Five Things Dirt Lawyers Need to Know Before August 1

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Prepare now for a smooth transition to the new CFPB regulations and forms

Our company has put together some general information about the CFPB regulations that become effective on August 1. I’m sharing a few tips with the letstalkdirtsc.com audience in an effort to assist with a smooth transition.

1 HandWhat transaction types are affected and exempt? The new rules and forms apply to most closed-end consumer credit transactions secured by real property. The following types of loans are affected:

  • Purchase money mortgages;
  • Refinances;
  • Mortgages on 25 acres or less;
  • Mortgages on vacant land;
  • Mortgages for construction purposes only; and
  • Mortgages on timeshares.

Consumer loans exempted from the new rules and forms are:

  • Reverse mortgages;
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs);
  • Loans on chattel-dwelling/mobile homes only; and
  • Loans by creditors who originate less than five loans in a calendar year.

Creditors will be required to use a TILA disclosure and Good Faith Estimate (GFE), and closing attorneys will be required to use a 2010 HUD-1 Settlement Statement on the exempt loans.

Loans in progress (applications submitted prior to August 1, 2015) are not subject to the new rules or the new forms.

2 HandWhat are the new rules and forms? On November 20, 2013, the CFPB announced the completion of the new integrated mortgage disclosure forms along with their regulations (RESPA Regulation X and TILA Regulation Z) for the proper completion and timely delivery to the consumer.

The Loan Estimate – Currently, borrowers receive two forms from their lender at the beginning of the transaction: the GFE and initial TILA disclosure. For loan applications taken on or after August 1, the creditor will instead use a combined Loan Estimate form.

The Closing Disclosure – The HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final TILA disclosure form have been combined into a single Closing Disclosure form. This new five-page form contains many loan terms and provisions in addition to the closing figures. Several earlier letstalkdirtsc.com blogs discussed which lenders that have announced they will prepare and deliver the Closing Disclosure. It appears that in all cases, closing attorneys will prepare the seller’s Closing Disclosure and a separate closing or disbursement statement to facilitate disbursement.

forms in out

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How will the timing of a closing be impacted by Closing Disclosure delivery? The new rule requires borrowers to have three business days after receipt of the Closing Disclosure for review. The three-day review starts on the receipt of the form by the borrower. Absent some positive confirmation of receipt such as hand delivery, the form is “deemed received” three days after the delivery process is started (i.e., mailing). As a result, the combination of the delivery time period and the review time period results in six business days from mailing to closing.

After delivery of the initial Closing Disclosure, the following changes would require a re-disclosure and a new waiting period:

  • Increase of the APR by more than 1/8%;
  • Change in the loan program, for example, fixed rate to ARM; and
  • Addition of a pre-payment penalty.

Closing Disclosure Delivery Timeline Chart4 Hand

 

How will the communication of title and closing figures be handled? Lenders will continue to need accurate estimates of title and closing figures. Preparation of the Closing Disclosure will require a collaborative effort between lenders, closing attorneys and other vendors and may require fees to be submitted as early as two weeks prior to closing. Several lenders have announced that they will use electronic portals to send and receive information, eliminating the use of mail, e-mail and faxes between lenders and closing attorneys.

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How are title charges reflected on the new forms? The list of charges involving title insurance and closing activities must be grouped together and preceded by the word “Title”.

The CFPB requires that the full premium, not the discounted simultaneous issue premium, must be disclosed for the loan policy. The owner’s policy premium will be shown as “optional” and will be the total cost of the owner’s policy discounted by the cost of the loan policy and adding the simultaneous issue premium. Confusing?  Yes!

The line numbers have been removed from the HUD-1 form, and there are now seven fee areas:

  • Origination charges;
  • Services borrower did not shop for;
  • Services borrower did shop for;
  • Taxes and other government fees;
  • Pre-paids;
  • Initial escrow payment at closing; and
  • Other

Charges within each of these major groupings are listed alphabetically. Columns are provided to separate charges of the buyer, the seller, and others, as well as columns for payments both before and at closing.

Software and title insurance companies are doing extensive training in the form of seminars, webinars and written communications. If you intend to be a residential dirt lawyer after August 1, get yourself and your staff trained!

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Five Things Real Estate Agents Need To Know Before August

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 Dirt lawyers: Educate your real estate agents!

Our company has developed resources to equip dirt lawyers to educate real estate agents about how the CFPB will impact them beginning August 1.  I’m sharing a few tips with the letstalkdirtsc.com audience because everyone will benefit if real estate agents are prepared.

This is a primer, a very basic beginning point. The CFPB will not significantly impact the day-to-day processing of sales, but buyers and sellers will look to real estate agents for general information about the new rules and forms, as well as the impact on the loan process and the closing. As the software companies complete their updates, everyone involved will be trained on the details of the Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures.  For now, let’s give real estate agents the following information.

1They should be able to explain the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure before August 1. The Good Faith Estimate (GFE), a form required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and the initial Truth-in-Lending disclosure (TIL), a form required by the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) have been combined into a new form, the Loan Estimate. For loan applications taken on or after August 1, the three-page Loan Estimate will replace the GFE and the TIL and must be delivered within three business days of the application. The new five-page Closing Disclosure will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final TILA form.

2The timing of a closing will be impacted by Closing Disclosure delivery.  The CFPB has determined that borrowers will be better served by having three days after receipt to review the Closing Disclosure prior to the closing. Absent a positive confirmation of receipt of the form (i.e., hand delivery), the form is “deemed received” three days after the delivery process is started (i.e., mailing). Several lenders have already announced that they will deliver the forms six days prior to closing.

Closing Disclosure Delivery Timeline Chart

3Title fees may need to be adjusted at closing and explained. The full premium for the lender’s title policy must be reflected on the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure despite the fact that we have a “simultaneous issue” discount in our filed rates in South Carolina. The discount that title insurance companies in South Carolina offer lenders must be deducted from the charge for the owner’s policy. Also, the owner’s policy will be shown as “optional” on both documents. Closing attorneys may look to real estate agents to assist them in explaining the value of owner’s title insurance.

4Line numbers have been removed and there are now seven fee areas on the Closing Disclosure. The familiar line numbering on the HUD-1 will disappear. Instead, the fees and charges are placed on the Closing Disclosure in one of seven areas:

  1. Origination charges;
  2. Services borrower did not shop for;
  3. Services borrower did shop for;
  4. Taxes and other government fees;
  5. Pre-paids;
  6. Initial escrow payment at closing; and
  7. Other.

Individual charges within each of these major groupings are listed alphabetically. Columns are provided to separate charges owed by the buyer, seller and others, as well as columns for payments before and at closing.

5Clients will likely receive more than one Closing Disclosure. Since the buyer will receive the Closing Disclosure several days before the closing (and likely before the walk-through), the buyer will likely receive a new, adjusted Closing Disclosure at the closing. The CFPB has also mandated that changes in the financial numbers in any amount, must be re-disclosed, even post-closing.

Good luck educating your referral sources!

Homeowners Win U.S. Supreme Court Mortgage Rescission Case

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money puzzleThe Court holds borrowers must only notify the lender, not sue, within three years

Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski refinanced their home in Eagan, Minnesota on February 23, 2007, by borrowing $611,000 from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. The borrowers received a Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”) disclosure and a Notice of Right to Cancel at the closing.

TILA allows a borrower to rescind a refinance loan on the borrower’s home within three days of the transaction, or until the lender has delivered the required number of disclosures. But there is a three-year time limit even if the lender still hasn’t provided the necessary loan disclosure documents.

Exactly three years after the closing, the Jesinoskis sent theright to cancel lender written notice that they wanted to rescind, saying they hadn’t received the required number of copies of the notice. The property was underwater at the time. The lender refused to cancel the mortgage, and the Jesinoskis sued.

On January 13, 2015, the Court ruled unanimously in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, that the borrowers need only notify the lender of the intent to rescind. The Court rejected the lender’s position that the borrower must take the additional step of filing suit within three years.

This issue is one that has arisen frequently in recent years with borrowers who are in default and facing foreclosure, and this case settles a split in lower courts over steps borrowers must take within the time limit.

house parachuteThe lending industry had supported the lender in this case, indicating the Jesinoskis’ position could cloud titles to properties and require lenders to sue borrowers instead of trying to work with them. Consumer groups had supported the Minnesota couple, indicating the right to rescind is an important protection for consumers against abusive lending practices.

The case was remanded to the Eighth Circuit for further proceedings. The ruling does not mean the borrowers will escape paying their mortgage, but this lawsuit has delayed the inevitable for many years. It is possible that the property is no longer underwater and that the borrowers may be able to refinance in this improving economy.

Don’t Expect Uniform Closing Procedures in 2015

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And … Bank of America makes a big announcement.

changes comingLenders will not collaborate on a standard and consistent process for closings under the new CFPB rules effective August 1, 2015, at least not according to Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo’s December 10, 2014 Settlement Agent Communication answered nine FAQs from settlement agents, the first of which sought confirmation on whether to expect standard closing procedures from lenders. Wells responded with a “no,” and stated that each lender is accountable and must determine its own method for achieving compliance.

This mega lender had announced on September 24 that it will control the generation and delivery of the buyer/borrower Closing Disclosure (“CD”), the form that will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. The stated rationale was that the new CD is governed by the Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”), not the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and the risks and penalties for lenders are more severe under TILA.

Bank of America announced on December 17 that it will follow suit by generating and delivering the buyer/borrower CD.  Both banks have indicated settlement agents will generate the seller’s CD. Other lenders have not announced whether they will follow this procedure. It is entirely possible that settlement agents (closing attorneys in South Carolina) will prepare the CDs for other lenders.

The December 10 memo did state that Wells will work closely with settlement agents to determine fees, prorations, and other content required for the CD and, importantly, Wells will not assume the responsibility for disbursing loans. This quote from the Communication provides some comfort with regard to Wells’ attitude about keeping local settlement agents involved in the closing process:

“The settlement agent is critical and continues to be responsible for executing the closing including document signing, notarization, disbursement of funds, document recordation and delivery of final documents post-closing.”

Also comforting was the promise of training plans for settlement agents in collaboration with American Land Title Association, title underwriters and other service providers. The plans are said to include many educational communications and an information guide.

Bank of America stated that it will use Closing Insight™, an industry tool developed by Real EC Technologies®. All documents, date and information will be exchanged through Closing Insight™, discontinuing the use of e-mail, fax and other document delivery methods.

Bank of America also indicated that the requirement for the buyer/borrower to receive the CD three business days prior to closing will intensify the need for the bank to work very closely with the settlement agent to schedule the details of the closing.

stay tunedFor more information about Real EC ® Technologies and Closing Insight™, Bank of America invited settlement agents to visit their website at www.bkfs.com/realec.  The December 17 memo indicated that many title and escrow production systems are working with RealEC® Technologies to enhance current integrations in support of Closing Insight™. The bank suggested that settlement agents reach out to their title and escrow production system provider directly.

Stay tuned!

Lions, and Tigers and Seller Financing, Oh My!

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If you are closing seller financed transactions on primary residences including contracts for deed (hereafter referred to as seller financing), or if you have clients who are accepting seller financing, you should take the time to educate yourself and your clients on the current pitfalls.  Please refer to Martha McConnell’s excellent article entitled Seller Financing – the New ‘Jabberwocky’!” in the Summer 2014 issue of Chicago Record Title for a detailed report on what has led to this serious concern.

lions1 Because it is a complicated issue, I am not sure I can express a bottom line in any kind of succinct manner, but I will attempt to do so here.

The CFPB has been given the power to supervise and regulate laws that impact seller financing, including the SAFE Act, TILA, the Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule, HOEPA and the Loan Originator Rule.

Under the applicable federal rules, it is possible that sellers engaging in seller financing may have to become licensed as “loan originators” or “mortgage brokers”.  The loans may have to be fully amortized, and it is possible that these seller/lenders may have to make determinations and disclosures that have not previously been required. Certain exclusions are available, but the rules are complex and detailed, and should be handled with care.

Inconsistencies between the federal and state versions of the SAFE Act, both of which require licensing and registration of loan originators, is another area of concern.

Clients who fail to become licensed or to fall into an exclusion may find they are unable to foreclose, and may, along with the attorneys who closed the transactions and the title policies that insured them, be subject to claims and litigation. In addition, the CFPB has broad enforcement powers including the power to impose civil monetary penalties ranging from $5,000 to $1 million per day.

This is an area of the law that is going to require monitoring and thought in the coming months. Legislation in South Carolina to address the inconsistencies in our version of the SAFE Act may be one avenue for improvement. In the meantime, please take great care if you or your clients venture into seller financing.