Business Purpose Loans – Update

Yesterday the Governor of Florida signed House Bill 935 and this affects Mortgage Loan Originators, especially those operating without licenses under the theory that the loans they produce are all business purpose loans.

The bill revises ch. 494, F.S., governing non-depository loan originators, mortgage brokers, and mortgage lender businesses subject to regulation by the Office of Financial Regulation to provide greater consumer protections. The bill provides that it is unlawful for any person to misrepresent a residential mortgage loan as a business purpose loan, and defines the term, “business purpose loan.” Further, the bill provides a definition of the term “hold himself or herself out to the public as being in the mortgage lending business,” as that term currently exists under two licensing exemption provisions. These current exemptions permit an individual investor to make or acquire a mortgage loan with his or her own funds, or to sell such mortgage loan, without being licensed as a mortgage lender, so long as the individual does not “hold himself or herself out to the public as being in the mortgage lending business.”
The bill was in response to alleged unlicensed mortgage lending activity in South Florida. According to these reports, some lending entities were providing residential loans with usurious interest rates and high fees made under the guise of business purpose loans in order to avoid licensure and disclosure requirements under ch. 494, F.S., as a mortgage lender.

These groups also claim that some of these unscrupulous lenders would not make the “residential loan” unless the borrower formed a limited liability company.
These provisions take effect July 1, 2019.

 

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

http://www.lockelaw.us

 

Private Lending and Licensing – Round Two.

The Florida legislature kicked off its legislative session by introducing Florida Senate Bill 894 and House Bill 935, legislation that could cover private mortgage lenders. The bills, introduced by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Miami) and Rep. Jeanette Nunes (R-Miami), would eliminate a longstanding business purpose exemption for loans secured by a Dwelling.

 

On January 18, the bill passed the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee with a 13-1 vote in favor. On January 24, the House Commerce Committee passed the bill on a unanimous vote. The Senate similarly passed the bill on a unanimous vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee on January 23. The bills are expected to move through the Florida legislature and have strong bipartisan support.

 

An almost identical bill previously passed through the legislature in May 2017, but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Scott in June. 

 

Florida has been one of the more interesting states from a mortgage licensing perspective. For example, a mortgage lender license is already necessary to make a business purpose loan secured by commercial real estate and 5-or-more unit multifamily residential property if the borrower or guarantor is an individual, or if the lender is considered a non-institutional investor.

 

If the bills become law, they would empower the state Office of Financial Regulation to regulate mortgage loans made for business purposes, require brokers of these loans to be licensed, and allow examination of firms offering or making private loans.

If this is signed into law, it means more audit activity and means that if you are a private lender making business purpose loans, you better call us and let us get you into shape before the regulators start enforcement activity. We will keep you posted. 

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA and Locke Law US

http://www.lockelaw.us

(800) 656-4584

 

What you need to know about the Dodd-Frank rewrite that is currently underway.

Not much. The rewrite does some good things for the Banking Industry but……not too much for you and I.

The bill doesn’t go nearly as far as some Republicans would like to go in gutting the 2010 law. For example, it doesn’t make big changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When it refers to smaller lenders, it looks like it is making reference to FDIC participants.

The CFPB has also made it clear it is engaging the state regulators more now than ever.

Don’t drop your guard or relax your focus on compliance. We have come so far. Let’s not go backwards.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

(800) 656-4584

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

Warning about UDAAP

Today, the CFPB again advised State Attorneys General (which means State Agencies as well) that the CFPB is monitoring how the states decide to undertake or not undertake enforcement action. Read this narrative taken from their site.

“Mr. Mulvaney stated that a significant, although not determinative, factor in the CFPB’s decision to initiate an enforcement action in a particular case will be whether state AGs or regulators are also considering whether to take enforcement action. He stated that if state AGs “are not bringing an action we are looking at, I’m going to want to know why.” More specifically, he would want to know whether the state’s reason is lack of resources or other factors unrelated to the merits of an action or whether it is that the state AG or regulator thinks the conduct in question is not illegal.”

In addition to various federal consumer protection statutes that give direct enforcement authority to state AGs or regulators, Section 1042 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act authorizes state AGs and regulators to bring civil actions to enforce the provisions of the CFPA, most notably its prohibition of unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

That’s the part that deserves your attention. The UDAAP provisions are broad by design and can be used to commence enforcement action for almost any reason.

Deceptive Acts or Practices
A representation, omission, actor practice is deceptive when
(1) The representation, omission, act, or practice misleads or is likely to mislead the consumer;
(2) The consumer’s interpretation of the representation, omission, act, or practice is reasonable under the circumstances; and
(3) The misleading representation, omission, act, or practice is material.

And some real or imagined consumer harm occurs as the result of the deceptive act or practice.

If a regulator sees or hears something that triggers their radar, they will examine your website and social media. Then your customer complaint log. Then the complete nature of your record keeping. Then they will interview you and measure your response.

Just be aware, folks – knowledge and training can reduce this risk greatly.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq. (800) 656-4584