- Bankrupt Washington Mutual settles in class action suit for $10 million after duping plaintiffs into taking out mortgages with low “teaser rates.”
- Goldman Sachs asks NY Federal Judge not to certify class action suit over its Abacus collateralized debt obligation, which caused $1 billion in investor losses.
- The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) covers foreclosure complaints in suit brought by Bank of America and a NJ law firm.
- First Horizon National Corp.’s subsidiary First Tennessee Bank settles with FDIC over violation of due-diligence regulations for Federal Housing Administration-insured home loans for $212.5 million.
- HSBC and Assurant settle for $1.8 billion over allegations that the bank got kickbacks for getting consumers to purchase inflated flood insurance.
The CFPB announced that it is seeking feedback on potential changes to mortgage information reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Data collection seems like a pretty obscure issue, but some Republicans and financial industry interests have been attacking the CFPB for collecting so much data. Given the rapid changes in the consumer financial services sector, it seems to me that collecting more data about the types of products being offered to different types of consumers is essential to regulating that sector. For those unfamiliar with HMDA, it
was enacted in 1975 to provide information that the public and financial regulators could use to monitor whether financial institutions were serving the housing needs of their communities and providing access to residential mortgage credit. The law requires lenders to disclose information about the home mortgage loans they sell to consumers. HMDA was later expanded to capture information useful for identifying possible discriminatory lending patterns.
In the wake of the recent mortgage market crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) transferred HMDA rulemaking authority to the CFPB. The law directs the Bureau to expand the HMDA dataset to include additional loan information that would be helpful in spotting troublesome trends. (1)
The CFPB is considering requiring the following information pursuant to HMDA:
- total points and fees, and rate spreads for all loans
- riskier loan features including teaser rates, prepayment penalties, and non-amortizing features
- lender information, including unique identifier for the loan officer and the loan
- property value and improved property location information
- age and credit score (1-2)
There are additional data points under consideration, but these five alone would go a long way to identifyingpredatory trends as they are developing in the mortgage market. Lay people are probably unaware of the rate of change in the industry, but during boom times the kinds of products that are popular can change dramatically in a few months. It is hard enough for regulators to keep on top of such rapid changes, but it is even harder when they only have access to some of the relevant information. The CFPB’s proposal is a step in the right direction as it seeks to get a handle on the market that it regulates.