Finance Friday: CFPB Proposes Expanded Foreclosure Protections


November 21, 2014

This week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed additional measures to ensure that homeowners and struggling borrowers are treated fairly by mortgage servicers. The proposal would require servicers to provide certain borrowers with foreclosure protections more than once over the life of the loan, to put in place additional servicing transfer protections, and to take steps to protect borrowers from a wrongful foreclosure sale. The proposal would also help ensure that surviving family members and others who inherit or receive property 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. “Today’s proposal would give greater protections to mortgage borrowers.”

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 shoddy mortgage servicing practices, the CFPB put in place common-sense rules designed to eliminate surprises and runarounds for homeowners. The rules, which went into effect on January 10, 2014, require servicers to maintain accurate records, give troubled borrowers direct and ongoing access to servicing personnel, promptly credit payments, and correct errors on request. The rules also include strong protections for struggling homeowners, including those facing foreclosure. 

Since the Bureau’s mortgage servicing rules took effect, the CFPB has continued to engage in outreach with consumer advocacy groups, industry representatives, and other stakeholders. This proposal  reflects our ongoing effort to ensure the rules are working as intended and to smooth the path for companies to better protect consumers and comply with the CFPB’s rules.

Among other things, today’s proposal would:

The proposal would make additional changes to the mortgage servicing rules. These changes include providing flexibility for servicers to comply with certain force-placed insurance and periodic statement disclosure requirements. The changes would clarify several early intervention, loss mitigation, information request, and prompt crediting of payments requirements, as well as the small servicer exemption. Further, the proposal would exempt servicers from providing periodic statements under certain circumstances when the servicer has charged off the mortgage.

Further details about today’s proposal can be found in the summary: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201411_cfpb_summary_mortgage-servicing-proposed-rule.pdf

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