The CFPB was busy last week, issuing a series of measures that impact the mortgage servicing industry.
- On March 31st, the CFPB rescinded seven policy statements, including statements that provided flexibility from supervisory or enforcement actions for loss mitigation and credit reporting activity in connection with the COVID-19 national emergency.
- On April 1st, the CFPB issued Compliance Bulletin 2021-02 (the “Compliance Bulletin”), warning mortgage servicers to take certain measures in anticipation of the wave of homeowners who will need assistance after the expiration of CARES Act forbearances and other similar COVID-related measures.
- On April 5th, the CFPB issued a Mortgage Servicing COVID-19 Proposed Rule (the “Proposed Rule”), which could have a dramatic impact on mortgage servicers and the housing industry as a whole.
- Also on April 5th, the CFPB issued a blog post discussing mortgage servicing communication strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These measures unmistakably put the mortgage servicing industry on notice that it will be a top priority of the “new CFPB,” which should not come as a surprise. In addition, these developments impact the industry in significant and varying ways. For instance, in rescinding past policy statements, the CFPB has formally signaled that the gloves are off in terms of enforcement and supervisory activities. The new Compliance Bulletin furthers that message, but also clarifies what the CFPB expects servicers to prioritize for compliance and best practices.
The Proposed Rule provides some helpful flexibility to the industry, but also includes a sweeping foreclosure moratorium that would essentially stall residential foreclosures until 2022 (at least for loans subject to Regulation X). This obviously would significantly impact mortgage servicers and the broader housing industry, and the proposal’s validity may very well be contested.
Finally, in its blog post, the CFPB has encouraged the development of, and investment in, new communication resources for the mortgage servicing industry. In light of the other developments (and warnings) last week, many in the industry may decide that the time is right to make those investments.
We address each of these four developments in more detail in the following series of separate blog posts: