As the government revives its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with hundreds of billions of dollars in additional loans available to small businesses, there are fresh signs that government fraud investigations and whistleblower litigation related to the loan program are ramping up. DOJ’s first-ever settlement of violations of the civil False Claims Act related to the

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that they will begin accepting loan applications from community financial institutions for new “first draw” Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans beginning on January 11 and for “second draw” PPP loans beginning on January 13. Other lenders will be allowed to submit loan applications shortly thereafter.

New guidance and loan

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released two final rules amending the General Qualified Mortgage loan definition in Regulation Z and creating a new “Seasoned QM” loan category in Regulation Z. The General QM Final Rule replaces the current requirement for the General QM loans that the consumer’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI) not exceed 43 percent

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced today that it has entered into a settlement with Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, d/b/a “Mr. Cooper,” one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers and the largest non-bank mortgage servicer in the United States. The bureau’s complaint claims that Nationstar engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and violated the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 (HPA).

The bureau alleges that from January 2012 through December 2015, Mr. Cooper violated multiple federal consumer financial laws, causing substantial harm to the borrowers whose mortgage loans it serviced, including distressed borrowers. Specifically, the bureau claims that Nationstar (1) failed to identify thousands of loans on its systems that had pending-loss mitigation applications or trial-modification plans, and as a result failed to honor borrowers’ loan modification agreements; (2) foreclosed on borrowers to whom it had promised it would not foreclose while their loss mitigation applications were pending; (3) improperly increased borrowers’ permanent, modified monthly loan payments; (4) failed to timely disburse borrowers’ tax payments from their escrow accounts; (5) failed to properly conduct escrow analyses for borrowers during their Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings; and (6) failed to timely remove private mortgage insurance from borrowers’ accounts.
Continue Reading Consumer Financial Protection Bureau And Multiple States Enter Into Settlement With Nationstar Mortgage, LLC For Alleged Unlawful Servicing Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued a proposed rule to create a new category of Seasoned Qualified Mortgages (QMs). The proposal seeks to “encourage safe and responsible innovation in the mortgage origination market” by allowing an alternative pathway to the qualified mortgage safe harbor.

By way of background, the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to establish ability-to-repay (ATR) requirements for most residential mortgage loans. TILA specifies the factors a creditor must consider in making a reasonable and good-faith assessment of a consumer’s ATR. TILA also defines qualified mortgages as a category of loans that are presumed to comply with the ATR requirements. Regulation Z, TILA’s implementing regulation, requires creditors to make a reasonable good-faith determination of a consumer’s ability to repay any residential mortgage loan, and loans that meet Regulation Z’s requirements for QMs must obtain certain protections from liability.
Continue Reading The CFPB Proposes to Create a New Category of Seasoned Qualified Mortgages

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently proposed certain amendments to the General Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition in Regulation Z and issued a filing rule extending the expiration of the Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Patch as a “temporary qualified mortgage” until the mandatory compliance date of the final amendments to the General QM loan definition.

By way of background, the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to establish ability-to-repay (ATR) requirements for most residential mortgage loans. TILA specifies the factors a creditor must consider in making a reasonable and good-faith assessment of a consumer’s ATR. TILA also defines qualified mortgages as a category of loans that are presumed to comply with the ATR requirements. Regulation Z, TILA’s implementing regulation, requires creditors to make a reasonable good-faith determination of a consumer’s ability to repay any residential mortgage loan, and loans that meet Regulation Z’s requirements for QMs must obtain certain protections from liability.
Continue Reading The CFPB Proposes Amendments to the Qualified Mortgage Definition in Regulation Z and Extends the GSE Patch

On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, in response to the national emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Four key provisions of the CARES Act are likely to affect mortgage loan servicers: (1) credit protection; (2) a moratorium on foreclosures; (3) forbearance on mortgage payments; and (4) a moratorium on eviction filings. Compliance with the CARES Act may be straightforward for moratoriums but more challenging for credit reporting and regulatory compliance. This post provides an updated summary of salient portions of the CARES Act and identifies potential regulatory compliance pitfalls.
Continue Reading CARES Act Regulatory Considerations for Mortgage Servicers

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently made clear that foreclosure actions qualify as “debt collection” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). See Cohen v. Rosicki, Rosicki & Assocs., P.C., 897 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 2018). Thus, even if a foreclosure action is not seeking a deficiency judgment and the proceeding is strictly in rem, it now falls under the FDCPA debt collection umbrella in the Second Circuit.

In Cohen, the borrower appealed the district court’s dismissal of his FDCPA claims based on the defendants’ allegedly incorrect identification of Green Tree Servicing LLC as the creditor in the foreclosure complaint, certificate of merit, and request for judicial intervention. The basis for the district court’s dismissal of the case was that “enforcement of a security interest through foreclosure proceedings that do not seek monetary judgments against debtors” does not qualify as debt collection within the scope of the FDCPA. The Second Circuit disagreed. Cohen, aff’d, 897 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 2018)
Continue Reading Second Circuit: Mortgage Foreclosure Constitutes “Debt Collection” Under FDCPA

The linchpin of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is debt collection. Not surprisingly, litigation often focuses on the crucial question of what is a “debt” and who is a “debt collector” for purposes of the FDCPA. In Ho v. ReconTrust Co., NA, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently concluded that the enforcement of a security instrument by nonjudicial foreclosure is not debt collection as a matter of law.

The Ho court explained that “[t]he object of a non-judicial foreclosure is to retake and resell the security, not to collect money from the borrower[,]” and because “California law does not allow for a deficiency judgment following non-judicial foreclosure[,]” “the foreclosure extinguishes the entire debt even if it results in a recovery of less than the amount of the debt.” On this basis, the Ho court held that “actions taken to facilitate a non-judicial foreclosure, such as sending the notice of default and notice of sale, are not attempts to collect ‘debt’ as that term is defined by the FDCPA.”
Continue Reading McNair v. Maxwell & Morgan PC: Judicial and Nonjudicial Foreclosure—A Distinction With a Difference