 or fewer loans overall.  For example, if you service 2,000 loans—1,999 of which you own or originated and one of which you neither own nor originated but for which you own the servicing rights—you do not qualify as a small servicer because you service a loan for which you (or an affiliate) are not the creditor or assignee.7 
 
To determine if you are a small servicer, count “mortgage loans” only.  A mortgage loan is a closed-end consumer credit transaction secured by a dwelling.  Do not include reverse mortgages, timeshare plans, or loans you voluntarily service for a creditor or an assignee that is not an affiliate and for which you do not receive any compensation or fees.
 
The small servicer exemption is determined each calendar year based on the loans you and your affiliates service as of January 1 for the remainder of the year. 
 
You can lose the small servicer exemption if you:

 
  • Service more than 5,000 loans; or
  • Take on the servicing of a loan you do not own or did not originate.
If you lose the exemption, you have six months from the date you stopped being a small servicer or until the next January 1 (whichever is later) to comply with the RESPA/TILA mortgage servicing requirements from which you were exempt as a small servicer.
 
I. Force-Placed Insurance
 
The REPSA Mortgage Servicing rule prohibits servicers from charging a borrower for force-placed insurance coverage unless the servicer has a reasonable basis to believe the borrower failed to maintain hazard insurance, as required by the loan agreement, and has provided required notices.
 
Which Loans are Covered by the Rule’s Force-Placed Insurance Provision?8
 
The force-placed insurance provision applies to most types of mortgages secured by a first or subordinate lien on residential real property, including a refinancing, upon which there is a principal dwelling for one to four families, including individual condominium or cooperative units or a manufactured home.9  
 
Also, small servicers, as defined above, are generally exempted from the force-placed insurance escrow provisions of the RESPA Mortgage Servicing rule.  A small servicer may purchase force-placed insurance for a member with an escrow account whose mortgage obligation is more than 30 days overdue, if the cost of the force-placed insurance to the member is less than the amount the small servicer would need to disburse from the member’s escrow account to pay the member’s hazard insurance premium.10
 
Servicers that are debt collectors under the FDCPA to whom a member has sent a written request to cease communication must still send the disclosures regarding the forced placement of hazard insurance.
 
What are the Requirements?
 
“Force-placed insurance” is hazard insurance the servicer obtains on behalf of the owner or assignee.11 
 
The rule limits the use of force-placed insurance.12  
 
You must:
  • Have a reasonable basis to believe a member has failed to maintain required hazard insurance before charging for force-placed insurance;
  • Send two notices to the member and not have received, in response to the notices, evidence that the member had the required hazard insurance in place continuously before you charge for force-placed insurance;
  • Cancel force-placed insurance within 15 days of receiving evidence the member has the required hazard insurance in place and refund to the member any fees or charges for periods of overlapping coverage.
Force-placed insurance charges imposed by a servicer on a member, beyond those subject to state regulation as insurance charges, must be bona fide and reasonable.13   Also, before each anniversary of your purchase of force-placed insurance, you must deliver or place in the mail to the member a written notice explaining the renewal and requesting the member provide evidence of having purchased hazard insurance on the property. 
 
The notices to members must have the content and format specified in the rule and demonstrated in the rule’s model and sample forms.  Proper use of the forms will comply with both the content and format requirements of the rule.  Both the rule and enclosed CFPB Mortgage Servicing Small Entity Compliance Guide describe in detail the required timing and delivery for notices and acceptable evidence you may request from members showing they maintained continuous hazard insurance coverage.
 
Additional force-placed rules apply for members with escrow accounts.15   If a member has an escrow account for the payment of hazard insurance, you may not obtain force-placed insurance, unless you are unable to maintain the member’s existing hazard insurance coverage.  You are not considered unable to maintain the member’s hazard insurance just because a member’s mortgage obligation is overdue or the escrow account has insufficient funds.  Therefore, generally, you will have to advance funds through escrow to maintain coverage.  You can add this cost to the escrow balance or otherwise seek reimbursement from the member for the funds you advance. 
 
You are considered unable to maintain the member’s hazard insurance, and may therefore obtain force-placed insurance in accordance with the general rules rather than advance funds through escrow, if you have a reasonable basis to believe either the hazard insurance provider has canceled the policy for reasons other than non-payment or the property is vacant.
 
II. Error Resolution and Information Requests
 
Servicers are required to meet procedural requirements for responding to written information requests or complaints of errors.
 
Which Loans are Covered by the Error Resolution and Information Requests Provision?16
 
The error resolution and information requests provision applies to most types of mortgages secured by a first or subordinate lien on residential real property, including a refinancing, upon which there is a principal dwelling for one to four families, including individual condominium or cooperative units or a manufactured home.17
 
All servicers must comply with the error resolution and information requests provision.
 
Servicers that are debt collectors under the FDCPA to whom a member has sent a written cease communication request must still comply with the error resolution and information request provision, unless the member specifically withdraws the request for the error resolution or information.18
 
Which Types of Errors and Information Requests are Covered?
 
The error resolution and information request provision applies generally to any written notice from the member asserting certain specified errors and including the name of the member, information to enable you to identify the member’s mortgage loan account, and the error the member believes has occurred.19 
 
The rule applies to over 10 types of potential errors including:20 
 
  • Failing to apply an accepted payment to principal, interest, escrow, or other charges under the terms of the mortgage and applicable law;
  • Imposing a fee or charge you lack a reasonable basis to impose upon the member (such as a late fee for a payment that was not late or a charge you imposed for a service not provided); and
  • Any other error relating to the servicing of a member’s mortgage.

Both the rule and enclosed Compliance Guide describe in detail the types of errors covered by the rule.21

What are the Requirements?
 
The error resolution and information request provision establishes requirements for responding to written information requests and complaints of errors.22   You must follow these requirements for complaints asserting specific errors, as well as any errors relating to servicing, and when responding to requests for information regarding servicing a member’s mortgage.
 
In general, when a member sends a written request to resolve an error or to send information about their account, you must:
 
  • Within 5 days, acknowledge the request for information or notice of error.
  • Within 30 to 45 days, correct the error and provide the member written notification of the correction, or conduct an investigation and provide the member written notification that no error occurred.
  • Within 30 to 45 days, provide the information or conduct a reasonable search for the requested information and provide the member with a written notification explaining why the information is not available.
Some information requests and error resolution types require a shorter response time, such as requests for contact information for the owner or assignee of a mortgage and allegations of errors related to a payoff statement or foreclosure proceedings.  All of the timing requirements exclude legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Both the rule and Compliance Guide describe in detail the required procedures and timelines for responding to notices of errors and information requests.
 
You may set up an address for members to use to submit their notices of errors and requests for information, as long as you provide them with a written notice of the address.  The notice shall include a statement that the member must use the established address to assert an error or request information.  If you designate a specific address for receiving a notice of error, you must use the same address for receiving information requests.  Before you change the designated address, you must send a written notice to the member.  You must post the designated address on any websites you maintain that contain your contact address.
 
III. General Servicing Policies, Procedures, and Requirements
 
Servicers are required to establish policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve objectives specified in the rule.
 
Which Loans are Covered by the General Servicing Policies, Procedures, and Requirements Provision?24
 
The general servicing provision applies to mortgages secured by a first or subordinate lien on residential real property, including a refinancing, upon which there is a principal dwelling for one to four families, including individual condominium or cooperative units or a manufactured home.25 
 
Small servicers are exempt from the general servicing policies, procedures, and requirements provision. 
 
What are the Requirements?
 
The general servicing provision requires you to establish policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve the following five objectives:26 
 
  • Accessing and providing timely and accurate information;
  • Properly evaluating loss mitigation applications;
  • Facilitating oversight of, and compliance by, service providers;
  • Facilitating transfer of information during servicing transfers; and 
  • Informing members of written error resolution and information request procedures.
The rule and Compliance Guide provide several examples of policies and procedures, that if properly implemented will help you achieve these objectives.  You may determine the best policies, procedures, and methods for your credit union or affiliate so long as they are reasonably designed to achieve the objectives set forth in the general servicing policies, procedures, and requirements provisions of the RESPA and TILA Mortgage Servicing rules. 
 
You have flexibility to set policies, procedures, and methods in light of the size, nature, and scope of your operations – including, for example, the volume and aggregate unpaid principal balance of the mortgages you service, the credit quality (including the default risk) of the mortgages you service, and your history of member complaints.
 
In addition, the rule sets specific requirements and standards for:
 
  • Record retention;27  and
  • Servicing file creation.28
You must retain records that document your actions with respect to a member’s mortgage loan account until one year after the date you discharged the mortgage or transferred servicing.  This does not mean you must keep actual paper copies of documents.  You may retain the records using any method that accurately reproduces them (including computer programs) and ensures you can easily access the records (including a contractual right to access records possessed by another entity).
 
As for the servicing file requirements, for each mortgage you service, you must maintain the following documents and data in a way that allows you to compile them into a servicing file within five days:
 
  • A schedule of all transactions credited or debited to the mortgage loan account, including escrow and suspense accounts;
  • A copy of the security instrument establishing the lien securing the mortgage;
  • Any notes your personnel create reflecting communications with the member  about the mortgage loan account;
  • To the extent applicable, a report of the data fields your electronic system creates related to the member’s mortgage loan account, such as the terms of the member’s mortgage, the occurrence of automated or manual collection calls, loss mitigation evaluation information, owner or assignee information, or any credit reporting history; and
  • Copies of documents and information a member submits as part of loss mitigation or error resolution requests.
The 5-day compilation requirement does not confer upon a member an independent right to access information contained in the servicing file.  When members file a written request for their servicing file, you must give them a copy of the information contained in their servicing file, subject to the procedures and limitations set forth in the information request provisions of the REPSA Mortgage Servicing rule as detailed earlier in this Regulatory Alert.
 
IV. Early Intervention with Delinquent Members
 
Servicers must establish or make good-faith efforts to establish live contact with borrowers by the 36th day of their delinquency and promptly inform such borrowers, where appropriate, that loss mitigation options may be available.
 
Which Loans are Covered by the Early Intervention with Delinquent Members Provision?
 
The early intervention with delinquent members provision applies to the same loans as described in section III of this Regulatory Alert, as well as any loan that is secured by a property that is not a member’s principal residence.29
 
Small servicers are exempt from the early intervention with delinquent members provision.
 
Servicers are also exempt from the early intervention contact requirements while a member is a debtor in bankruptcy, or if the servicer is a debt collector under the FDCPA to whom the member has sent a written cease communication request.30  
 
What are the Requirements?
 
The early intervention provision requires that you must, at a minimum:31
 
  • Establish or make a good-faith effort to establish live contact with a member by the 36th day of delinquency and, if appropriate to their situation, promptly inform them of loss mitigation options that may be available; and
  • Provide the member with written information about any available loss mitigation options by the 45th day of delinquency.
The rule contains model language servicers may use for the written notice.  For purposes of the rule, delinquency begins on the day a payment sufficient to cover principal, interest and, if applicable, escrow for a given billing cycle is due and unpaid.  Thus, for each billing cycle for which a member is delinquent for at least 36 days, you must make a good-faith effort to establish live contact by the 36th day and, if appropriate, inform the member about the availability of loss mitigation options.32  
 
Live contact with a member includes telephoning or conducting an in-person meeting with the member, but does not include leaving a recorded phone message.  You may, but need not, rely on live contact established at the member’s initiative to satisfy the live contact requirement of this rule.  The rule is designed to give you significant flexibility in tailoring your contact methods to particular circumstances.  A good-faith effort to establish live contact consists of reasonable steps under the circumstances to reach a member and may include telephoning the member on more than one occasion, or sending the member a written or electronic communication encouraging the member to establish live contact with you.
 
The early intervention provision requires you to promptly provide loss mitigation information when appropriate.  You have reasonable discretion to determine whether informing a member about the availability of loss mitigation options is appropriate under particular circumstances which you may establish after making live contact with the member.  The Compliance Guide contains examples demonstrating when a servicer has reasonably determined providing information about loss mitigation options is appropriate.
 
You may provide loss mitigation information orally, in writing, or through electronic communication, as long as you share the information promptly after you establish live contact.33    
 
You may satisfy the requirements of the loss mitigation options promptly after establishing live contact by providing the member with the written notice found in Appendix MS-4 of the rule.
 
By the 45th day of delinquency, you must provide delinquent members a written notice about loss mitigation options.34   You must provide the written notice even if you provided information about loss mitigation and foreclosure previously during an oral communication with the member, as discussed above.  The notice must be clear and conspicuous, and include:
 
  • A statement encouraging the member to contact you; 
  • The telephone number for the personnel assigned to the member; 
  • Your mailing address;
  • A statement providing a brief description of examples of loss mitigation options that may be available, if applicable;
  • Application instructions or information for loss mitigation options, if applicable;
  • The website to access either CFPB’s list or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) list of homeownership counselors and organizations with toll-free telephone numbers; and
  • Other information you deem helpful or which may be required by applicable law or the owner or assignee of the mortgage.
Appendix MS-4 provides model language you can use in your loss mitigation notice.
 
V. Continuity of Contact with Delinquent Members
 
Servicers are required to maintain reasonable policies and procedures to provide delinquent borrowers with access to personnel to assist them with loss mitigation options where applicable.
 
What Loans are Covered by the Continuity of Contact with Delinquent Members Provision?
 
The continuity of contact with delinquent members provision applies to the same loans as described in section III of this Regulatory Alert.35
 
Small servicers are exempt from the continuity of contact with delinquent members provision.
 
If you do not meet the standards for the small servicer exemption, note that in addition to the general scope and coverage of the rule, the continuity of contact with delinquent members provision only applies to the member’s principal residence.
 
What are the Requirements?
 
The rule requires that you to design policies and procedures to ensure, among other things, that:36
 
  • You assign personnel to a delinquent member by the time you send the written notice required by the early intervention requirements, but in any event, by the 45th day of the member’s delinquency;
  • A member can reach the assigned personnel by phone and that such personnel can respond to member inquiries and, as applicable, help them pursue loss mitigation options, including by advising them about the status of any loss mitigation application and applicable timelines;
  • Your personnel retrieve, in a timely manner, the complete record of the member’s payment history and all of the written information a member provides in connection with a loss mitigation application and, when appropriate, provide such information to other persons responsible for evaluating a member for available loss mitigation options; and
  • Your personnel provide a timely live response to a member who calls and has to leave a message when the member cannot reach a live person.

It is up to you to decide whether to assign a single person or a team of personnel to respond to a delinquent member.  Personnel assigned to delinquent members must provide them with accurate information about:

  • The specific loss mitigation options made available to them by the owner or assignee;
  • How to submit a complete loss mitigation application, get it evaluated, and, if applicable, how to appeal an application that is denied;
  • The status of a member’s submitted loss mitigation application;
  • The circumstances under which you may refer members to foreclosure;
  • Loss mitigation deadlines set by the loan’s owner or assignee or the provisions of the RESPA and TILA Mortgage Servicing rules; and
  • How to submit a written notice of error or information request (described in section II of this Regulatory Alert).
Your policies and procedures must be designed to ensure that personnel remain available until the member has made, without incurring a late charge, two consecutive mortgage payments in accordance with the terms of a permanent loss mitigation agreement or the mortgage.  If a member re-defaults after making two payments, the clock resets and personnel must be available by the time you send the written notice required by the early intervention requirements – but in any event, by the 45th day of the member’s delinquency.
 
VI. Loss Mitigation
 
Servicers are required to follow specified loss mitigation procedures for a mortgage secured by a borrower’s principal residence.
 
What Loans are Covered by the Loss Mitigation Provision?
 
The loss mitigation provision applies to the same loans as described in section III of this Regulatory Alert.37
 
Small servicers are exempt from the majority of the loss mitigation requirements.  However, two prohibitions apply to small servicers.  Small servicers must not:
 
  • Make the first notice or filing required to foreclose unless a member’s mortgage obligation is more than 120 days delinquent; and
  • Move for foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or conduct a foreclosure sale, if a member is performing pursuant to the terms of a loss mitigation agreement.
Note that in addition to the general scope and coverage of the rule, the loss mitigation provision only applies to the member’s principal residence.
 
Servicers that are debt collectors under the FDCPA to whom a member has sent a written cease communication request must still comply with the loss mitigation provision, unless the member specifically withdraws the request for loss mitigation.
 
What are the Requirements?
 
The loss mitigation provision generally requires you to:38
 
  • Work with a member to complete timely applications for loss mitigation options;
  • Evaluate completed loss mitigation applications within 30 days for all loss mitigation options available to the applicant;
  • For complete and timely applications, inform a member of whether the servicer will offer a loss mitigation option and, if the member is denied a loan modification option, of the actual reasons for the denial;
  • Evaluate timely appeals submitted by eligible members.  The appeals must be reviewed by independent personnel – not the same personnel who initially evaluated the loss mitigation application; and
  • Refrain from beginning or completing the foreclosure process in certain circumstances, as set forth below, when a member is being evaluated for loss mitigation options as required under the rule.
When you receive a loss mitigation application 45 days or more before a foreclosure sale is scheduled, or at any time when no foreclosure sale has been scheduled, you must:
 
  • Acknowledge receipt of the application;
  • Inform the member whether the application is complete or incomplete; and 
  • Inform the member of any documents or information necessary to complete the application.
The rule has specific requirements and timelines for acknowledging loss mitigation applications, exercising reasonable diligence to make incomplete applications complete, and correcting applications.  The Compliance Guide also contains several implementation tips for these requirements.
 
If you receive a complete loss mitigation application 37 days or more before a scheduled foreclosure sale, or at any time when no foreclosure sale has been scheduled, in general you must:
 
  • Evaluate the complete loss mitigation application within 30 days for all available loss mitigation options; and
  • Notify the member in writing about the result of your evaluation, and include: 
    • Your determination of the particular loss mitigation options available to the member; or
    • Specifics about why an application for a loan modification option was denied; along with 
    • Information about any applicable appeal process (discussed below). 
The rule allows you to offer a member a short-term payment forbearance of no more than six months based on an evaluation of an incomplete loss mitigation application.39   The rule’s requirements for evaluating loss mitigation applicants also apply to when servicing of the loan is transferred.
 
Under the rule, how much time you must give a member to respond to loss mitigation offers depends on the proximity of a foreclosure sale:
 
  • When a member submits a complete or facially complete loss mitigation application 90 days or more before a scheduled foreclosure sale (or at a time when no foreclosure sale is scheduled), you must give the member 14 days to accept or reject a loss mitigation offer.
  • When a member submits a complete or facially complete loss mitigation application less than 90 days but more than 37 days before a scheduled foreclosure sale, you must give the member 7 days or more to accept or reject a loss mitigation offer.
If the member doesn’t respond within the 7-day or 14-day deadline, you can deem your loss mitigation offer as rejected, except in cases where:
 
  • The member does not satisfy your requirements for accepting a trial loan modification plan, but does submit the payments the trial plan calls for within the required deadline.  In such cases, you must give the member a reasonable period to fulfill any remaining requirements; or
  • An appeal is available and the member timely appeals your decision.  In such cases, you must extend the deadline for accepting any loss mitigation option you offered until 14 days after you provide the notice concerning how the appeal was resolved.
You must allow members to appeal your decision regarding loan modifications40 when you receive a complete or facially complete loss mitigation application during the pre-foreclosure review period (before a servicer has made the first notice or filing to begin the foreclosure process) or 90 days or more before a scheduled foreclosure sale (or at a date when no foreclosure sale is scheduled). 
 
The appeal must include an independent evaluation – which means you cannot use the same personnel who evaluated the application to review the appeal.  Supervisors can review appeals so long as they were not directly involved in the initial evaluation of the member’s completed loss mitigation application. 
 
Within 30 days of a member making an appeal, you must notify the member of your decision to offer or reject the loan modification option subject to the appeal.  You must give the member at least 14 days to accept or reject an offer of a loss mitigation option resulting from your independent evaluation, after providing this notice to the member.
 
The rule restricts dual tracking, which involves a servicer moving forward with foreclosure while simultaneously working with the member to avoid foreclosure.  You cannot make the first notice or filing for any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process until a member is more than 120 days delinquent.41
 
If a member has submitted a complete or facially complete loss mitigation application before you have begun the foreclosure process, you may not begin the foreclosure process until one of the following occurs:
a) In the case of a complete application:
1. You send the member a notice that the member is not eligible for any loss mitigation options, and the member has exhausted the appeal process;
2. The member rejects all loss mitigation options you offer; or
3. The member fails to perform under an agreement on a loss mitigation option.
b) If a member submits a complete loss mitigation application after you have made the first notice or filing for the foreclosure process but more than 37 days42 before a scheduled foreclosure sale (or at a time when no sale has been scheduled), you must not move for foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or conduct a foreclosure sale, until one of the following occurs:

1. You send the member a notice that the member is not eligible for any loss mitigation, and the member has exhausted the appeal process;
2. The member rejects all loss mitigation options you offer; or
3. The member fails to perform under an agreement on a loss mitigation option.
c) In the case of facially complete application, under the rule, you must seek to complete the application and give the member a reasonable amount of time to provide the materials necessary to complete the application.  In addition, you may not make the first notice or filing for a foreclosure process or otherwise refer the member to foreclosure until the member has had a reasonable amount of time to provide the documents or information.
 
What Other Resources are Available?
 
In addition to the referenced enclosures on the title page of this document, other resources are available.
 
 
CFPB resources to help you understand the RESPA Mortgage Servicing rule information about proposed and subsequent adjustments to the rule,43   and compliance materials can be found on the CFPB’s Mortgage Rules at a Glance Chart.
 
If you have questions, please contact NCUA’s Office of Consumer Protection at (703) 518-1140 or ComplianceMail@ncua.gov, or contact your regional office or state supervisory authority.

 

​Sincerely,

/s/
 
Debbie Matz
Chairman

 

Enclosures

1  78 FR 10695 (Feb. 14, 2013) as amended by 78 FR 44685 (Jul. 24, 2013), 78 FR 60381 (Oct.1, 2013), and 78 FR 62993 (Oct. 23, 2013) (Interim Final Rule).
2  Housing finance agencies are also exempted from certain parts of the rule.  12 CFR § 1026.41(e)(4)(ii).
3  78 FR 10901 (Feb. 14, 2013), as amended by 78 FR 44685 (July 24, 2013), 78 FR 60381 (Oct.1 2013), and 78 FR 62993 (Oct. 23, 2013) (Interim Final Rule).
4  http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201310_cfpb_mortgage-servicing_bulletin.pdf.
5 Any mortgages you or your affiliates obtain as part of a merger or acquisition, or as part of the acquisition of all of the assets or liabilities of a branch office of a creditor, count as loans for which you (or an affiliate) are the creditor or assignee. 
6  12 CFR § 1026.32(b)(5).  Also, an affiliate of a federal credit union is a credit union service organization (CUSO) that is wholly or majority owned by the federal credit union.  An affiliate of a state-chartered credit union is a company that is controlled by the credit union.  See 12 CFR § 1016.3.
7  12 CFR § 1026.41(e)(4)(ii), Comment 41(e)(4)(ii)-2.ii).
CFPB 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide section 7.II (November 27, 2013).
9  The force-placed insurance provision does not apply to:

• A loan on property of 25 acres or more;
• Business purpose loans;
• Temporary financings (such as construction loans);
• Any loan secured by vacant or unimproved property;
• An assumption without lender approval;
• Loan conversions;
• Secondary market transactions; and
• Open-end lines of credit.

10  12 CFR § 1024.17(k)(5)(ii).
11  12 CFR § 1024.37(a)(1)). 
12  12 CFR § 1024.37.  The following types of insurance do not constitute “force-placed insurance”:
13  12 CFR § 1024.37(h).
14  12 CFR § 1024.37(e).
15  12 CFR § 1024.17(k)(5).
16  CFPB 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide section 8.II (November 27, 2013).
17  The error resolution and information requests provision does not apply to:

 A loan on property of 25 acres or more;
• Business purpose loans;
• Temporary financings (such as construction loans);
• Any loan secured by vacant or unimproved property;
• An assumption without lender approval;
• Loan conversions;
• Secondary market transactions; and
• Open-end lines of credit (such as home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)).

18  CFPB Bulletin 2013-12 (October 15, 2013).
19  12 CFR § 1024.35(b).  A notice on a payment coupon or other payment form is not considered a notice of error or an information request.
20  12 CFR § 1024.35(a).
21  The rule does not cover potential errors relating to originating, underwriting, subsequent selling or securitizing, or determining to sell, assign or transfer the servicing of a mortgage.  The rule does not require you to provide documents constituting confidential, proprietary, or privileged information.  The rule and Compliance Guide provide guidance on the appropriate handling of duplicative, overbroad, or untimely notices of error or information requests.  You generally may not charge fees for responding to notices of errors or information requests, and you may not require a member to make any payment owed to you as a condition for providing a response.  You may, however, charge a fee for certain limited types of information, such as payoff statements.  Also, these provisions do not alter or otherwise affect the member’s obligation to make the payments owed.
22  12 CFR §§ 1024.35, .36 and .41.
23  12 CFR §§ 1024.35(c), .36(b).
24  CFPB 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide section 9.II (November 27, 2013).
25  The general servicing provision does not apply to:

• A loan on property of 25 acres or more;
• Business purpose loans;
• Temporary financings (such as construction loans);
• Any loan secured by vacant or unimproved property;
• An assumption without lender approval;
• Loan conversions;
• Secondary market transactions;
• Open-end lines of credit (such as HELOCs);
• Small servicers under the TILA Mortgage Servicing rule;
• Reverse mortgage transactions; and
• Mortgages for which the servicer is a qualified lender under the Farm Credit Act of 1971.

26   12 CFR § 1024.38(b).
27  12 CFR § 1024.38(c)(1).
28  12 CFR § 1024.38(c)(2).
29  CFPB 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide section 10.II (November 27, 2013).
30  You will have to resume early intervention contact if the bankruptcy case is dismissed or closed, or if the member receives a discharge.  However, you do not have to communicate regarding any portion of the mortgage debt that is discharged.  If the bankruptcy case is revived, you are again no longer required to comply with the early intervention contact requirements.
31  12 CFR § 1024.39.
32  To calculate the 36 days, start with the day a payment sufficient to cover principal, interest, and, if applicable, escrow for a given billing cycle is due and unpaid, even if you give the member a grace period after the payment is due before you assess a late fee.  For example, if a payment due date is March 1 and the amount due is not fully paid during the 36-day period after March 1, you must establish or make a good-faith effort to establish live contact not later than 36 days after March 1 – meaning by April 6.  A member who is performing as agreed under a loss mitigation option designed to become current on a previously missed payment is not delinquent for the purposes of this provision.  Thus, for such a member, you are not required to engage in early intervention actions.
33  You do not need to notify a member about any particular loss mitigation options or use any particular criteria to evaluate a member for loss mitigation.  The rule does not entitle a member to receive an evaluation for, or an offer of, any particular loss mitigation option.  Rather, you need only inform the member generally that loss mitigation options may be available.
34  You are not required to provide the written notice more than once during any 180-day period.
35  CFPB 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide section 11.II (November 27, 2013).
36  12 CFR § 1024.40.
37  CFPB 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Final Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide section 12.II (November 27, 2013).
38  12 CFR § 1024.41.
39  A short-term payment forbearance program is when you allow a member to forgo making certain payments or portions of payments for no more than six months.  Such a program would be considered a short-term payment forbearance regardless of the amount of time you allow the member to make up the missing payments.  However, you remain subject to the other requirements under the loss mitigation rules, including conducting an initial review of the application for completeness.
40  The appeal process is limited to denying a loan modification program.  An appeals process is not required for other loss mitigation programs.
41  Beginning the foreclosure process means making the first notice or filing required by applicable law for any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process under certain circumstances.  Whether a document is considered the first notice or filing is determined on the basis of foreclosure procedures under the applicable state law.
42  You are not required to comply with the loss mitigation requirements of this rule when a member submits a completed loss mitigation application 37 days or less before a scheduled foreclosure sale.  However, a member may file a private right of action if you fail to follow the loss mitigation timelines and procedures required by the rule.
43  The original final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2013.  Adjustments and clarifications to the rule were published on July 24, 2013, October 1, 2013, and October 23, 2013.