Written by Ricardo Piñeres, Regulatory Compliance Counsel
With all of the new compliance requirements that have accompanied the start of 2014, it is easy to get trapped in a vortex of negativity. Credit unions are struggling to keep up with the growing regulatory burdens, and many in our industry have suggested that instead of just adding new regulations, regulators should be looking to modernize some of their more outdated requirements. Well, for those that have been clamoring for a step in the direction of modernity, I bring good news. At the end of last month, the FHA announced that it would finally expand the list of documents for which it will accept electronic signatures!
Prior to this announcement, FHA only accepted e-signatures on third-party documents (i.e. sales contracts and other documents not under the lender’s control). In addition to third-party documents, the new policy states that e-signatures are valid on the following documents:
- Loss mitigation;
- FHA insurance claims;
- REO sales contracts; and
- Related addenda.
Lenders that choose to accept e-signatures may begin taking advantage of the FHA’s new policy immediately on both single family forward mortgages and reverse mortgages. For the time being, the FHA will not be accepting e-signatures on the mortgage note, itself. It is expected that they will begin accepting e-signatures on forward mortgage notes by the end of the year.
In order to take advantage of the FHA’s new policy, all lenders that submit electronically-signed documents must have specific technology and operational capabilities and controls, documented quality control processes, and the ability to adapt the electronic signature to FHA’s existing record retention processes. Furthermore, any lender that chooses to take advantage of the FHA’s new policy must still comply with all of the requirements of the E-SIGN Act. For more information on the requirements, credit unions should view FHA’s Mortgagee Letter 2014-03.
While this may not do much to ease the ever-growing regulatory burden on credit unions, it is heartening to see a government entity seeking to improve its processes. I applaud the FHA for making it easier for lenders to work with them, and hope that they continue to streamline their processes. Not only will this help lenders, but ultimately, it will help consumers seeking to take advantage of the FHA’s products.
Free Kick. I am in the middle of a tense two weeks. As a die-hard supporter of Arsenal, the schedule has put together a string of fixtures that will either make or break the Gunners’ season. If Arsene Wegner and Company can survive these two weeks, then maybe I can dream of an end to the trophy drought.
Sadly, things did not get off to a good start over the weekend. The drubbing at Anfield saw Arsenal play its worst game of the season (excluding the league opener to West Ham). While Liverpool has been firing on all cylinders, I’m hoping that the embarrassment of this past weekend will fuel Arsenal to seek some revenge and move into the FA Cup Quarterfinals when they host Liverpool on Sunday.
Turning to the Premier League, thankfully, Chelsea dropped two points to West Bromwich in the waning minutes of yesterday’s match. Therefore, Arsenal can go back to the top of the Premier League with a win later today against Manchester United. ManU, frankly, has been mediocre to start 2014, so Arsenal need all three points if they are to truly contend down the stretch.
Lastly, the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League get underway next week. Arsenal was unable to win their group in the fall, so they have drawn Bayern Munich. This is a repeat of last year’s Round of 16 matchup. While Arsenal is a much improved squad this season, I see a similar result in our future with Bayern Munich coming away with a close win over the two-legged contest.
Hopefully, the loss to Liverpool at Anfield was just an aberration, and I can continue to dream of a trophy or two! Go Gunners!
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