Written by Steve Van Beek
Whenever I get a chance to talk to regulators directly, I make a point of explaining to them that credit unions are not able to focus solely on their regulations, even if they wanted to. This morning's blog post is an example of that. We've all been trying to keep up with the CFPB's final mortgage regulations, but there are plenty of other issues out there to stay on top of. Plenty.
MLO Compensation (and more) Final Rule. Oh, and by the way, the CFPB's MLO compensation rule is finally out. Cordray's remarks are here, the press release here, the summary is here, special regulation page here and the full rule is available here (541 pages).
Effective Date: The majority of the rule is effective on January 10, 2014. However, the prohibitions on mandatory arbitration and financing of credit insurance premiums are effective June 1, 2013.
Now, on to a few other items.
Mortgage Insurance Premiums & 1098s. Throughout 2012, it was known that mortgage insurance premiums would not be deductible for tax year 2012. But then the fiscal cliff legislation happened, and mortgage insurance premiums were made retroactively tax deductible and credit unions (and their vendors) scrambled to correct Box 4 of their 1098s. The IRS issued Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-3 which indicates that Box 4 - for mortgage insurance premiums - has been reinstated. Additional information is available in the NAFCU Today.
IRS Proposal for Truncated TINs. The IRS has been operating a pilot program since 2009 that allows certain filers to truncate Social Security Numbers and TINs on IRS information returns (more on the pilot program is available here). On January 7th, the IRS proposed a regulation that would allow filers of certain information returns - including credit unions - to use a "truncated taxpayer identification number" (TTIN). While this is only a proposal at this time, the feedback from the prior pilot program was overwhelming positive and it is likely that credit unions will have the option to use TTINs for next year's IRS information returns.
Note: The proposal would not require credit unions to use TTINs. But, you'd have the option.
I wish other regulators took this approach. In this situation, the IRS had been getting feedback from filers, consumers and organizations that TTINs would help protect nonpersonal public information and, potentially, reduce identity theft. Not only did they listen to concerns, but they also proposed a rule that would make this change optional which would allow credit unions to make the transition when the time is right for their credit union (and their vendor).
Credit Card Agreements Due January 31st. Speaking of other regulators, credit card agreements are due to the CFPB by January 31st. The underlying requirement comes from 12 CFR 1026.58(c). These agreements need to be sent quarterly: January 31st, April 30th, July 31st and October 31st. I'd put those dates on your calendar if your credit union has over 10,000 credit card accounts. For those under 10,000 credit card accounts, Section 1026.58(c)(5) includes a de minimus exception and you wouldn't need to send your agreements to the CFPB (there are still other requirements in 12 CFR 1026.58 that do apply).
The CFPB's Credit Card Agreement database is available here.
Improvements Needed. I'll note that the CFPB hasn't exactly made this quarterly submission process easy. There isn't any information on their website regarding the process. The emails the CFPB sends to institutions are sometimes late and the information is usually only sent to one person at the credit union (what happens if they left, are on extended leave or just on vacation?) And, what happens when a credit union reaches the 10,000 threshold? How do they learn the CFPB's process? How do they get on the super secret "update your credit card agreement" email list?
These are all issues that NAFCU has raised with the CFPB. Hopefully we'll see changes in their process in the future to make it more transparent and easy to follow. With all the other issues going on, this is one the CFPB should streamline to reduce the burden and confusion for card issuers.
One Improvement: One thing we have heard is that you should be able to include additional employees onto the CFPB's emails regarding the card agreement submissions. Send them an email request asking them to add the additional email(s) whenever they send your credit union information on your credit card agreements.