ATR means Ability to Repay. I have been preaching about this for some time. I have seen a trend in the courts to require ATR regardless of what type of loan, or what type of borrower, or even, what type of lender.
Most lenders in the conventional or government arena require proof of ATR in order to confirm the mortgage is QM. And, they tell you how to calculate the number.
What about the weird loans we make where there is no guidance from anyone regarding the source of funds relied on to repay the loan? One thing is certain. The legal trend is that no matter what kind of loan to whatever type of person or entity, a formula for determining the ATR is necessary on almost all loans.
That’s when YOU have to rely on yourself. Because whether the lender wants to see it or not, you need to have it. Without ATR, you could find yourself defending a regulator assertion that you are a predatory lender.
Here’s my guidance, where guidance is lacking from your lender of choice.
In those cases where there is no set guidance for Ability to Repay, you must use your common sense and a formula that shows adequate assets and cash flow to support a total DTI of no higher than 50%. That maximum back end is defensible in the event of a lawsuit or a regulator challenge. If assets are the principal source of the ATR, then they MUST be highly liquid. You have to confirm that is the case.
Any questions? Give us a call. If you need a new compliance firm, we are presently offering a special package. Let us hear from you.
August 13th, 2020
From a West Coast Auditor – but applicable to ALL states. Common violations found in last three months.
Mortgage Call Report – There continue to be late filers, and the numbers reported continue to show inaccuracies. Licensees should assign this reporting to someone who is detail oriented, and have a second person review the call report before filing.
Loan Officer Compensation Plans – Examiners are seeing compensation plans that pay the loan originator a percentage of the broker compensation, which is a term of the loan and not allowed by Regulation Z. Loan officers are allowed to be paid a percentage of the loan amount. Brokers may receive varying compensation levels with their respective wholesale lenders. Paying the loan originator a percentage of compensation provides an incentive to steer borrowers to the wholesale lender paying the most broker compensation. In many cases the lender paying the highest compensation will not be the most advantageous lender for the borrower. Mortgage Brokers have a fiduciary relationship with the borrower which means you must act in the best interests of the borrower.
One violation that is not common appeared during the second quarter – providing falsified borrower disclosures to the Department. Not providing a required disclosure is a violation but will not, in and of itself, lead to enforcement actions, unless there is a history of repeat violations.
Providing a falsified document is a serious violation that undermines the foundation of a licensees’ ability to conduct business (see RCW 19.146.005). This violation is always referred to enforcement. It may cause fines and penalties and even lead to license revocation.
Any questions? Call us at (800) 656-4584
Nelson A. Locke, Esq
August 4th, 2020
|Boulder Man Pleads Guilty To Nearly $32 Million Bank Fraud Scheme
DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced today that Michael Scott Leslie, age 57, of Boulder, Colorado, pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges. Leslie appeared remotely on a $50,000 unsecured bond, which was continued at the hearing’s conclusion. The Denver office of the FBI, and the Offices of the Inspector General for both the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) joined in today’s announcement.
According to the stipulated facts contained in Leslie’s plea agreement, Leslie owned, operated, or otherwise had an interest in several business entities, some of which were operated out of Colorado. These entities were involved in or affiliated with financing or originating residential mortgage loans. Through these business entities, Leslie sold residential mortgage loans to investors, including an FDIC-insured bank in Texas (“the victim bank”).
Between October 2015 and October 2017, Leslie devised and executed a scheme to defraud the victim bank by selling it 144 fraudulent residential mortgage loans valued at $31,908,806.88. These loans were purportedly originated by one of Leslie’s companies, Montage Mortgage, and “closed” by Snowberry, which earned fees for the closing. The loans were then presented and sold to the victim bank until Montage identified a final investor. For these 144 fraudulent loans, that final investor was Mortgage Capital Management (MCM).
Leslie never disclosed to the victim bank that he operated MCM and Snowberry, or the fact that sales to investor MCM, even if they had been real, were not arms-length transactions.
The 144 residential mortgage loans sold to the victim bank were not, in fact, real loans. The borrowers listed on these 144 fraudulent loans were real individuals, but they had no idea that their identities had been used as part of the sale of the fraudulent loans. The defendant had access to their personal identifying information in one of two primary ways: (1) the borrowers had used Montage for legitimate residential real estate transactions which were properly executed and closed, or (2) the borrowers had been solicited by Montage about refinancing their existing loans. In the case of refinance transactions, Montage secured permission from the borrowers to request credit scores and history from the major credit agencies. After receipt of those credit scores, Montage often told these would-be refinance borrowers that they did not qualify for a refinance. Leslie then recycled the borrowers’ information, obtained through prior legitimate transactions or attempted refinances, to create and sell nearly $32 million of fraudulent loan packages.
To execute this scheme, Leslie forged signatures on closing documents and fabricated and altered credit reports as well as title documents, often by using the names of legitimate companies. The fraudulent real estate transactions were never filed with the respective counties in which the properties were located, there were no closings, and no liens were ever recorded. Through numerous bank accounts for the various business entities and his personal accounts, the defendant used money in a Ponzi-like fashion from prior fraudulent loans sold to the victim bank to fund future fraudulent loans. This complex flow of money continued until the defendant’s fraud was detected. When the fraud was discovered, the victim bank still had 12 fraudulent loans, valued at $3,887,505.93, on its books that it could not, given that the loans did not exist, sell to any other legitimate third-party investor.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer presided over the change of plea hearing today, July 31, 2020. Leslie was first charged by information on June 5, 2020. This case was investigated by the Denver office of the FBI, and the Offices of the Inspector General for both the Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hetal J. Doshi and Jeremy Sibert.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. Related court documents can be found on PACER by searching for Case Number 20-cr-171.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
I have nothing to say here. Incredible.
Nelson A. Locke, Esq.
August 4th, 2020
With the help of a good friend we have assembled a “Return to Work” package that includes the following items.
- A customer notification of the risks of COVID and its effect on business.
- An employee assumption of risk and waiver of liability upon returning to the office.
- A CDC handout on COVID symptoms.
- A CDC handout on social distancing and the use of masks.
- A CDC handout suitable for use as a door sign about masks required.
- A CDC handout about how to prevent the spread of COVID.
This is available to all present clients at no charge.
If you are not a client, and want this or our COVID SPIKE Plan regarding working at home and precautions regarding non-public information, email us at email@example.com and I will get back to you. The cost is reasonable.
Nelson A. Locke, Esq.
Compliance Services USA