Written By JiJi Bahhur, Regulatory Compliance Counsel
As Steve mentioned in Monday’s blog, the CFPB issued a Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Amendments to the Escrow Requirement for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans. The purpose of this Guide is to provide the requirements of the Escrow final rule in plain English. The Guide does a pretty good job laying out what credit unions need to know and do to be compliant with the final rule by June 1, 2013.
The Small Entity Compliance Guide is broken out into eight main sections:
- What is the TILA Escrow Rule
- What are the important changes in the TILA Escrow Rule compared with existing regulations?
- What are the exemptions to the TILA Escrow Rule?
- What definitions do I need?
- What else do I need to know?
- Practical implications and compliance considerations
- Other resources
It’s surprisingly a very easy read, especially because each main section is broken down into smaller compartments (sub-sections) and the index is on-point to what each sub-section contains. As an example, let’s take a look at section 3 (see above). The sub-section under section 3 is “What are the three primary changes made by this rule?” And under that, simplified and in plain English, you find the three primary changes:
“These are the three primary changes this rule makes compared with existing regulations:
1. It lengthens to at least five years the required minimum period most creditors must maintain an escrow account for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans secured by a consumer’s principal dwelling. You must maintain the escrow account until one of the following occurs: 1) the underlying debt obligation is terminated or 2) after the five-year period, the consumer requests that the escrow account be canceled. However, if you are canceling the escrow account at the consumer’s request, the loan’s unpaid principal balance must be less than 80 percent of the original value of the property securing the underlying debt obligation, and the consumer must not be currently delinquent or in default on the underlying obligation.
2. It clarifies that you do not have to escrow insurance payments for homeowners in common interest communities where the governing body is required to purchase master insurance policies.
3. It exempts from the escrow requirement loans made by certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved counties, as long as they are not subject to forward commitments for sale to nonexempt creditors.”
Don't forget to visit NAFCU's Mortgage Rules webpage - a one-stop shop for resources on all of the new mortgage regulations. Among other related items, you can find NAFCU's article, featured in February's Compliance Monitor, on Escrow Requirements on HPMLs, which includes a detailed run-down of the small creditor exemption (NAFCU log-in required).
There are a lot of new rules – the escrow rule being one – that may apply to your credit union so it is important to have a plan of attack. Don’t let the effective dates creep up on you . . . time will fly! Speaking of time flying, Kyse and Ava turned 8 months old this past weekend.