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

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.

 

 

This is why you can’t rely on the in-house compliance persons at the big lenders.

By Barbara S. Mishkin on December 8th, 2016

The CFPB announced that it entered into consent orders with three reverse mortgage companies to settle the CFPB’s allegations that the companies engaged in deceptive advertising in violation of the Mortgage Acts and Practices-Advertising Rule (Regulation N) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act.  Each of the consent orders requires payment of a civil money penalty to the CFPB.

According to the CFPB’s consent order with American Advisors Group (AAG) (described in the consent order as the “largest reverse mortgage lender in the United States”), AAG’s advertisements (consisting of television advertisements and information kits that included a DVD and several brochures) misrepresented that a consumer with a reverse mortgage could not lose the home and could stay in the home for the rest of the consumer’s life.  The advertisements also allegedly misrepresented that a consumer with a reverse mortgage would have no monthly payments and the mortgage would eliminate all of the consumer’s debts.  The CFPB claimed that these statements were misrepresentations because (1) a consumer with a reverse mortgage still has payments and can default and lose the  home by failing to comply with the loan terms such as requirements to pay property taxes or make homeowner’s insurance payments, and (2) a reverse mortgage is a debt and therefore cannot be used to eliminate all of a consumer’s debt.

In addition to prohibiting AAG  from making similar misrepresentations in future advertising and requiring AAG to implement a compliance plan that includes an advertising compliance policy, the consent order requires AAG to pay a civil money penalty of $400,000.

According to the CFPB’s consent order with Reverse Mortgage Solutions (RMS), a reverse mortgage lender, RMS’s advertisements (which included television, radio, print, direct mail, and online advertisements) similarly misrepresented that a consumer with a reverse mortgage could not lose the home and could stay in the home for the rest of the consumer’s life, would have no monthly payments, and the mortgage would eliminate all of the consumer’s debts.  The CFPB claimed that these statements were misrepresentations for the same reasons asserted in the AAG consent order.

The CFPB also alleged that the company misrepresented that a consumer’s heirs would inherit the home and that a consumer’s ability to obtain a reverse mortgage was time limited.  The CFPB claimed that these statements were misrepresentations because, respectively, heirs can only retain ownership of the home after the consumer’s death by either repaying the reverse mortgage or paying 95 percent of the home’s assessed value, and there was in fact no relevant time limit on a consumer’s ability to obtain a reverse mortgage.

In addition to prohibiting RMS  from making similar misrepresentations in future advertising and requiring RMS to implement a compliance plan that includes an advertising compliance policy, the consent order requires AAG to pay a civil money penalty of $325,000.

According to the CFPB’s consent order with Aegean Financial (AF), a reverse mortgage broker, AF’s advertisements (which included print, direct mail, radio, and online advertisements) similarly misrepresented that a consumer with a reverse mortgage could not lose the home and could stay in the home for the rest of the consumer’s life, and would have no monthly payments.  The CFPB claimed that these statements were misrepresentations for the same reasons asserted in the AAG consent order.

The CFPB also alleged that AF misrepresented that a consumer who refinanced a reverse mortgage would not be subject to costs.  According to the CFPB, this statement was a misrepresentation because a consumer who refinanced a reverse mortgage would incur costs such as credit report fees, flood certification fees, title insurance costs, appraisal costs, and other closing costs.  The CFPB also claimed that the statement in AF’s Spanish-language advertisements that “if you are 62 years old or older and you own a house, we have good news for you; you qualify for a reverse mortgage from the United States Housing Department” was misleading.  According to the CFPB, the statement was misleading because, while HUD provides insurance for the most popular type of reverse mortgage, a reverse mortgage is not a government benefit or  loan from the government and the product is not  endorsed or sponsored by the government.  The CFPB also alleged that AF failed to keep records of its advertisements as required by Regulation N.

In addition to prohibiting AF from making similar misrepresentations or misleading statements in future advertising and requiring RMS to implement a compliance plan that includes an advertising compliance policy, the consent order requires AAG to pay a civil money penalty of $65,000.

Please remember, Compliance Services reviews your advertising at no charge. Send it to us BEFORE you get into trouble.

 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

 

Have a laugh on me. Read below.

I just received a marketing email that came from a think tank in DC. It made reference to something called the Data Transparency Coalition, and was presenting training on financial transparency to be presented by a representative of the  US Treasury.

So, at the bottom it also said this:

“Workshop Available to Federal, State and Local Government Employees Only. Press is NOT Invited to Attend to Permit Candid Discussion at this Educational Workshop”

nutface

Would you find this as amusing as I do? What are they discussing that they need to exclude some outside attendance? I swear its true.

Also a quick comment on those of you who feel like Dodd Frank will be abolished. Just my opinion, no it won’t. It will be modified and refined and probably made smaller. But it is here to stay. The great recession will guarantee that we will never be allowed to operate without stricter compliance parameters. Don’t delude yourself.

It is the end of the year and many of you must re-certify for NMLS and State purposes – making important statements about your compliance in your financial reports.

If you are stretching the truth or maybe not ready for an audit at all, please call us at (800) 656-4584 x103. We can help and if we hear from you this week we can certify you for year end. We work pretty quickly this time of year to insure you can be truthful when you re-certify.

With respect,

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

Compliance Services and Locke Law US, LLC

(800) 656-4584

Audit Rating System Finalized.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), whose members include the CFPB, has finalized guidance setting forth a revised uniform interagency consumer compliance rating system (CCRS).  The revisions reflect changes in consumer compliance supervision since the current rating system was adopted in 1980.  The other FFIEC members are the Fed, FDIC, NCUA, OCC, and State Liaison Committee.

The FFIEC members plan to implement the revised rating system for consumer compliance examinations that begin on or after March 31, 2017.

The CCRS includes three categories of assessment factors: board and management oversight, compliance program, and violations of law and consumer harm.  The assessment factors in the three categories consist of the following:

  • To assess an institution’s board and management oversight, examiners will consider: oversight and commitment to the institution’s CMS; effectiveness of the institution’s change management process; comprehension, identification and management of risks arising from the institution’s products, services, and activities; and any corrective action undertaken as consumer compliance issues are identified.
  • To assess an institution’s compliance program, examiners will consider: whether the institution’s policies and procedures are appropriate to the risk in the institution’s products, services, and activities; the degree to which compliance training is current and tailored to risk and staff responsibilities; the sufficiency of monitoring, and if applicable, auditing, to encompass compliance risks; and the responsiveness and effectiveness of the consumer complaint resolution process.
  • To assess an institution’s violations of law and consumer harm, examiners will consider: the root causes of any violations identified during examinations; the severity of any consumer harm resulting from the violations; the duration of time over which the violations occurred; and the pervasiveness of the violations.  The CCRS includes incentives for self-identification and prompt correction of violations.

The revised rating system uses a scale of 1 through 5, with 1 representing the highest rating and lowest degree of supervisory concern and 5 representing the lowest rating and most critically deficient level of performance and thus the highest degree of supervisory concern.  An institution’s overall rating under the CCRS is intended to reflect a comprehensive evaluation of the institution’s performance under the rating system by considering the categories and assessment factors in the context of the institution’s size, complexity, and risk profile.

The CCRS does not assign specific numeric ratings to any of the above assessment factors and an institution’s rating is not be based on a numeric average or any other quantitative calculation.  As a result, an institution does not have to receive a satisfactory rating in all categories to receive an overall satisfactory rating.  Conversely, even if some assessments are rated as satisfactory, an institution can still receive an overall less than satisfactory rating.

The important note is YES this does apply to small Brokers and Lenders and has already been rolled out in a few states. In recent audits, it has been used thoughtfully and seemed fair. Frankly the people having the worst audit experience are those who think they are somehow “above” the process. Be warned.

Nelson A. Locke, Esq.

(800) 656-4584

http://www.lockelaw.us

 

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