REFinBlog

Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

May 17, 2017

Assessing RESPA

By David Reiss

image by Yoel Ben-Avraham

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a Request for Information Regarding 2013 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Servicing Rule Assessment. The Bureau

is conducting an assessment of the Mortgage Servicing Rules Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X), as amended prior to January 10, 2014, in accordance with section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Bureau is requesting public comment on its plans for assessing this rule as well as certain recommendations and information that may be useful in conducting the planned assessment. (82 F.R. 21952)

This is certainly a pretty obscure initiative, albeit one required by the Dodd-Frank Act. But it is worth determining what is at stake in it. The Request includes some additional background:

Congress established the Bureau in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).1 In the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress generally consolidated in the Bureau the rulemaking authority for Federal consumer financial laws previously vested in certain other Federal agencies. Congress also provided the Bureau with the authority to, among other things, prescribe rules as may be necessary or appropriate to enable the Bureau to administer and carry out the purposes and objectives of the Federal consumer financial laws and to prevent evasions thereof. Since 2011, the Bureau has issued a number of rules adopted under Federal consumer financial law.

Section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the Bureau to conduct an assessment of each significant rule or order adopted by the Bureau under Federal consumer financial law. The Bureau must publish a report of the assessment not later than five years after the effective date of such rule or order. The assessment must address, among other relevant factors, the rule’s effectiveness in meeting the purposes and objectives of title X of the Dodd-Frank Act and the specific goals stated by the Bureau. The assessment must reflect available evidence and any data that the Bureau reasonably may collect. Before publishing a report of its assessment, the Bureau must invite public comment on recommendations for modifying, expanding, or eliminating the significant rule or order.

In January 2013, the Bureau issued the ‘‘Mortgage Servicing Rules Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X)’’ (2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule). The Bureau amended the 2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule on several occasions before it took effect on January 10, 2014. As discussed further below, the Bureau has determined that the 2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule and all the amendments related to it that the Bureau made that took effect on January 10, 2014 collectively make up a significant rule for purposes of section 1022(d). The Bureau will conduct an assessment of the 2013 RESPA Servicing Final Rule as so amended, which this document refers to as the ‘‘2013 RESPA Servicing Rule.’’ In this document, the Bureau is requesting public comment on the issues identified below regarding the 2013 RESPA Servicing Rule. (Id., footnotes omitted)

The Bureau will be evaluating servicer activities such as responses to loss mitigation applications and borrower notices of error. It will also be evaluating fees and charges; the exercise of rights by consumers under the rule; and delinquency outcomes.

The Bureau is requesting comment on some technical subjects relating to the assessment plan itself. But if you think you have something to add, you should submit comments by July 10th here.

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