On January 29, the CFPB proposed amendments to the portions of Regulation Z governing mortgages made by small creditors.  In the same notice, the CFPB also proposed amendments to Regulation Z’s definition of the term “rural,” which controls certain special permissions for small creditors operating predominately in areas that satisfy the definition.  The proposed amendments follow the Bureau’s May 2013 announcement that it intended to study potential adjustments to the terms “rural” and “underserved,” as well as its May 2014 request for comments regarding the small creditor loan origination threshold.  Comments on the proposed amendments are due on or before March 30, 2015, and the Bureau proposes that the amendments would become effective January 1, 2016.

Three of the CFPB’s major mortgage rules feature special provisions and exemptions for small creditors:  The escrow rule exempts certain small creditors from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for certain higher-priced mortgages; the ability-to-repay (ATR) rule includes three varieties of qualified mortgages—two permanent, one temporary—that are available only to small creditors; and the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) rule exempts small creditors from its prohibition on balloon payment features for certain high-cost mortgages.
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