Regarding Broker and Lender Quality Control Efforts…….

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) just fined Guaranteed Rate $15 million dollars for knowingly violating best quality control practices as related to FHA and VA loans in particular. Please note, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, and the USDA are all very similar to FHA and VA requirements.

The DOJ alleged that Guaranteed Rate knowingly failed to comply with program rules that require lenders to maintain quality control programs to prevent and correct any deficiencies in underwriting, self-report any materially deficient loans they identify, and ensure that there are no conflicts of interest in the underwriting process.

As part of the settlement, Guaranteed Rate admitted that it had not adhered to self-reporting requirements, that its FHA underwriters received commissions and gifts – a violation of program rules – and that its government underwriters were sometimes instructed not to review documents that were relevant to their underwriting decisions.

The lender also admitted that it certified loans that weren’t eligible for FHA mortgage insurance or VA guarantees, and that HUD and the VA would not have guaranteed or insured those loans otherwise.

We see this all the time. Lender tells underwriter to look away, then loan goes bad, lender tries to put it back to broker. We also see processors paid when loans fund, not for processing whether loans fund or not. To pay only when loans fund, is to create a conflict of interest such as referenced above.

If any of you have questions, reach out to me at nl@lockelaw.us

That’s it for now. Stay safe.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

(800) 656-4584

BE AWARE OF THIS……

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) this morning announced that it is approving the purchase of certain single-family mortgages in forbearance that meet specific eligibility criteria by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“We are focused on keeping the mortgage market working for current and future homeowners during these challenging times,” said Director Mark Calabria. “Purchases of these previously ineligible loans will help provide liquidity to mortgage markets and allow originators to keep lending.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some borrowers have sought payment forbearance shortly after closing on their single-family loan and before the lender could deliver the mortgage loan to the GSEs. Mortgage loans either in forbearance or delinquent are ineligible for delivery under GSE requirements. However, today’s action lifts that restriction for a limited period of time and only for mortgages meeting certain eligibility criteria.

As always, email us with questions.

nl@lockelaw.us

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

800-656-4584

Have you completed your 2018 your continuing education yet? You are running out of time.

We recommend Jim Montrym and Andrea Worthington of the Mortgage Broker School.

You can reach them at (800) 735-8565, or use their web site which is :

http://www.brokerschool.com/ :category/industry-partners-processing-compliance/ 

I have used their services personally for the last 15 years. Always good, never bad. Don’t wait until the last minute, space is limited. thw8s1030z

If you use them for your CE please tell us because it could be a helpful bit of information in the event you are audited.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

States where current Audit Activity is high.

 

Hello folks, here comes December!

Is your required annual training for AML and GLB done and certified? If not, give us a call.

In the past six weeks we have assisted in responding to at least 15 state or CFPB Audits.

We have successfully negotiated the lifting of three suspensions and successfully negotiated reduced fines for violations an average of 50%.

 

Audit satsifactoryIf you need that kind of Compliance Expertise in your corner,

email us at nl@lockelaw.us

Current Active Audit States

  • Florida

  • Texas

  • Washington

  • Oregon

  • North Carolina

  • Michigan

  • Virginia

  • New York

For more information, contact us at (800) 656-4584.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq

Compliance Services, USA

 

Florida OFR Audit Alert

August 12th, 2018

This is a special alert for my clients.

In the last ten days five clients have received audit letters from the OFR. All five clients had NOT been audited in 8 to 10 years. One had not been audited in 20 years.

It appears to me as if the OFR is on a “catch up” campaign. This means we know of three confirmed danger areas for an OFR audit.

  1. If you are a new company with a new NMLS number, you will be audited in the first 18-24 months. Perhaps, sooner. 

  2. If it has been at least 7 years since your last audit, get ready. Use the checklist in Compliance Book Three to see how prepared you feel. Then let me know.

  3. If you have had a consumer complaint that you failed to respond to, you can expect a visit. 

But the big shocker is you old timers. Many of you may have been feeling complacent. That is not good.

Let’s pull out the checklist and be sure you feel aware and prepared. 

We are now offering a two session “MOCK AUDIT” for companies who want to go the extra mile to be sure they are prepared. If you have interest, email me and let me know so we can get you scheduled.

There is a cost of $1,000 for this service. It will save you many times that much in potential fines. We have proof. 

That’s it for now.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

DODD FRANK REFORM BILL WEBINAR

Hi there.

The title says it all.

I will review the Dodd Frank Reform Bill as it affects Mortgage Brokers and Correspondent Lenders.

The webinar is free to subscribers, and will start promptly at 3:30 eastern time on Tuesday, June 26th.

To attend, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/223553717

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (646) 749-3122
Access Code: 223-553-717

I might have some attachments for you if time allows, but in any case we can have a good discussion about how the DF Reforms might (or might not) affect you and your business.

See you there.

 

Nelson A. Locke, Esq

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

 

DODD FRANK REFORM BILL WEBINAR

Hi there.

The title says it all.

I will review the Dodd Frank Reform Bill as it affects Mortgage Brokers and Correspondent Lenders.

The webinar is free to subscribers, and will start promptly at 3:30 eastern time on Tuesday, June 26th.

To attend, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/223553717

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (646) 749-3122
Access Code: 223-553-717

I might have some attachments for you if time allows, but in any case we can have a good discussion about how the DF Reforms might (or might not) affect you and your business.

See you there.

 

Nelson A. Locke, Esq

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

 

Rule Change regarding use of a CD to reset tolerances.

Under the TRID rule, a Loan Estimate is the disclosure primarily used to reset tolerances. Because the final revised Loan Estimate must be received by the consumer no later than four business days before consummation, the Commentary to the TRID rule includes a provision under which a creditor may use a Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances if “there are less than four business days between the time” a revised Loan Estimate would need to be provided and consummation. Because of the four-business-day timing element, in various cases when a creditor learns of a change, the creditor is not able to use a Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances. This situation is what the industry termed the “black hole.” The industry repeatedly asked the CFPB to address the black hole issue.

In the final rule the CFPB removes the four business day timing element, and makes clear that either an initial or a revised Closing Disclosure can be used to reset tolerances.

Consistent with the requirements for the Loan Estimate, when the TRID rule permits a creditor to use a Closing Disclosure to revise expenses, the creditor must provide the Closing Disclosure within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish that a changed circumstance or other event triggering a change has occurred.

We are happy to answer any questions, just email us at nl@lockelaw.us

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA 

(800) 656-4584

 

Template for Occupancy Fraud Affidavit

Recently I have encountered several situations where borrowers just flat out lied about their intent to occupy the subject property as their principal residence. The brokers were caught without sufficient evidence in their files that they properly verified the intent to the best of their ability. Thus, this affidavit was born. It covers both those who state their intention as owner occupied, and those who state their intention as non-owner occupied. If you put this on your letterhead and have it executed at closing it would be hard for a fraudulent minded borrower to point the finger back at you.

If this has happened to you and you need my help, contact me at nl@lockelaw.us

That’s it for now.

Here is the form. It is designed as a crystal clear WARNING.

“Do you intend to occupy this property as your principal residence?” or “Do you intend for this property to be non-owner occupied?”

These questions, indicated by check boxes on most mortgage loan applications, might seem straightforward. But if you misrepresent your intention, it is a crime known in real estate lingo as “occupancy fraud.”

Occupancy fraud occurs when a borrower says he or she plans to live in a home, all the while knowing the property will be rented out.  The key here is to note “all the while”. People can change their minds, but they will need to show compelling evidence that at the time they applied, closed, and funded the deal they absolutely intended for the property to be either their residence or a non-owner occupied investment property. 

Sometimes people change their mind after the fact.  That’s less serious than someone intentionally deceiving the lender by providing information indicating they are either going to occupy or not when they truly have the opposite  intention.

But it still maybe seen as an unintentional misrepresentation and give rise to a claim for damages by the lender that relied on the borrower’s statement about occupancy or investment use.

Most lenders’ loan documents define owner occupancy as a period of at least one year, but mortgage lenders have flexibility in their guidelines. If you intend to occupy a home, but move out within less than 12 months, you should notify the lender in writing and keep a copy of your letter.

Lenders perceive an owner-occupied transaction to be a safer credit risk than non owner occupied.

ONE LIE on a loan application may trigger a full-blown fraud investigation, and  you’ll be facing HUGE negative consequences if you get caught. IT IS A FELONY. But it gets worse. Lying on a mortgage loan application is so serious it can also be considered Money Laundering. ANOTHER FELONY. And then, there is the usual conspiracy charge. THREE FELONIES.

Technically, the mortgage lender could call your loan due and payable, raise your interest rate and payment, or foreclose on your loan.  Whatever does or doesn’t happen will be solely at the lender’s discretion.

The lender could file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) into the federal government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a centralized database that financial institutions use to report possible instances of fraud to law enforcement authorities. SARs could become a problem if you make a misrepresentation or outright false statement on a loan application and later want to move to another home or refinance your mortgage.

Understood, this _________ day of ________, 2018;

 

____________________________________            ___________________________________

Borrower                                                         Co-Borrower

 

___________________________________

Witness

 

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(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

 

 

 

Rapid Rescores and Extra Cost

confused

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

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

(800) 656-4584

 

 

 

Updated HMDA Guidance

The FFIEC, the Agency primarily responsible for informing us about the new changes to Regulation C – the “Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975”, has issued a new manual to assist us in understanding what our reporting responsibilities are.

Unfortunately, this simple bit of guidance is over 300 pages long. You can save a copy by clicking on this link – 2018guide.

I am curious, would you all like me to set up a webinar to discuss this in more detail? If so, please reply here. There might be a small fee, depends on the number of responses.

DELETE MY NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW AND INSERT YOUR OWN. THEN PRESS SUBMIT.

 

Good luck with the reading assignment.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

http://www.lockelaw.us

 

Don’t be foolish about the status of the CFPB.

Hi folks.

There are a couple of eccentric mortgage folks out there who publish video blogs that announced today (with great glee) that RESPA is dead. Looked like a comedy skit.

Please do not believe this sensationalism. What is going on right now at the CFPB is a leadership issue, and I think it is resolving itself in the favor of the White House. That means we will likely see a more conservative approach to adding new and aggressive tactics to the present CFPB platform. It does NOT mean the CFPB is without teeth. It does NOT mean everything the CFPB has put in place is going to be dismantled. It does NOT mean RESPA is “dead”.

Do NOT make that mistake.

Video blogs that celebrate the end of regulation are irresponsible and demonstrate why we found ourselves in this regulation situation  in the first place.

If you have questions, just email me. And please folks, stay classy.

confused

 

“She rated us a 2. Said 1 is the highest.”

We just got this from one of our clients. Our clients can go home early and celebrate! The regulators appreciated the robust nature of our client’s concern for doing things right and protecting the consumer in the process.

Thank you to our client – you know who you are. You guys are the greatest!

LL Logo 112715If the rest of you are nervous I only have two things to say.

  1. If you are our client and have been doing as we ask, these are the types of results you will see. So you need not be fearful. Especially if we are doing your post closing QC as part of the package.
  2. If you are not our client, you probably need to be fearful. Call us at (800) 656-4584 and let’s see what we can do to get you into that safe place.
  3. Finally, audits are in fact increasing.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq

Compliance Services, LLC.

 

 

What is the Uniform Closing Dataset and do I have to file this effective September 25th, 2017?

https://www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/uniform-closing-dataset

The Uniform Closing Dataset Protocol (UCD) is a component of the Uniform Mortgage Data Program® (UMDP®), an ongoing effort by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the direction of our regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to provide a common industry dataset to support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Closing Disclosure.

You as the Broker may be required to file this information. Some Lenders are asking for evidence you filed it as a pre-closing condition while others are doing it for you. You need to be aware of what it is and how to do it, in case you become responsible for the actual submission.

I suggest you contact the lenders that you broker Fannie and Freddie loans with and see what they choose to do. Further, this may affect VA and USDA. I’m not clear on that yet.

Here is a Industry Cheat Sheet for your use. This may help you. https://www.fanniemae.com/content/fact_sheet/ucd-fact-sheet.pdf

As always, contact us via email with any questions, but not until AFTER you have read these links please. The answer may be there.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

 

 

 

 

To advise your clients of the recent Equifax NPI mega-breach……

Here is a letter format you can use as either an email or a printed letter. It might be a good idea to include a copy of this with new loan applications for the next 180 days or so. It might even be a good idea to link your website to the below press release, you could do this on your IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE page.

EQUIFAX CYBERSECURITY INCIDENT

Dear Client,

Equifax announced recently that they had experienced a “cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million US customers.” Because your recent mortgage transaction with us may have involved a credit pull from Equifax, we felt you should read the attached Equifax press release.

https://investor.equifax.com/news-and-events/news/2017/09-07-2017-213000628

Equifax states it has established a dedicated website which can be accessed at this link www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection.

Sincerely,

Your Name, NMLS Number, Address, and Phone.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Thanks for reading.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

List of top five violations that result in fines, suspensions, or revocations.

Paying unlicensed mortgage loan originators or their proxies

  1. Assistants who are acting as licensed MLOs.
  2. Licensed MLOs you sponsor who have you pay their personal, unlicensed LLC or corp.
  3. Licensed MLOs you sponsor who have you pay a third party entity in their name.
  4. Lead Generators who are unlicensed but gather the type of information necessary to originate a loan – beyond mere contact information or public records.
  5. Both the Broker and the MLO are not licensed because they think that as commercial lenders, they are exempt. The problem is the loans they call commercial, are NOT.

Advertising Issues

  1. Ignoring SAFE ACT requirements for proper use of NMLS information.
  2. Ignoring HUD, VA, and USDA  requirements for government disclaimers.
  3. No formal Advertising Book with a log and copies of all advertising
  4. The Broker or Lender thinks his business cards and web sites are not advertising so he never audits them for compliance.
  5. Not supervising your MLOs. You have rogue MLO with their own web sites and social media. You sponsor him, and you are responsible for everything he does. He can cost you your license. You think its not your duty, and it is.
  6. Making NMLS information too hard for a consumer to locate. For example, burying it in the footer, or using 6 point type.
  7. CFPB requirement for the use of the word LOAN after the words REVERSE MORTGAGE (UDAAP).

Mortgage Call Reports that are inaccurate.

  1. The MCA does not match the Broker’s Loan Journal.
  2. The MCA is late or incomplete.

Lack of Evidence of continuity in your Compliance Efforts

  1. Failure to update.
  2. Failure to miss required annual training.
  3. Loan File Audits revealing substantial number of missing documents – no evidence of a complete file.

Making loans on 1-4 family residences without proper disclosures.

  1. The loan is masquerading as a commercial loan. The “LLC” scam.
  2. The package is missing minimal GFE and Closing Statement Requirements.
  3. The Broker fails to do any type of qualifying.

A SPECIAL NOTE about Advertising and Maintenance of Advertising Records: We continue to see small brokers and lenders making mistakes resulting in large fines, suspensions, or revocation. If this happens to you, it can be outside of a regular audit. The different agencies, both state and federal, have staff assigned to watch what happens in print and electronic media form.

You could run an ad, post a flyer, set up a Facebook page, add your name to Linked In ……….. and if you failed to follow DF or the Safe Act requirements, BOOM.

So the first thing I wanted to say is our staff is trained to review client advertising in all forms before it goes live. Just send it via email and wait for our response.

The second thing is to insure you have a proper Advertising Log Book with samples and a dated log.  Do you?

All of this is part of our Compliance Program. It is built into our fee so you are encouraged to take advantage of us.

Any Questions? Call us at (800) 656-4584.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

 

Electronic File Storage – things to consider.

Auditor Auditee 022015

I got a call today from a great client of mine who asked about the things to think about when moving to electronic file storage.

Electronic file storage trips about four switches in my mind. I thought this was a really good question, so here is what I recommend.

 

  1. Be aware that anytime you convert to file storage that is “off site”, most state regulators require you to advise them in writing of where you are sending the files, and what security precautions you are taking to insure we don’t expose our clients to identity theft or other financial crimes. This means write your regulator BEFORE you move to the cloud. Give them the internet service provider you are using and what security practices the provider has in place, such as firewalls, secure transmission protocols; etc. Then if you are a client of ours, file that letter in Book One behind your records retention policy. Easy to find when the regulator comes knocking.
  2. Unless you own the cloud, have your cloud provider return an NDA and Confidentiality Agreement to your company per the guidelines of Gramm Leach Bliley.  You can find a blank NDA in Book One. Keep it in your cloud provider records folder to show you took your records “safeguarding” seriously.
  3. If you use a service that offers to pick up your files, scan for you, and then shred, I have two thoughts.  FIRST – Have the file split into two sections, Section A for internal processing notes and comments that might be irrelevant (or harmful) to an audit – and Section B for the actual loan documents stacked top down from closing all the way to inception. SECOND – Have the service provide you with a certificate of safe handling when you allow them to shred your files after they scan them.

Helpful? Give us a call about anything regulatory. We always have time for new clients. Tons of references. Hope to hear from you soon.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

(800) 656-4584

http:/www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

An update on potential CFPB changes……

Hi folks, please be sure to read all the way to the bottom to see my comment.

Hot off the CFPB presses:

Dovetailing with President Trump’s recent Executive Order requiring a reduction in regulatory burden, on March 21, 2017, a CFPB official remarked at the American Bankers Association Government Relations Summit that the CFPB was planning to start its review of significant mortgage regulations, including the ability to repay/qualified mortgage rule.

The Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFPB to use available evidence and data to assess all of its rules five years after they go into effect to ensure they are meeting the purposes and objectives of Dodd-Frank, and the specific goals of the subject rule.  January 2018 will mark five years since the ability to repay/ qualified mortgage rule was finalized, as well as other key mortgage regulations, in January 2013.

Citing this requirement and “common sense,” Chris D’Angelo, Associate Director of the CFPB’s Division of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending, said that the CFPB is “embarking upon now the beginning of an assessment process for our major mortgage rules.” D’Angelo said that the CFPB would assess these rules’ “real-world effects” on the market, as well as “whether it had the effect which was intended, what the costs were, .”

D’Angelo noted that the CFPB was still receiving complaints related to the mortgage servicing industry despite the existence of these rules, and that most of the problems were due to “the third-party service providers and the folks who develop your technology solutions.”  He also stated that incentive compensation practices would be considered but noted that “We know that you need those in order to manage larger organizations and how you drive your employees.”

Given Presidential pressure to reduce regulatory burdens and the fact that the CFPB’s mortgage rules have been criticized by financial industry participants and consumer advocates alike, the CFPB review of the key mortgage rules warrants close attention.

So what does this say? My interpretation is that they are planning on waiting until at least next year, probably after January, to issue a report supporting what they have done to us since 2013. It is in their best interest to write a persuasive report and show the best possible results. Many of you out there think this agency will disappear or be weakened by the Administration. I am asking you to be concerned about the exact opposite. Now, more than ever you better keep your compliance guard up. After we enter 2018 and actually read their findings I could make a better prediction. No matter what you hear, there is no crystal ball you can use to predict how this will go.

We recently changed our program a bit to provide free web and social media audits and free Safe Act certifications. Further, we have expanded our “repurchase defense” practice and it is working very well. Let us hear from you, and see how we can be of service.

(800) 656-4584

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services USA

CLICK HERE to view Web Site

CLICK HERE to send email and request more information

Some good Q&A for you Mortgage Brokers to read…….

Q: Can an Alta Settlement Statement REPLACE the use of a HUD-1 or a Closing Disclosure?

A: ALTA has developed standardized ALTA Settlement Statements for title insurance and settlement companies to use to itemize all the fees and charges that both the homebuyer and seller must pay during the settlement process of a housing transaction. Settlement statements are currently used in the marketplace in conjunction with the federal HUD-1. The ALTA Settlement Statement is not meant to replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Closing Disclosure, which went into effect on Oct. 3, 2015. Four versions of the ALTA Settlement Statement are available.

Q: Do we need to use a Closing Disclosure for non-agency loans?

A: The final rule applies to most closed-end consumer mortgages.  It does not apply to home equity lines of credit, reverse mortgages, or mortgages secured by a mobile home or by a dwelling that is not attached to real property (in other words, land).  The final rule also does not apply to loans made by a creditor who makes five or fewer mortgages in a year.

Q: Who has to prepare the CD?

A: Under the final rule, the creditor is responsible for delivering the Closing Disclosure form to the consumer, but creditors may use settlement agents to provide the Closing

Disclosure, provided that they comply with the final rule’s requirements for the Closing Disclosure.20  The final rule acknowledges settlement agents’ longstanding involvement in the closing of real estate and mortgage loan transactions, as well as their preparation and delivery of the HUD-1.  The final rule avoids creating uncertainty regarding the role of settlement agents and also leaves sufficient flexibility for creditors and settlement agents to arrive at the most efficient means of preparation and delivery of the Closing Disclosure to consumers.

Q: What about a HECM? Is it a LE or a GFE?

A: Reverse mortgage transactions subject to RESPA.  (1)(i) Time of disclosures.  In a reverse mortgage transaction subject to both § 1026.33 and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) that is secured by the consumer’s dwelling, the creditor shall provide the consumer with good faith estimates of the disclosures required by § 1026.18 and shall deliver or place them in the mail not later than the third business day after the creditor receives the consumer’s written application.

Q: I’m a Mortgage Broker Business. Can I do my own disclosures?

A:  If a mortgage broker receives a consumer’s application, either the creditor or the mortgage broker shall provide a consumer with the disclosures required under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section in accordance with paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section.  If the mortgage broker provides the required disclosures, the mortgage broker shall comply with all relevant requirements of this paragraph (e).  The creditor shall ensure that such disclosures are provided in accordance with all requirements of this paragraph (e).  Disclosures provided by a mortgage broker in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph (e) satisfy the creditor’s obligation under this paragraph (e). If provided by the creditor, copies of the creditor disclosures MUST be kept in the mortgage broker’s files to show an auditor that the rule was complied with.

Q: I only do foreign national loans, am I exempt from TRID?

A: Not if the property is a 1-4 family dwelling and not if the buyer is a human person. There could be some crossover here to commercial lending, but most of what I have seen is probably TRID lending. I have seen a lot of issues here, sham entities.

Q: I only make ten or fewer loans a year with my own money. Do I need a Lender’s License?

A: Probably – YES. And if all you do is create entity after entity to act as your lender, and you own each entity, that is a probable sham and is probably avoiding the licensing rules of Dodd-Frank and your state regulator. Folks, the regulators are smart enough to see though this kind of conduct. If you hold yourself out to lend money, even in as small way as a business card, or using an agent ( a lawyer, a mortgage broker) who brings you borrowers, YOU ARE ACTING AS A LENDER.

I am also attaching an ALTA Training Webinar to the blog. The blog can be found at nltrainingsite. You guys should look at this ALTA Webinar. Very good information.

trid-webinar-82715

Happy Holidays to all! We will be working right up to Friday afternoon, so feel free to call. And we are here next week. Regulators never sleep so we won’t either.

Respectfully,

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Mortgage Industry Compliance Expert

Attorney and Expert Witness

Office (800) 656-4584

Cell (305) 951-2785

http://www.lockelaw.us

http://expertlenderservices.com

 

HMDA Reporting is changing and it looks like it affects Brokers now.

thtljxjl3s

I got a call from a client about changes to HMDA, specifically if these changes affected him as a Broker only. Usually Brokers left this function up to their lenders because the lenders made the credit decision.

There are some new rules going into effect. The new rule eliminated the asset test for lenders. Whereas in the past some lenders may have been excluded from having to file because their assets were smaller, that’s no longer the case. There are some other major changes coming in 2017.

The language I saw said if Lenders made the lending decision on at least 25 loans that closed in the last year then they had to file. This is a significantly lower threshold than the current 2016 level  of 100 closed loans. But then the CFPB chimed in.

The CFPB published a warning sent to 44 “Brokers and Lenders“. The CFPB uses the word “Brokers”. Why did they say “Brokers”?

So here is what I found, the rule the CFPB pointed to does not talk about the lending decision. It specifically mentions originating home purchase loans. This is taken from the CFPB letter.

Annually, a for-profit mortgage-lending institution other than a bank, savings association, or credit union, must collect, record, and report data identified in HMDA and Regulation C to the appropriate Federal agency when: (i) in the preceding calendar year, it either: (A) originated home purchase loans, including refinancings of home purchase loans, that equaled at least 10 percent of its loan-origination volume, measured in dollars; or (B) originated home purchase loans, including refinancings of home purchase loans, that equaled at least $25 million; and (ii) on the preceding December 31, it had a home or branch office in a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); and (iii) it either: (A) on the preceding December 31, had total assets of more than $10 million, counting the assets of any parent corporation; or (B) in the preceding calendar year, originated at least 100 home purchase loans, including refinancings of home purchase loans.  12 C.F.R. §§ 1003.2, 1003.4, 1003.5.

Guys, I think you better crank up your HMDA data collection effective January. You could always argue with the CFPB that all you did was take an application, but the attached agency chart quickly makes that a mute point. 2016-hmda-reporting-criteria-102716

Notice how it says “receive applications, originate, or purchase”? Broad.

I will dig into this a little deeper, but for now, prepare as if you will have to report.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

(800) 656-4584

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what should be on your Compliance Shelf.

Hi Folks,

We get asked a lot what we mean when we talk about the power of the Compliance Shelf. So I decided to tell you and show you a few pictures. These are from clients of ours.

When you are visited by your regulator it goes pretty far if he or she notices a dedicated area for your Compliance Manuals and Notes (the “Compliance Shelf”). The mere existence of this shelf creates an impression that your company takes compliance seriously. So you come out of the audit gate having impressed the regulator with your preparation. That good first impression.

What does a strong Compliance Shelf look like? It has your Audit Policies and Procedures, your MLO Policies and Procedures, your Regulatory Reference Book, an Advertising Log (back two years), a Customer Complaint Log (back two years), and finally, your QC Manual and Audit Report Log, with copies of all audits and management response. Here are two examples – the one on the right was recently audited by Texas and passed.

Books   WP_20160112_001

But please, don’t think for a moment that just making this impression will save your audit from disaster. You need to live by your policies and procedures. You need to know what they mean and you need to put them into practice.

Compliance is not a part time thing. You must form a “habit of compliance”. Every day, every file. That’s how you have good audit results. It has to be your company culture. Your “shelf” is just part of the big picture.

So, what’s on YOUR “Compliance Shelf”?

Want to learn more? Call us at (800) 656-4584. Over and out.

(Thanks to Eddie and Fred for providing us with these outstanding pictures.)

How to lose your Broker’s License

Hi People, We have two things of interest here we think you should read.

The first is a Consent Order from a state regulator.

What I would like you to see is on the bottom of page one and top of page two. Notice how vague items a and f were. Any good regulator could drive a truck through that open door and run right over you. This is public record but I redacted anyway. This likely could have been prevented by having a serious compliance program and actually following the guidance. How about you? Have you used the materials we have provided? Do you have a “Compliance Shelf” both physically and virtually? Actual Books for reference, with desktop links on key computers?

Redacted Final Order for Client Review 011116

That brings me to my second attachment. Congratulations to my client Eddie Lester. This is his Compliance Shelf. I visited his office yesterday and everything was good. Locks on files, posters and necessary policies on the wall, “Tool Kits” printed and ready for use, name and hours on the door, and more. How about you?

WP_20160112_001

If you are clients already let us hear your questions.

If you are not our client yet, what are you waiting for? Wait long enough, and you might end up like the broker that was shut down January 4th.

Pick up that 800 pound phone and call me. (800) 656-4584. Confidentiality will apply, tell me your problems and we will fix them!

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services

Commercial Loans and Private Lenders

Commercial

 

January 2nd, 2016

Because of the aggressive nature of the CFPB audit practice and the predictable fear that it creates among brokers and lenders, some of you have chosen to focus on the commercial niche. The mistaken belief is that by switching to commercial, you avoid the risks associated with RESPA, TRID, and the usual compliance requirements of a mortgage broker or lender. Some of you even think you are exempt from the SAFE Act and can let your licenses lapse.

Folks, don’t do this. You can run from compliance but you can’t hide, and they will get around to you eventually. Even if your business model changes to full commercial lending, you still have a healthy list of rules and regulations you MUST comply with in order to pass an audit. And in 99% of the situations I have investigated a license is required.

I drafted a compilation of some Q&A I searched out. It is informative and can be helpful to you. Download this and read it before you make any decisions about reducing or eliminating your compliance efforts.

Commercial Loans and RESPA TRID FAQ 123115

Thanks for reading, call us at (800) 656-4584 and request information about how to engage Compliance Services. You will be amazed at how easy we will make the process for you. Hundreds of clients  and all of them happy.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq

(800) 656-4584

Foreign Nationals and RESPA TRID

imagesQEAM70RZ

January 2nd 2016,

Yes it is true, I cannot stay away from the office for very long. Good for you, huh.

During the past quarter we were engaged by several mortgage companies that  specialize in loans to Foreign Nationals. they also offer federally related loans, but foreign national loans are a specialty.

So I decided to create a one  page summary of when you need to apply RESPA and TRID, and when you can revert to the old way of using a HUD-1 and maybe a classic GFE.

Foreign National Guidelines 100315

Happy New Year everybody!

Nelson A Locke, Esq.

(800) 656-4584

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

CFPB Identifies four special audit areas for 2016.

Well, folks, I think you all should read the attached. The CFPB went public with its four primary audit areas, beyond the normal ones disclosed in our Books One, Two, and Three.

  1. COMP PLANS, and yes, looking backwards two or three years as well.
  2. TRID, with no grace period.
  3. MSAs, nothing here to be said. They can be done legally, but it takes a lot of work and commitment by all involved to steer clear of RESPA Violations.
  4. ATR – yes, that pesky part of your QM Policy in Book One. They will evaluate your use of some form of proper ATR test.

No where did they mention exempting anyone from these four areas. No special favors for private money lenders who lend against 1-4 family etc. So, please read the attached.

We still have time to get you set up for the end of this year. Where compliance is involved, sooner is better. Later is foolish. You can reach us at  (800) 656-4584 and we will get to work right away!

CFPB Agenda for 2016 120915

(800) 656-4584 or nl@lockelaw.us

http://www.expertlenderservices.com

 

 

Ready for year-end certification?

certified

If your Compliance Program is older than 2014, is what you would consider marginal, or is made up of cut-and-paste, you need to take this last opportunity before 2015 ends to get a fully compliant program into motion.

As you renew your NMLS licenses your Company’s financial reports require you to certify that your compliance program is up to date and remain a priority of management.

If you are still unsure of what is frequently audited, we have developed an audit checklist for your use.  Our checklist is current as of November. Some states have expanded on it but this is what we could consider to be a safe minimum amount of preparation.

We recently expanded staff and can guarantee that any new client who contacts us this week will have the tools to be compliant by the Holidays.

Please let us hear from you. You don’t have to keep worrying about this and you don’t have to suffer the results of a bad audit.

To receive a copy of our Audit Checklist, CLICK HERE.

To call us, dial (800) 656-4584 anytime. Thanks.

More on QM/ATR and Investment/Commercial Loans

Hello all,

One of my valued clients asked me about the applicability of the Qualified Mortgage Rule and the Ability to Repay Rule ……did they apply to loans securing investment or commercial properties. Apparently there are some attorneys and compliance people out there who think they do. As a mortgage guy, I think they do not.

It was a great question and something I think you all should read. Even though many of you do not work in the commercial or investment property arena, you must know the rules. Because a deal might come through your door and you want to handle it correctly.

This question demonstrated how complex things have become. Here we have one question where the answer involves careful study of QM, ATR, RESPA and TILA.

Keep Calm and ask questions! If you are not my client, you probably should be. I still have a few openings.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Transactions Covered by QM and ATR Rules

QM and ATR rules apply to the following:

  • Purchase and refinance transactions secured by owner-occupied and second homes.

QM and ATR rules do not apply to the following:

  • Investment property*

NOTE:   Investment properties that are for business purposes are exempt from QM rules.

If the borrower occupies any investment property for > 14 days in any given year the investment property is no longer considered for business purposes only and would be subject to QM and ATR rules.

Additionally, there can be no evidence that the borrower purchased/refinanced the investment property for personal rather than business reasons (e.g. property purchased for a family member).

This statement is derived from the ABA Opinion http://www.americanbar.org/publications/blt/2013/04/02_shatz.html published in part below.  The author is well known and reliable.

Ability-to-Repay Rule

The Ability-to-Repay Rule, Regulation Z Section 1026.43, requires that a creditor make a “reasonable and good faith determination at or before consummation that the consumer will have a reasonable ability to repay the loan according to its terms.” The creditor must follow underwriting requirements and verify the information by using reasonably relied upon third-party records. The rule applies to all residential mortgages including purchase loans, refinances, home equity loans, first liens, and subordinate liens. In short, if the creditor is making a loan secured by a principal residence, second or vacation home, condominium, or mobile or manufactured home, the creditor must verify the borrowers’ ability to repay the loan. The section does not apply to commercial or business loans, even if secured by a personal dwelling. It also does not apply to loans for timeshares, reverse mortgages, loan modifications, and temporary bridge loans.

Any questions, call me at (800) 656-4584

Hard Money Business Purpose Loans against Principal Residences

This is “risky business”. While there are exceptions in Reg Z that will allow you to make this kind of loan and stay outside of HOEPA and non-qualified mortgage areas, it is by no means crystal clear that this is something you should happily do again and again.

Here’s the issue. The Dodd Frank Act and the subsequent CFPB rules and interpretations are pretty crystal clear in their primary intent, to protect a borrower’s principal residence, his homestead. I don’t think any of us would argue that point, after all it is called the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

This is a classic situation of ambiguity. If you take Reg Z’s exception at face value, you might end up OK. The operative word is “might”.

You can protect yourself and improve your chances of surviving a regulator challenge to this type of loan by following this simple procedure.

  • Require the borrower to sign an affidavit at application, acknowledging that they intend for this loan to be for a proper business purpose, and that none of the proceeds will be used for anything other than that.
  • Then, at your closing, have them execute the same disclosure again, this time with a notary present.
  • If you retain these two documents in your files, and the customer’s business fails, and he then says that you steered him into putting his residence at risk, you have an argument.

It may be persuasive enough to keep you out of trouble.

If you just make the loan, and rely on the exception, it may imply you really did not investigate and thus failed some duty of care.

Look, like some of my policies I offer you, this is an optional one. But no one ever failed an audit for being too concerned with protecting consumers. That is exactly what this policy does.

If you want to learn more, call me at the number below. If you are not my client, perhaps you should think about it.

That’s it for now.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Expert

(800) 656-4584

Do you advertise HUD or FHA products?

If you originate HUD loans (FHA) you should post this disclosure on your web site and your marketing materials.

Back in the day, this really was not an issue. Now with the CFPB it is an issue. Think of it from the consumer protection perspective. False or misleading advertising. Misleading is a big word, loose interpretation.

Things have certainly changed. For example, there used to be two HUD logos that existed. One was solid white, the other had a blue ring around it. The blue one was allowed for lenders to use, to announce their approval by HUD and FHA. The white one was for HUD or FHA use only. If only things were still that simple. However, even then, with only two choices of logos, most of us still got this one wrong and used the white one in marketing. The blue one was correct.

Hud or FHA would see the white logo and then call, probably order us to take down the white one, and we would change to the blue one. That does not happen anymore. I would recommend you NOT use either one.

So what can you do? If you want to stay out of trouble with HUD or FHA and avoid any perception that you are claiming to be affiliated with HUD, or have some sort of real or imaginary approval from HUD beyond that of your DE status, post this on your marketing materials.

“These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency. The Sender is not in any way affiliated with any organization listed or referenced within this website, including HUD/FHA. The inclusion of various education, information, web links, or materials are not an endorsement of the Sender or any of its employees or business partners. For information directly from HUD/FHA, visit http://www.hudclips.com

Feel free to cut and paste this on to the bottom of the first page of your marketing material and web site.

Anyone have any questions about anything? Just email me, hit reply and let me help you!

Is your compliance consultant licensed? If you need a license, shouldn’t they?

Audit satsifactory

When a mortgage broker or mini-correspondent is making the important decision to retain a compliance firm one of the most important things they should consider is size. In this case, big is not always better and here’s why.

We hear from around 50 mortgage brokers and mini-correspondents a week. Many are already clients of our compliance audit prep and defense practice – calling with a question. The rest, well, they are fishing for the answer to how to best protect themselves as they realize how far out of compliance they actually are.

Some are impressed with large national firms that run full page advertising in trade papers. As they swoon over the large ad they fail to notice that the company employees non-attorney staff that are not trained to reason their way through all these regulations and understand the true meaning of the regs. That’s not us; I am an attorney with special training  regarding the CFPB, HUD, and the APA. Acting as your compliance advisor we will help you reason your way through regulations.

Sometimes the mortgage broker or mini-correspondent fails to ask if the compliance consultant has ever actually been a mortgage broker. And most of them have not. Ask if the consultant has an NMLS license. WE do. I originate loans and hold several NMLS licenses. This means when we work with our mortgage brokers and mini-correspondents we understand the process and how to integrate regulations with reality.

Integrating regulations with reality. Does that sound good to you? Further, would you like working with someone who is available quickly via email or phone to guide you at those critical decision moments? That’s us.

Call today, let’s get together and get you compliant before you find yourself holding that audit letter and wondering what you will do in your next career. Just sayin………

(800) 557-6580

More Changes for Brokers and Lenders – no longer exempt?

It now appears that after a five year period of uncertainty and an appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, Mortgage loan officers are now entitled to a 40-hour work week and overtime pay. The U.S. Supreme Court has now ruled that the Department of Labor was within its rights when it chose to reclassify loan officers as non-exempt employees who are eligible for overtime.

scalesOfJustice

In ruling on the appeal, Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the Supreme Court concluded the Department of Labor did not violate the Administrative Procedures Act when it made the change to the loan officer rule. It justified the decision by concluding that the agency was not held to the APA when issuing an interpretive rule. There were three dissenting opinions, predictably from conservative justices.

The suit, which was championed by the MBA, caused the MBA to report it was “disappointed” by the decision, but is ready to move forward and help its members work within the confines of the rule.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

Let’s just start by saying, this is not going to be negotiable. It’s a Supreme Court Decision, it’s over. Thus, I really don’t know where to start. That’s because I still fight with brokers and lenders at least once a week who still think W-2 or 1099 is an option for their employees.

Now we have to tackle the idea of time sheets? How are you going to get them to comply? And can your cash flow handle this? And if you set up some form of sham pay plan, are you ready for the inevitable FLSA claim as soon as someone gets angry with you? I’ve been there and it is not a good place to visit.

Further, this is a “top five” source of fines resulting from an audit.

There are options. This is what I do. If you need to talk about options to comply with this change and not go broke, call me at (800) 656-4584. And open your mind, because no matter what you do, it will be change. Over and out.

An Audit Horror Story, will your audit sound like this one?

Fear Name Tag

Last month I was contacted by a very frightened Mortgage Banker, a small shop with about seven employees doing Agency loans.

This woman tried her hardest to always do the right thing but made three big mistakes that I believe will cause her to lose her license. It was avoidable. I got to thinking; is this YOUR story? So I will share just enough of the story  that you can ask yourself that very important question. IS THIS YOUR STORY? Here’s part of what happened.

1. The Banker accepted assurances from staff that compliance and quality control were up to par. They weren’t. Staff gave the quick answer, because they were employees not owners and not invested in the need to tell the complete truth.

2. The Banker’s Company did not have any kind of written customer complaint policy in place. Then a consumer had a “bad experience” and complained to an Agency. When the regulator showed up unannounced to investigate the complaint, which is what they do; a presumption of non-compliance was created when no customer complaint policy was found to be in effect.

3. Once staff became sufficiently frightened by the regulator’s presence staff engaged in “self help” after the fact and tried to “fix” the problem file. They thought no one was looking. Well someone was. A regulator was looking. Now we also had a presumption of dishonesty. This is the one that will always result in the worst possible scenario for the Banker. The presumption is the attitude came from the top. That’s you, right?

Fearful

This Banker will likely lose her company’s  Lender Approval, and may even lose her personal MLO license. All of this was avoidable. How?

An honest assessment NOW about how good your program really is. Just because you spent a lot of money, does not mean your compliance program is good. It just means you may have paid too much.

Consider the use of an outside Compliance Expert to examine what YOU do and tell you if it is sufficient to keep you in that “presumption of compliance” zone.

Train your staff; tell them the consequences of conduct such as what I have described here.

Keep an eye on them.

Consider appointing your outside QC person as Agency liaison. This keeps the contact professional and does not disrupt staff where they get to the point of fear.

This is what I do. Call me at (800) 557-6580 and ask for help.

Do you offer Reverse Mortgages?

cropped-senior-money-matters1.jpg

Usually, because of the unique nature of the product and the ever-changing regulations, you should consider having a compliance expert who has actually originated these loans.  In my experience, those traditional forward loan compliance people miss many of the nuances of the HECM program, leaving you to pay the fine. Maybe you need to think about that?

I have personally originated or supervised or underwritten over 3,000 HECMs. I am a DE Underwriter, licensed attorney, and Compliance Expert.

Don’t take a chance that your forward “guy” will actually know the differences. Protect yourself. Call me today.  (800) 557-6580

Take a look here.

“I just got an audit letter. What should I do now?”

Auditor Auditee 022015

When that dreaded audit letter shows up most brokers and lenders instinctively reach out to the regulator and try to start a dialog about his audit objectives. Is this a good thing? I will give you my opinion at the bottom of this post.

It’s always good to know why you were selected for an audit. There are three ways you are usually selected. First way: you have a customer complaint hanging in the wind and the regulator wants to investigate to determine the merit of the complaint and how robust your business practices are, or are not. Second, in the absence of a consumer complaint, an audit could be triggered by a suspicious activity report. A suspicious activity report (“SAR”) can be filed by any qualified industry participant who feels there is probable cause that you or your company may be doing something improper. “May” is the big word here, because this process gets very subjective. It is supposed to be taken seriously but I have seen it used improperly by parties who think that filing SARS makes them somehow look more compliant or concerned with proper operations. Finally, you can be selected randomly for an audit.

So here’s the deal. One way or the other, the auditors are likely coming. Let’s hope you are selected randomly. A random audit will follow the agency audit checklists and will be more friendly and personable.

However, if there was a SAR filed – and there is really no such thing as a “wrongful SAR” because the government impliedly encourages reporting which means literally  anyone wanting to impress their boss can recommend a SAR – you will be affected by the filing for years and approached with suspicion. If you think a SAR triggered your audit, be careful how you respond to the regulator. In fact, it is smart to have your attorney respond for you.

Now, if the audit was triggered by a consumer complaint you can usually tell pretty quickly. It is revealed by the auditor if asked. Your response should be to show you have a good CFPB compliant consumer complaint policy with a designated executive and a proper log book. This will show the auditor how your consumer complaints are handled and what the resolution was. This builds credibility.

However here is my best advice. For any audit notice call your outside compliance specialist right away. Appoint them your CFPB or AGENCY liaison. Let them do the “asking” for you.

By the way, I do this. Call me today. Before you find yourself in trouble. (800) 557-6580

So, can you talk amongst yourselves about what happened during your audit? You will be shocked at this opinion.

th

This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) notified mortgage lenders on how to treat confidential information related to the agency’s examination practices.

Under the CFPB’s regulations, reference is made to CSI. CSI may include any work papers or other documentation that CFPB examiners have prepared in the course of an examination. Any CFPB supervisory actions, such as memoranda of understanding between the CFPB and an institution and related submissions and correspondence, are also considered as confidential information.

Even if firms have signed private confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that restrict the sharing of certain information with a regulator, the NDAA may very well be considered voidable and superseded by CFPB regulation.  The Bureau has authority over certain non-bank financial companies such as mortgage lenders and servicers, payday lenders, private student lenders, as well as large debt collectors, consumer reporting agencies, student loan servicers and international remittance providers.

So this bulletin addresses the work papers prepared by the auditor or regulator as they work their way through your records. What I think it means, is that even if you have a confidentiality agreement with a party, federal rules supersede that agreement and you are NOT allowed to discuss the confidential work papers of the auditors who examined you. So if there is a practice out there of sharing “audit stories” it may now become a violation to talk amongst yourselves about certain aspects of audits.

Unless of course a lawyer-client or other qualified privilege exist. Such as psychiatrist, pastor, spouse; etc.

Sounds a bit like shock and awe tactics. Not sure; maybe I have misread it. One things for sure, with all the complexity of the CFPB you will need a psychiatrist, and you already need a good lawyer.  The six page bulletin is available here.

“I have compliance manuals I created a long time ago, they were good back then, why change?”

Here are why you should take a good hard look at your existing Compliance Manual.

DODD-FRANK did not exist “back then”.

The SAFE ACT did not exist “back then”.

The CFPB had not even been conceived “back then”

The NMLS was in its gestation period…..but not up yet “back then”.

Everything is different. Everything has changed. You should either compare your home grown manual to a current iteration of what the CFPB looks for, or just throw in the towel and start as if you didn’t have a program at all. Sometimes the clean sweep is the best way to create the presumption of compliance. Imagine the look on your auditor’s face. He just asked for your Compliance Manuals. And you said….”here they are, we have used these since 2008″.

Look, its ALL different. You originate, you know that. You have been dealing with it daily as your sponsors struggle to protect themselves by monitoring you. It’s a new question every day. It’s a whole new world out there for us mortgage lenders.

Here’s an idea. I offer a subscription plan whereby you can send me your compliance questions whenever they arise, and I will provide guidance via an email response based on knowledge of our current world. Just don’t abuse me, folks. If you are that far out of compliance or out of date, just engage me and let’s get rolling.

You can reach me at (800) 557-6580. That’s it for now.

Gramm Leach Bliley – Identity Theft – and “What’s in your wallet”?

I was recently working on a situation where we needed to see some old documents related to a file that was in controversy. After much pushing and pulling a third party produced personal identification, documents, and photographs that had originally been provided when that third party was an employee of a different institution. What were they doing with that information in their possession?  Was this proper? Can you keep personal information about your past clients to include materials that could create a risk of identity theft for them or a potential abuse of  their privacy?

I don’t think so. There might be some argument about regulatory record retention that you could try to rely on, but I believe the CFPB would look upon this as creating a consumer risk that actually had no purpose as an offset.

Now think, what’s in your “wallet”? Of course, I mean your storage files.

If you have any of this personal information, or have kept documents that should have been shredded after submission to your funding lender, I suggest you go to your storage facility and shred all of them right now. Keep only the file basics as required by state and federal law. Protect your client’s identity and privacy by shredding the supporting identification documentation.

Got it?

Let me work for you, Give me a call at 800-557-6580. Knowledgeable and affordable. Over and out.

Have your compliance questions answered within 24 hours by an expert at a fixed cost.

Many of my Mortgage Industry Compliance Clients tell me that before they found me, they sometimes waited days for a response from their compliance advisors. This increased chances that they would be in violation of a regulation and subject to possible fines.

So I set up a system to make this easy for you.

You can subscribe to our Q+A service on a six month or annual basis and I will respond to your compliance questions within 24 hours. If the matter is one so serious that I feel you should investigate your situation further, I will discount my hourly rate for anyone with a subscription. These are not canned answers, they are personal to your question.

This service is a nice compliment to the policies, procedures, governance documents, and training packages that I have already assembled. You have 24 hour access for questions. I have a new client. Win-Win, right!

Our new Plano office is one block away from a Texas Federal Courthouse. CFPB issues are federal and we are admitted to the federal bar. We can represent you when the CFPB comes knocking.

So, think about the value added here. What good does the big firm do you if you can’t get through to them?  Let me hear from you!

Special Logs for Client Use

To my Clients:

On your compliance shelf you should have at least six manuals at the ready.

Here is the list.

  1. Compliance Book One – Operational Policies and Procedures
  2. Compliance Book Two – MLO Policies and Comp Plans
  3. Compliance Book Three – Reference Material
  4. Advertising Log  LOG Advertising Log Client 011716
  5. Customer Complaint Log LOG Complaint Log Client 011716
  6. QC Manual and Post-Closing Audit Reports LOG Loan Transaction Log Client 011716
  7. Conversation Log for Processors LOG Conversation Log Client 011716

In the event you need items 4 to 7, the links are attached.

Thanks for engaging us, we appreciate it!

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

(800) 656-4584

 

Have you scheduled your annual AML/GLB training? It’s a CFPB requirement.

Did you know that once a year, the new regs require you to train your staff (and yourself and your Board of Directors) on the nuances of Anti-Money Laundering and the Privacy Act. It does not stop there. You also have to test them, and retain proof of the tests and their passing scores.

And during the year, you have to provide the training to any new hire within 30 days of their reporting for duty.

Most Brokers and Lenders don’t take this too seriously. It will get you in hot water with the auditors and could cost you dearly if you ignore it.

The solution? Let me do it for you. I have a program that will provide both the annual and “one-at-a-time” training for you at one low cost for the full year. I even proctor the exam. All you have to do is show up via Gotomeeting. Which I also provide.

Give me a shout, there is still time to get this done before they come knocking on your door.

That’s it for now.

So, how do YOU pay your MLOs?

Man I get asked this all the time. Many of you (and you know who you are) seem to want to hang on to that wishful thinking that just because it sounds ok to you to use 1099, or the girl down at the 7-Eleven said that was how she would do it, or your MLO said he would quit if you made him pay taxes…… that the CFPB will feel the same. So let’s try to put this to bed once and for all. They WON’T.

If you exercise any kind of control whatsoever over your MLO you are likely in a W-2 situation and will be viewed as such during an audit. Control can be interpreted to be something as simple as sponsoring the MLO and having your name on their business cards. Let’s go a bit further. Do they use your office, or your electronics, or your 800 numbers, or your copy machines? Do they work when you ask them to work, even just some of the time? Do they have a desk in your office? What does their letterhead say? Do you pay their cell phone bill? Do they wear a polo shirt with YOUR logo on it?

This is an easy test. If they look like an employee they probably are. So now the CFPB and state regulators will look to see if you properly report their earnings and collect the required taxes. That’s when we see the next twist. Is it legal for you as the employer to deduct your half of their taxes from their gross pay, so the net effect to you is ZERO? No way. Do you do that?

As a consequence of miss-classifying an MLO you may end up dealing with not only the CFPB and your State Regulators, but also the IRS. Any of you ever been there? It’s no fun at all. And you have to report those pesky IRS liens to the NMLS and your Warehouse Line renewal. So,  time to get honest with yourself. Are you paying your MLOs properly? If so, do you have a good MLO contract, a hire letter, and a handbook to properly disclose your payroll procedures to them?

AND THEN THE NEXT BIG POT HOLE – IS YOUR COMP PLAN AND BONUS PLAN ACCEPTABLE?

If you don’t know or are worried I can fix this pretty quickly for you. Give me a call, I’m on it.

www.lockelaw.us

That’s it for now, over and out.