This morning we spent about an hour investigating an article recently published discussing rapid rescore where the consumer is disputing accuracy, and the issue of passing the fee along to the client.
There has been much discussion on this issue. Some feel that if the initial Loan estimate included an amount in anticipation of a rapid rescore, it might be acceptable to pass the cost on to the consumer. Others feel that 15 USC 1681i(a)(1)(A) is to be interpreted exactly as written which says clearly “free of charge” and then does not recite an exception. So it means – “free of charge” to the consumer. That leaves the credit bureau and your CRA open to charge your mortgage company. It can’t go to the consumer. Here is the exact language. Which seems to apply specifically to where a consumer is disputing accuracy.
§1681i. Procedure in case of disputed accuracy
(a) Reinvestigations of disputed information
(1) Reinvestigation required
(A) In general
Subject to subsection (f), if the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in a consumer’s file at a consumer reporting agency is disputed by the consumer and the consumer notifies the agency directly, or indirectly through a reseller, of such dispute, the agency shall, free of charge, conduct a reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate and record the current status of the disputed information, or delete the item from the file in accordance with paragraph (5), before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the agency receives the notice of the dispute from the consumer or reseller.
So here is your best business practice. You cannot charge the consumer for rapid rescore and must absorb the cost yourself. Also, because of the CFPB comp rules we don’t see how you can ding the MLO for this cost.
The current regulatory trend is not to add new regulations. Thus existing regulations like the FCRA are being enforced more regularly. If your practice was to charge the consumer for a rapid rescore involving disputed accuracy by the consumer, and even if you brokered the loan and the lender allowed the fee on the Closing Disclosure – you could have problems during an audit or if a consumer complains. Govern yourself accordingly.
Nelson A. Locke, Esq.
Compliance Services USA