Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Expands Foreclosure Protections


August 5, 2016

Washington, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Thursday finalized new measures to ensure that homeowners and struggling borrowers are treated fairly by mortgage servicers. The updated rule requires servicers to provide certain borrowers with foreclosure protections more than once over the life of the loan, clarifies borrower protections when the servicing of a loan is transferred, and provides important loan information to borrowers in bankruptcy. The changes also help ensure that surviving family members and others who inherit or receive property generally have the same protections under the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules as the original borrower.

“The Consumer Bureau is committed to ensuring that homeowners and struggling borrowers are treated fairly by mortgage servicers and that no one is wrongly foreclosed upon,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “These updates to the rule will give greater protections to mortgage borrowers, particularly surviving family members and other successors in interest, who often are especially vulnerable.”

Mortgage servicers are responsible for collecting payments from the mortgage borrower and forwarding those payments to the owner of the loan. They typically handle customer service, collections, loan modifications, and foreclosures. To address widespread mortgage servicing problems, the CFPB established common-sense rules for servicers that went into effect on January 10, 2014.

The CFPB issued proposed amendments to those rules in November 2014, and the final rule issued today adopts many of the proposed provisions. However, the Bureau made a number of changes in the final rule after considering comments received from the public.

The rule issued today establishes new protections for consumers, including:

Today’s final rule makes additional changes to the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules. These changes include providing flexibility for servicers to comply with certain force-placed insurance and periodic statement disclosure requirements. The changes also clarify several requirements regarding early intervention, loss mitigation, information requests, and prompt crediting of payments, as well as the small servicer exemption. Further, the changes exempt servicers from providing periodic statements under certain circumstances when the servicer has charged off the mortgage. Finally, concurrently with the final rule, the CFPB is issuing an interpretive rule under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act relating to servicers’ compliance with certain mortgage servicing provisions as amended by the final rule.

Most of the provisions of the final rule will take effect 12 months after publication in the Federal Register. The provisions relating to successors in interest and the provisions relating to periodic statements for borrowers in bankruptcy will take effect 18 months after publication in the Federal Register.

The final rule issued today is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/20160804_cfpb_Final_Rule_Amendments_to_the_2013_Mortgage_Rules.pdf

The interpretive rule issued today is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/20160804_cfpb_Bureau_Interpretations_Safe_Harbors_from_Liability_under_FDCPA.pdf 

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