Written by Victoria Daka, Regulatory Compliance Specialist
In late October, the National Credit Union Administration, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Farm Credit Administration, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking which proposes to amend regulations pertaining to loans secured by property located in special flood hazard areas. These regulations implement the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA).
More specifically, the proposed rule, if finalized as is, will establish requirements for financial institutions with assets of more than $1 billion or servicers acting on their behalf, with respect to the escrow of flood insurance payments, consistent with changes in the HFIAA. Also, if finalized as is, the proposal will include a new exemption no longer requiring separate flood insurance for certain detached structures. Below, you’ll find highlights from the proposal:
§ 760.4 Exemptions – First of all, this section exempts from the requirements of this rule any structure that is a part of residential property even if it is detached from the primary residential structure of that property and does not serve as a residence. However, although not required, lenders may require flood insurance on these detached structures for the benefit of the borrower.
§ 760.5 Escrow Requirement –
760.5(a)(1) – Applicability. This section requires that regulated lending institutions escrow premiums and fees for flood insurance for loans secured by residential improved real estate or mobile homes that are made, increased, extended or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2016, unless the regulated lending institution or a loan qualifies for a statutory exception.
760.5(a)(2) – Exceptions. This section provides the following exceptions to the requirements:
- The loan is primarily for business, commercial or agricultural purposes;
- The loan is in a subordinate position to a senior lien secured by the same residential improved real estate or mobile home for which the borrower has obtained flood insurance coverage.
- The flood insurance coverage is provided by a policy that meets the requirements of 760.3(a) and is provided by a condominium association, cooperative, homeowners association, or other applicable group as a common expense;
- The loan is a home equity line of credit;
- The loan is a nonperforming loan that is 90 or more days past due; or
- The loan is a term of less than 12 months.
760.5(b) – Notice. This section requires the credit union or servicer to mail or deliver written notice to the borrower using language substantially similar to the model clauses. This writing is intended to put borrowers on notice that the credit union or servicer is required to escrow all the premiums and fees for the required flood insurance.
760.5(c)(2) – Change In Status.This section points out that if a credit union previously qualified under the small lender exception (under 760.5(c) of the proposal, credit unions with assets of less than $1 billion as of December 31st of either of the two previous calendar years) but now has assets that exceed this threshold for two consecutive years, the credit union would have to comply with this rule’s requirements on or after July 1st of the following year.
760.5(d) – Option to Escrow. This section informs credit unions that are not exempt from this rule to offer, make available and provide notice to borrowers about the option to escrow all premiums and fees for any flood insurance required for any loan secured by residential improved real estate or a mobile home that is outstanding on January 1, 2016.
§ 760.6 Required Use of Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form – This section requires credit unions to use the standard flood hazard determination form when determining whether the property used as collateral is located in a flood hazard area.
Remember, this is just a proposal at this time. Also, note that the HFIAA does not affect the other provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act relating to private flood insurance and force-placed flood insurance. Those issues are expected to be addressed in a different rule at a later date.
Programming Note. NAFCU's office will close at noon today and will also be closed on Thursday and Friday for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We will be back to blogging on Monday. Have a happy Thanksgiving and great long weekend!