CFPB Issues Final Rule Regarding KBYO Federal Mortgage Disclosure Requirements

Summary of the Final Rule The TILA-RESPA Rule1 requires creditors to provide consumers with good faith estimates of the loan terms and closing costs required to be disclosed on a Loan Estimate. Under the rule, an estimated closing cost is disclosed in good faith if the charge paid by or imposed on the consumer does not exceed the amount originally disclosed, subject to certain exceptions. 2 In some circumstances, creditors may use revised estimates, instead of the estimate originally disclosed to the consumer, to compare to the charges actually paid by or imposed on the consumer for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. If the conditions for using such revised estimates are met, the creditor generally may provide revised estimates on a revised Loan Estimate or, in certain circumstances, on a Closing Disclosure. However, under the current rule, circumstances may arise in which a cost increases but the creditor is unable to use an otherwise permissible revised estimate on either a Loan Estimate or a Closing Disclosure for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. This situation, which may arise when the creditor has already provided a Closing Disclosure to the consumer when it learns about the cost increase, occurs because of the intersection of timing rules regarding the provision of revised estimates. This has been referred to in industry as a “gap” or “black hole” in the TILA-RESPA Rule.

The Bureau understands that these circumstances have led to uncertainty in the market and created implementation challenges that may have consequences for both consumers and creditors. If creditors cannot pass increased costs to consumers in the specific transactions where the costs arise, creditors may spread the costs across all consumers by pricing their loan products with added margins. The Bureau also understands that some creditors may be denying applications, even after providing the Closing Disclosure, in some circumstances where the creditor cannot pass otherwise permissible cost increases directly to affected consumers, which can have negative effects for those consumers. For these reasons, in July 2017, the Bureau proposed to address the issue by specifically providing that creditors may use Closing Disclosures to reflect changes in costs for purposes of determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith, regardless of when the Closing Disclosure is provided relative to consummation (2017 Proposal or “the proposal”). 3 The Bureau is finalizing those amendments as proposed, with minor clarifying changes.

II. Background In Dodd-Frank Act sections 1032(f), 1098, and 1100A, Congress directed the Bureau to integrate certain mortgage loan disclosures under TILA and RESPA.4 The Bureau issued proposed integrated disclosure forms and rules for comment on July 9, 2012 (2012 TILARESPA Proposal)5 and issued the 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule on November 20, 2013. The rule included model forms, samples illustrating the use of those forms for different types of loans, and Official Interpretations, which provided authoritative guidance explaining the new disclosures. The 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule took effect on October 3, 2015.6 The Bureau has provided resources to support implementation of the TILA-RESPA Rule.7 The Bureau has also stated its commitment to be sensitive to the good faith efforts made by institutions to come into compliance. In addition, since the promulgation of the 2013 TILARESPA Final Rule, the Bureau has made various amendments to facilitate compliance. Most recently, the Bureau finalized the July 2017 Amendments, which memorialized the Bureau’s informal guidance on various issues, made clarifying and technical amendments, and also made a limited number of substantive changes where the Bureau identified discrete solutions to specific implementation challenges. Concurrently with the July 2017 Amendments, the Bureau issued the 2017 Proposal to address an additional implementation issue regarding when a creditor may compare charges paid by or imposed on the consumer to amounts disclosed on a Closing Disclosure to determine if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. III. Comments The Bureau issued the 2017 Proposal on July 6, 2017, and it was published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2017. In response to the 2017 Proposal, the Bureau received 43 unique comments from industry commenters (including trade associations, creditors, and industry representatives), a consumer advocate group, and others. As discussed below, the Bureau has considered the comments in adopting this final rule.

IV. Legal Authority The Bureau is issuing this final rule pursuant to its authority under TILA, RESPA, and the Dodd-Frank Act, including the authorities discussed below. In general, the provisions of Regulation Z that this final rule amends were previously adopted by the Bureau in the TILARESPA Rule. In doing so, the Bureau relied on one or more of the authorities discussed below, as well as other authority. The Bureau is issuing this final rule in reliance on the same authority and for the same reasons relied on in adopting the relevant provisions of the TILA-RESPA Rule, which are described in detail in the Legal Authority and Section-by-Section Analysis parts of the 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule and January 2015 Amendments, respectively.8 A. The Integrated Disclosure Mandate Section 1032(f) of the Dodd-Frank Act required the Bureau to propose, for public comment, rules and model disclosures combining the disclosures required under TILA and sections 4 and 5 of RESPA into a single, integrated disclosure for mortgage loan transactions covered by those laws, unless the Bureau determined that any proposal issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) carried out the same purpose.9 In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act amended section 105(b) of TILA and section 4(a) of RESPA to require the integration of the TILA disclosures and the disclosures required by sections 4 and 5 of RESPA.10 The purpose of the integrated disclosure is to facilitate compliance with the disclosure requirements of TILA and RESPA and to improve borrower understanding of the transaction. The Bureau provided

B. Truth in Lending Act TILA section 105(a). As amended by the Dodd-Frank Act, TILA section 105(a)12 directs the Bureau to prescribe regulations to carry out the purposes of TILA and provides that such regulations may contain additional requirements, classifications, differentiations, or other provisions and may further provide for such adjustments and exceptions for all or any class of transactions that the Bureau judges are necessary or proper to effectuate the purposes of TILA, to prevent circumvention or evasion thereof, or to facilitate compliance therewith. A purpose of TILA is to assure a meaningful disclosure of credit terms so that the consumer will be able to compare more readily the various available credit terms and avoid the uninformed use of credit.13 In enacting TILA, Congress found that economic stabilization would be enhanced and the competition among the various financial institutions and other firms engaged in the extension of consumer credit would be strengthened by the informed use of credit.14 Strengthened competition among financial institutions is a goal of TILA, achieved through the meaningful disclosure of credit terms.15 For the reasons discussed below and in the TILA-RESPA Rule, the Bureau finalizes these amendments pursuant to its authority under TILA section 105(a). The Bureau believes the finalized amendments effectuate the purpose of TILA under TILA section

102(a) of meaningful disclosure of credit terms to consumers and facilitate compliance with the statute by clarifying when particular disclosures may be provided. The Bureau also believes that the final rule furthers TILA’s goals by ensuring more reliable estimates, which foster competition among financial institutions. In addition, the Bureau believes the final rule will prevent circumvention or evasion of TILA. TILA section 129B(e). Dodd-Frank Act section 1405(a) amended TILA to add new section 129B(e).16 That section authorizes the Bureau to prohibit or condition terms, acts, or practices relating to residential mortgage loans that the Bureau finds to be abusive, unfair, deceptive, predatory, necessary, or proper to ensure that responsible, affordable mortgage credit remains available to consumers in a manner consistent with the purposes of sections 129B and 129C of TILA, to prevent circumvention or evasion thereof, or to facilitate compliance with such sections, or are not in the interest of the borrower. In developing rules under TILA section 129B(e), the Bureau has considered whether the rules are in the interest of the borrower, as required by the statute. For the reasons discussed below and in the TILA-RESPA Rule, the Bureau finalizes these amendments pursuant to its authority under TILA section 129B(e). The Bureau believes this final rule is consistent with TILA section 129B(e). C. Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Section 19(a) Section 19(a) of RESPA authorizes the Bureau to prescribe such rules and regulations and to make such interpretations and grant such reasonable exemptions for classes of transactions as may be necessary to achieve the purposes of RESPA.17 One purpose of RESPA

is to effect certain changes in the settlement process for residential real estate that will result in more effective advance disclosure to home buyers and sellers of settlement costs.18 In addition, in enacting RESPA, Congress found that consumers are entitled to greater and more timely information on the nature and costs of the settlement process and to be protected from unnecessarily high settlement charges caused by certain abusive practices in some areas of the country.19 In developing rules under RESPA section 19(a), the Bureau has considered the purposes of RESPA, including to effect certain changes in the settlement process that will result in more effective advance disclosure of settlement costs. The Bureau finalizes these amendments pursuant to its authority under RESPA section 19(a). For the reasons discussed below and in the TILA-RESPA Rule, the Bureau believes the final rule is consistent with the purposes of RESPA by fostering more effective advance disclosure to home buyers and sellers of settlement costs. D. Dodd-Frank Act Dodd-Frank Act section 1032. Section 1032(a) of the Dodd-Frank Act provides that the Bureau may prescribe rules to ensure that the features of any consumer financial product or service, both initially and over the term of the product or service, are fully, accurately, and effectively disclosed to consumers in a manner that permits consumers to understand the costs, benefits, and risks associated with the product or service, in light of the facts and circumstances.20 The authority granted to the Bureau in section 1032(a) is broad and empowers the Bureau to prescribe rules regarding the disclosure of the features of consumer financial

products and services generally. Accordingly, the Bureau may prescribe rules containing disclosure requirements even if other Federal consumer financial laws do not specifically require disclosure of such features. Dodd-Frank Act section 1032(c) provides that, in prescribing rules pursuant to section 1032, the Bureau shall consider available evidence about consumer awareness, understanding of, and responses to disclosures or communications about the risks, costs, and benefits of consumer financial products or services.21 Accordingly, in developing the TILA-RESPA Rule under Dodd-Frank Act section 1032(a), the Bureau considered available studies, reports, and other evidence about consumer awareness, understanding of, and responses to disclosures or communications about the risks, costs, and benefits of consumer financial products or services. Moreover, the Bureau considered the evidence developed through its consumer testing of the integrated disclosures as well as prior testing done by the Board and HUD regarding TILA and RESPA disclosures. See part III of the 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule for a discussion of the Bureau’s consumer testing.22 The Bureau finalizes these amendments pursuant to its authority under Dodd-Frank Act section 1032(a). For the reasons discussed below and in the TILA-RESPA Rule, the Bureau believes that the final rule is consistent with Dodd-Frank Act section 1032(a) because it promotes full, accurate, and effective disclosure of the features of consumer credit transactions secured by real property in a manner that permits consumers to understand the costs, benefits, and risks associated with the product or service, in light of the facts and circumstances.

Dodd-Frank Act section 1405(b). Section 1405(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of title XIV of the Dodd-Frank Act, in order to improve consumer awareness and understanding of transactions involving residential mortgage loans through the use of disclosures, the Bureau may exempt from or modify disclosure requirements, in whole or in part, for any class of residential mortgage loans if the Bureau determines that such exemption or modification is in the interest of consumers and in the public interest.23 Section 1401 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amends TILA section 103(cc)(5), generally defines a residential mortgage loan as any consumer credit transaction that is secured by a mortgage on a dwelling or on residential real property that includes a dwelling, other than an open-end credit plan or an extension of credit secured by a consumer’s interest in a timeshare plan.24 Notably, the authority granted by section 1405(b) applies to disclosure requirements generally and is not limited to a specific statute or statutes. Accordingly, Dodd-Frank Act section 1405(b) is a broad source of authority to exempt from or modify the disclosure requirements of TILA and RESPA. In developing rules for residential mortgage loans under Dodd-Frank Act section 1405(b), the Bureau has considered the purposes of improving consumer awareness and understanding of transactions involving residential mortgage loans through the use of disclosures and the interests of consumers and the public. The Bureau finalizes these amendments pursuant to its authority under Dodd-Frank Act section 1405(b). For the reasons discussed below and in the TILARESPA Rule, the Bureau believes the final rule is in the interest of consumers and in the public interest, consistent with Dodd-Frank Act section 1405(b).

V. Section-by-Section Analysis Section 1026.19 Certain Mortgage and Variable-Rate Transactions 19(e) Mortgage Loans – Early Disclosures 19(e)(4) Provision and Receipt of Revised Disclosures The 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule combined certain disclosures that consumers receive in connection with applying for and closing on a mortgage loan into two new, integrated forms. The first new form, the Loan Estimate, replaced the RESPA Good Faith Estimate and the early Truth in Lending disclosure. The rule requires creditors to deliver or place in the mail the Loan Estimate no later than three business days after the consumer submits a loan application.25 The second form, the Closing Disclosure, replaced the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final Truth in Lending disclosure. The rule requires creditors to ensure that consumers receive the Closing Disclosure at least three business days before consummation.26 Section 1026.19(e)(1)(i) of the 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule requires creditors to provide consumers with good faith estimates of the disclosures required in § 1026.37, which describes the loan terms and closing costs required to be disclosed on the Loan Estimate. Under § 1026.19(e)(3)(i), an estimated closing cost is disclosed in good faith if the charge paid by or imposed on the consumer does not exceed the amount originally disclosed, except as otherwise provided in § 1026.19(e)(3)(ii) through (iv). Section 1026.19(e)(3)(ii) provides that estimates for certain third-party services and recording fees are in good faith if the sum of all such charges paid by or imposed on the consumer does not exceed the sum of all such charges disclosed on the

Loan Estimate by more than 10 percent.27 Section 1026.19(e)(3)(iii) further provides that certain other estimates are disclosed in good faith so long as they are consistent with the best information reasonably available to the creditor at the time they are disclosed, regardless of whether and by how much the amount paid by the consumer exceeds the disclosed estimate. 28 The allowed variances between estimated closing costs and the actual amounts paid by or imposed on the consumer are referred to as tolerances. Section 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) permits creditors, in certain limited circumstances, to use revised estimates of charges, instead of the estimate of charges originally disclosed to the consumer, to compare to the charges actually paid by or imposed on the consumer for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(3)(i) and (ii) (i.e., determining whether the actual charge exceeds the allowed tolerance). 29 The provision of such revised estimates is referred to herein as resetting tolerances. The circumstances under which creditors may reset tolerances are: (1) a defined set of changed circumstances that cause estimated charges to increase or, in the case of certain estimated charges, cause the aggregate amount of such charges to increase by more than 10 percent; 30 (2)

the consumer is ineligible for an estimated charge previously disclosed because of a changed circumstance that affects the consumer’s creditworthiness or the value of the property securing the transaction; (3) the consumer requests revisions to the credit terms or the settlement that cause an estimated charge to increase; (4) points or lender credits change because the interest rate was not locked when the Loan Estimate was provided; (5) the consumer indicates an intent to proceed with the transaction more than 10 business days, or more than any additional number of days specified by the creditor before the offer expires, after the Loan Estimate was provided to the consumer; and (6) the loan is a construction loan that is not expected to close until more than 60 days after the Loan Estimate has been provided to the consumer and the creditor clearly and conspicuously states that a revised disclosure may be issued. Section 1026.19(e)(4) contains rules for the provision and receipt of revised estimates used to reset tolerances. Section 1026.19(e)(4)(i) provides the general rule that, subject to the requirements of § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii), if a creditor uses a revised estimate to determine good faith (i.e., to reset tolerances), the creditor shall provide a Loan Estimate reflecting the revised estimate within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish that a permissible reason for revision applies. Section 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) imposes timing restrictions on the provision of revised Loan Estimates. Specifically, § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) states that the creditor shall not provide a revised Loan Estimate on or after the date on which the creditor provides the Closing Disclosure. Section 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) also provides that the consumer must receive any revised Loan Estimate not later than four business days prior to consummation.

Regulation Z therefore limits creditors’ ability to provide revised Loan Estimates relative to the provision of the Closing Disclosure and to consummation. In issuing the 2013 TILARESPA Final Rule, the Bureau explained that it was aware of cases where creditors provided revised RESPA Good Faith Estimates at the real estate closing, along with the HUD-1 settlement statement.31 The Bureau was concerned that the practice of providing both good faith estimates of closing costs and an actual statement of closing costs at the same time could be confusing for consumers and could diminish their awareness and understanding of the transaction. The Bureau was also concerned about consumers receiving seemingly duplicative disclosures that could contribute to information overload. For this reason, the Bureau adopted the provision of § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) that prohibits creditors from providing revised Loan Estimates on or after the date the creditor provides the Closing Disclosure. The Bureau adopted the provision of § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) that requires that consumers receive the revised Loan Estimate not later than four business days prior to consummation to ensure that consumers do not receive a revised Loan Estimate on the same date as the Closing Disclosure in cases where the revised Loan Estimate is not provided to the consumer in person. Comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1 clarifies when creditors may reset tolerances with a Closing Disclosure instead of with a revised Loan Estimate. Specifically, the comment explains that if there are fewer than four business days between the time the revised version of the disclosures is required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) (i.e., within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish a reason for revision) and consummation, creditors

can reflect revised disclosures to reset tolerances on the Closing Disclosure. This is referred to herein as the “four-business day limit.” Although the Bureau originally proposed commentary in 2012 that would have stated that creditors may reflect the revised disclosures on the Closing Disclosure, without regard to the timing of consummation, the 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule contained the four-business day limit. 32 As stated in the 2017 Proposal, the Bureau now understands that there is significant confusion in the market and that the four-business day limit has caused situations where creditors cannot provide either a revised Loan Estimate or Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances even if a reason for revision under § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) would otherwise permit the creditor to reset tolerances. In particular, the Bureau understands that this situation may occur if the creditor has already provided the Closing Disclosure and an event occurs or a consumer requests a change that causes an increase in closing costs that would be a reason for revision under § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv), but there are four or more days between the time the revised disclosures would be required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and consummation. This situation may occur if there was also a delay in the scheduled consummation date after the initial Closing Disclosure is provided to the consumer. This situation can arise because of the intersection of various timing rules regarding the provision of revised estimates to reset tolerances. As noted, § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) prohibits creditors from providing Loan Estimates on or after the date on which the creditor provides the Closing Disclosure. In many cases, this limitation would not create issues for creditors because

32 See proposed comment 19(e)(4)-2 at 77 FR 51116, 51426 (Aug. 23, 2012) (“Creditors comply with the requirements of § 1026.19(e)(4) if the revised disclosures are reflected in the disclosures required by § 1026.19(f)(1)(i).”).

current comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1 explains that creditors may reflect revised estimates on a Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances if there are less than four business days between the time the revised version of the disclosures is required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and consummation. But there is no similar provision that explicitly provides that creditors may use a Closing Disclosure to reflect the revised estimates if there are four or more business days between the time the revised version of the disclosures is required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and consummation. The 2016 Proposal On July 28, 2016, the Bureau proposed clarifications and technical amendments to the TILA-RESPA Rule, along with several proposed substantive changes (2016 Proposal).33 In the 2016 Proposal, the Bureau proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2 to clarify that creditors may use corrected Closing Disclosures provided under § 1026.19(f)(2)(i) or (ii) (in addition to the initial Closing Disclosure) to reflect changes in costs that will be used to reset tolerances.34 As discussed above, existing comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1 clarifies that creditors may reflect revised estimates on the Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances if there are less than four business days between the time the revised version of the disclosures is required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and consummation. Although comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1 expressly references only the Closing Disclosure required by § 1026.19(f)(1)(i), the Bureau had stated in informal guidance that the provision also applies to corrected Closing Disclosures provided pursuant to

1026.19(f)(2)(i) or (ii). The Bureau proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2 in the 2016 Proposal to clarify this point. However, some commenters to the 2016 Proposal interpreted proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2 as allowing creditors to use corrected Closing Disclosures to reset tolerances regardless of when consummation is expected to occur, as long as the creditor provides the corrected Closing Disclosure within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish a reason for revision applies pursuant to § 1029.19(e)(4)(i). Under this interpretation, the four-business day limit would still apply to resetting tolerances with the initial Closing Disclosure, but would not apply to resetting tolerances with a corrected Closing Disclosure. Commenters were not uniform in their interpretation of proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2. Commenters who interpreted proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2 as removing the four-business day limit as it applies to corrected Closing Disclosures were generally supportive, citing uncertainty about the proper interpretation of current rules and stating that the timing rules regarding resetting tolerances with a Closing Disclosure are unworkable. Many commenters perceived that proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2 would resolve these issues because they interpreted it as allowing creditors to use corrected Closing Disclosures to reset tolerances even if there are four or more business days between the time the revised version of the disclosures is required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and consummation. Some commenters who interpreted the proposed comment in this way supported it, but also cautioned about unintended consequences. For example, some commenters stated that eliminating the fourbusiness day limit for corrected Closing Disclosures might remove a disincentive that currently exists under the rule from providing the initial Closing Disclosure extremely early in the  mortgage origination process, which these commenters stated would not be consistent with the Bureau’s intent that the Closing Disclosure be a statement of actual costs. The 2017 Proposal The Bureau did not finalize proposed comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-2 as part of the July 2017 Amendments. Instead, the Bureau issued the 2017 Proposal to amend § 1026.19(e)(4) and associated commentary to expressly remove the four-business day limit for providing Closing Disclosures for purposes of resetting tolerances and determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. The Bureau issued the 2017 Proposal in light of comments received in response to the 2016 Proposal and prior outreach indicating that timing rules regarding resetting tolerances with Closing Disclosures have led to uncertainty in the market and created implementation challenges that could have unintended consequences for both consumers and creditors, as explained above. Consistent with current comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1, the proposal would have allowed creditors to reset tolerances by providing a Closing Disclosure (including any corrected disclosures provided under § 1026.19(f)(2)(i) or (ii)) within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish that a reason for revision applies. Unlike current comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1, however, the proposal would not have restricted the creditor’s ability to reset tolerances with a Closing Disclosure to the period of less than four business days between the time the revised version of the disclosures is required to be provided pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and consummation. In the proposal, the Bureau explained that it believes that, in most cases in which a creditor learns about cost increases that are a permissible reason to reset tolerances, the creditor will not yet have provided a Closing Disclosure to the consumer. The proposal explained that, to 19 the extent there is a cost increase of a type that would allow tolerances to be reset, the Bureau expects that creditors will typically provide a revised Loan Estimate (and not a Closing Disclosure) for the purpose of resetting tolerances and that these revised Loan Estimates will be used in determining good faith under § 1026.19(e)(3)(i) and (ii). However, there are circumstances in which creditors will instead reset tolerances with a Closing Disclosure. For example, the proposal noted that events that can affect closing costs may occur close to the time of consummation, even after the initial Closing Disclosure has been provided to the consumer. The proposal also noted that events may result in consummation being delayed past the time that was expected when the creditor provided the Closing Disclosure to the consumer. Some events can both affect closing costs and lead to a delay in consummation. These events may be outside the control of the creditor and, in some cases, requested by the consumer. The proposal cited as examples weather-related events that delay closing and lead to additional appraisal or inspection costs or illness by a buyer or seller that could delay closing and lead to the imposition of additional costs, such as a rate lock extension fee. In these circumstances, creditors may wish to reset tolerances with a Closing Disclosure even outside the time permitted by the four-business day limit. If creditors cannot pass these increased costs to consumers in the specific transactions where they arise, creditors may spread the costs across all consumers by pricing their loan products with added margins. The proposal also noted that some creditors may be seeking other ways to avoid absorbing these unexpected costs, such as denying applications from consumers, even after providing the consumer a Closing Disclosure. For these reasons, the Bureau proposed to allow creditors to reset tolerances using a Closing Disclosure without regard to the four-business day limit. Under the proposal, as under the current rule, to reset tolerances with a Closing Disclosure, creditors would have been 20 required to provide the Closing Disclosure to the consumer within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish that a reason for revision applies. Further, as under the current rule, creditors would have been allowed to reset tolerances only under the limited circumstances described in § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv). The proposal would have removed the four-business day limit for resetting tolerances with both initial and corrected Closing Disclosures. The proposal cited two reasons for this approach. First, the proposal noted a concern that applying the four-business day limit to initial Closing Disclosures but not corrected Closing Disclosures could incentivize creditors to provide consumers with initial Closing Disclosures very early in the lending process, which in some circumstances might be inconsistent with the description of the Closing Disclosure as a “statement of the final loan terms and closing costs,”35 and the requirement under § 1026.19(f)(1)(i) that the disclosures on the Closing Disclosure are to be a statement of “the actual terms of the transaction.” Second, the proposal noted that applying the four-business day limit to initial Closing Disclosures but not corrected Closing Disclosures could create operational challenges and burden for creditors. Accordingly, the Bureau proposed to amend § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) to provide that, subject to the requirements of § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii), if a creditor uses a revised estimate pursuant to § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) for the purpose of determining good faith under § 1026.19(e)(3)(i) and (ii), the creditor shall provide a revised version of the disclosures required under § 1026.19(e)(1)(i) or the disclosures required under § 1026.19(f)(1)(i) (including any corrected disclosures provided 35 12 CFR 1026.38(a)(2). 21 under § 1026.19(f)(2)(i) or (ii)) reflecting the revised estimate within three business days of receiving information sufficient to establish that one of the reasons for revision applies. The Bureau also proposed to amend comment 19(e)(4)(ii)-1 to remove the reference to the four-business day limit, for consistency with the proposed amendments to § 1026.19(e)(4)(i). In addition, the proposal would have amended the comment to provide two additional examples that further clarify how creditors may provide revised estimates on Closing Disclosures in lieu of Loan Estimates for purposes of determining good faith. The Bureau also proposed conforming amendments to the heading of § 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) and to comments 19(e)(1)(ii)-1 and 19(e)(4)(i)- 1 in light of these proposed amendments. Finally, the proposal would have made several changes to § 1026.19(e)(4) and its commentary to reflect amendments to the rule made by the January 2015 Amendments regarding interest rate dependent charges. Section 1026.19(e)(3)(iv)(D), as adopted by the 2013 TILARESPA Final Rule, previously required creditors to provide the consumer with a revised disclosure with the revised interest rate, the points disclosed pursuant to § 1026.37(f)(1), lender credits, and any other interest rate dependent charges and terms on the date the interest rate is locked. The January 2015 Amendments changed § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv)(D) to provide creditors with more time (three business days) to provide the revised disclosures. This amendment harmonized the timing requirement in § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv)(D) with other timing requirements for providing a revised Loan Estimate adopted in the 2013 TILA-RESPA Final Rule and addressed operational challenges associated with the prior requirement that gave creditors less time to provide revised disclosures regarding interest rate dependent charges. To implement this change, the Bureau revised § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv)(D) to state that, no later than three business days after the date the interest rate is locked, the creditor shall provide a revised version of the disclosures 22 required under § 1026.19(e)(1)(i) to the consumer with the revised interest rate, the points disclosed pursuant to § 1026.37(f)(1), lender credits, and any other interest rate dependent charges and terms. In the January 2015 Amendments, the Bureau also adopted modified versions of proposed comments 19(e)(3)(iv)(D)-1 and 19(e)(4)(i)-2 to reflect that change. To further reflect the changes made by the January 2015 Amendments to § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv)(D), the Bureau proposed to amend § 1026.19(e)(4)(i) and comment 19(e)(4)(i)-1. The Bureau also proposed to remove existing comment 19(e)(4)(i)-2, regarding the relationship to § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv)(D), which the proposal stated may no longer be necessary. The Bureau solicited comment on several specific issues related to the proposal, including on the extent to which the four-business day limit has caused situations where creditors cannot provide either a revised Loan Estimate or Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances even if a reason for revision under § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) would otherwise permit the creditor to reset tolerances. The Bureau requested information on the frequency and the cause of such occurrences and on the average costs and the nature of such costs associated with such occurrences. The Bureau also requested information that would assist in evaluating potential consequences of the proposal. In particular, some commenters in response to the 2016 Proposal expressed concern that removal of the four-business day limit could result in some creditors providing Closing Disclosures very early in the lending process and that doing so could have negative effects on some consumers. The proposal noted the Bureau’s understanding that some creditors currently provide the Closing Disclosure to consumers so early in the process that the terms and costs are nearly certain to be revised. Commenters stated in response to the 2016 Proposal that eliminating the four-business day limit for resetting tolerances with a Closing 23 Disclosure could remove a disincentive to providing Closing Disclosures before final terms and costs are reliably available (i.e., under the current rule, waiting to provide the Closing Disclosure until close to the time of consummation decreases, to some extent, the likelihood of a timing issue arising with respect to resetting tolerances with corrected Closing Disclosures). Accordingly, the Bureau requested comment on the extent to which creditors are providing Closing Disclosures to consumers so that they are received substantially before the required three business days prior to consummation with terms and costs that are nearly certain to be revised. The Bureau requested comment on the number of business days before consummation consumers are receiving the Closing Disclosure and whether creditors are issuing corrected Closing Disclosures pursuant to § 1026.19(f)(2). In addition, the Bureau requested comment on the extent to which creditors might change their practices regarding provision of the Closing Disclosure if the proposal to remove the four-business day limit is adopted. The Bureau also requested comment on potential harms to consumers where creditors provide Closing Disclosures to consumers so that they are received more than the required three business days prior to consummation with terms and costs that are nearly certain to be revised. The Bureau additionally requested comment on whether it should consider adopting measures to prevent such harms in a future rulemaking. The Bureau also requested comment on other potential consequences that might result from removing the four-business day limit that applies to resetting tolerances with a Closing Disclosure. For example, compared to current rules, the proposed changes could allow creditors to pass more costs on to consumers. The Bureau solicited comment on whether the circumstances for resetting tolerances in § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) provide sufficient protection against potential consumer harm or whether additional limitations are appropriate for resetting tolerances 24 after the issuance of a Closing Disclosure. For example, the Bureau requested comment on whether it would be appropriate to allow creditors to reset tolerances with a corrected Closing Disclosure in circumstances that are more limited than those described in § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) (for example, only when the increased costs result from a consumer request or unforeseeable event, such as a natural disaster). The Bureau also requested comment on whether the rule should be more restrictive with respect to resetting tolerances with a corrected Closing Disclosure for certain third-party costs (such as appraisal fees) and creditor fees (such as interest rate lock extension fees) and the types of costs and fees that might be subject to any more restrictive rules. The Bureau also requested comment on whether removing the four-business day limit might result in confusion or information overload to the consumer as a result of receiving more corrected Closing Disclosures. The Bureau requested comment on additional consumer protections that might be appropriate to promote the purposes of the disclosures or prevent circumvention or evasion and additional potential consumer harms the Bureau had not identified. Comments The Bureau received 43 unique comments from industry commenters (including trade associations, creditors, and industry representatives), a consumer advocate group, and others. Most industry commenters supported the proposal to remove the four-business day limit. These commenters generally stated that the four-business day limit arbitrarily leads to situations where creditors must absorb costs that could otherwise be passed to consumers through resetting tolerances, and that those costs are passed to all consumers in the form of an increased cost of credit. Industry commenters also noted legal and compliance risks associated with the uncertainty around current rules, and stated that this uncertainty has had an adverse impact on the cost of credit. These commenters supported the proposal because it would address these issues 25 by expressly permitting creditors to use either initial or corrected Closing Disclosures to reflect changes in costs for purposes of determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith, regardless of when the Closing Disclosure is provided relative to consummation. Other industry commenters, while generally supportive of the proposal, expressed concerns about unintended consequences and some suggested additional parameters or guidance around the timing or accuracy rules that apply to Closing Disclosures. These comments are discussed more fully below. Only one consumer advocate group commented on the proposal. That commenter urged the Bureau not to adopt the proposal, primarily citing concerns about consumer confusion and information overload. That commenter suggested that the proposal would lead to consumers receiving an increased number of disclosures, which the commenter believes would undermine the purpose of the Closing Disclosure and overwhelm consumers. The consumer advocate group commenter also stated that the proposal would remove the disincentive from providing Closing Disclosures to consumers very early, which the commenter believes would undermine the distinction between the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. Instead of finalizing the proposal, that commenter urged the Bureau to amend the rule to provide that a Closing Disclosure can only be given three business days before consummation, with redisclosure permitted thereafter only under the circumstances in § 1026.19(f)(2)(i) and (ii). One individual commenter expressed opposition to the proposal and urged the Bureau to increase the four-business day limit to a seven-business day limit, rather than eliminating it altogether, so as to retain a deterrent against early Closing Disclosures. An industry commenter opposed such an approach, stating that simply extending the four-business day limit to a larger number of days would not fully address current issues. 26 Numerous commenters responded to the Bureau’s specific requests for comment on issues related to the four-business day limit and the potential effects of the proposal. These comments are discussed below. The Effect of the Four-Business Day Limit As noted above, the proposal requested information on the extent to which the fourbusiness day limit has created situations where creditors cannot provide either a revised Loan Estimate or a corrected Closing Disclosure to reset tolerances. The proposal requested information on the frequency and the cause of such occurrences and on the average costs and the nature of such costs associated with such occurrences. Industry commenters generally stated that the four-business day limit has created compliance problems and imposed costs on creditors. One industry trade association commenter noted that a large creditor had reported tolerance cures of $60,000 in one month attributable to issues with the four-business day limit. That same commenter noted that a mid-sized creditor had reported that between 13 and 37 percent of its tolerance cures each month during a fivemonth period were attributable to the four-business day limit. The commenter also noted that absorbing such costs is more difficult for small creditors. Another commenter estimated costs incurred by creditors for some common events associated with the four-business day limit: $825 per affected loan for lock extension fees and a minimum of $150 per affected loan for property inspections due to weather events. Other commenters provided specific examples of problems created by the four-business day limit. For example, one industry commenter described a delay in the final construction of a home and a corresponding rate lock extension fee being incurred after the initial Closing Disclosure had been sent to the consumer six days before the originally scheduled consummation 27 date. That commenter noted another example of additional survey costs incurred due to a newly filed property lien during the six days before consummation. In both instances, the creditor absorbed the increased costs because of the four-business day limit. Another industry commenter provided other examples, including another instance of fees that were incurred due to issues discovered during a title search close to the consummation date. An industry trade association commenter noted that its member banks did not report the frequent need to reset tolerances in close proximity to consummation, but said that its members reported isolated situations of absorbing costs from valid changed circumstances, denying requests for changes to loan terms, or starting the loan process over rather than accommodating the change. Another industry commenter stated that it typically works with the same title companies and other service providers and does not price its loans to absorb costs associated with the four-business day limit. That commenter has not denied applications because of the inability to reset tolerances, but stated that it has heard reports of such occurrences at other creditors from potential customers, including that some consumers have lost home purchase contracts where applications are denied late in the process. Another industry commenter stated that it believes most lenders absorb the additional costs associated with the four-business day limit, rather than denying applications, due to concerns about customer service and the risk of delay. While not citing specific instances of problems with the four-business day limit, numerous other industry commenters stated that costs will frequently change after a Closing Disclosure has been provided to the consumer for reasons outside of the creditor’s control, or due to consumer requests, even if the initial Closing Disclosure is provided close to the anticipated time of consummation. Rate lock extension fees were the fee type most frequently cited as being 28 associated with such cost changes. Several industry commenters also noted that consumers may request changes to interest rates and lender credits or points after the initial Closing Disclosure has been provided to the consumer. Another commenter noted that the four-business day limit is 29 Bureau’s intent that the Closing Disclosure act as a statement of final loan terms and closing costs. One industry commenter stated that it would be possible for a creditor to set up a process that would allow it to issue a Closing Disclosure earlier, while still containing accurate loan terms. That commenter suggested holding creditors responsible for having adequate policies and procedures to ensure that the disclosure is representative of the loan terms and actual costs known at the time of delivery. Some commenters, including both industry commenters and the consumer advocate group commenter, expressed concern that the proposal could incentivize creditors to provide Closing Disclosures earlier in the process. One industry commenter stated that creditors who do provide Closing Disclosures very early may be at a competitive advantage to those that do not. Another industry commenter stated a concern that some creditors might issue Closing Disclosures very early to appear more efficient than their competitors. Another industry commenter indicated that some creditors issue Closing Disclosures very early to provide more flexibility with scheduling closing, and noted that the four-business day limit provides a disincentive against the practice. As discussed below, some commenters who stated that the proposal could incentivize creditors to provide Closing Disclosures earlier also expressed concern that such a practice could have a detrimental effect on consumer understanding of the transaction. One industry commenter stated that it currently provides the Closing Disclosure three business days before consummation, but noted that it would likely provide the first Closing Disclosure a week earlier if the proposal is finalized. This commenter asserted that such a practice would give consumers additional time to review the Closing Disclosure and ask questions. Some commenters noted that they provide Closing Disclosures close to the time of 30 consummation and did not express that their practices would change. Other industry commenters generally stated that concerns that removing the four-business day limit would incentivize creditors to provide Closing Disclosures early are unfounded because early provision of the Closing Disclosure would be difficult to accomplish while meeting the requirements to act in good faith and exercise due diligence, and would create additional work for creditors and cause confusion for consumers. One industry trade association commenter noted that some of its member banks had expressed that providing Closing Disclosures early does not provide any advantage, because there is a high likelihood that the disclosure will undergo revisions. Closing Disclosure Timing and Consumer Understanding The Bureau requested comment on potential harms to consumers when creditors provide Closing Disclosures so that they are received more than the required three business days prior to consummation with terms and costs that are nearly certain to be revised, including potential confusion or information overload to the consumer as a result of receiving more corrected Closing Disclosures. The Bureau also requested comment on whether it should consider adopting measures to prevent such harms in a future rulemaking. Some commenters stated that the proposal could result in consumer confusion because it would remove the current disincentive to providing Closing Disclosures well before the required three business days prior to consummation, which they assert would result in earlier, and therefore more frequent, Closing Disclosures. For example, the consumer advocate group commenter expressed concern that the proposal would encourage creditors to provide Closing Disclosures very early in the lending process, which would result in more Closing Disclosures and be confusing for consumers. That commenter explained that creditors are permitted to issue multiple Loan Estimates, including Loan Estimates that do not reset tolerances. The commenter 31 expressed concern that the proposal could increase consumer confusion by encouraging multiple Closing Disclosures, and that consumers will not know which versions of the disclosures to compare. The consumer advocate group commenter also stated that consumers may become desensitized to the need to read disclosures carefully if they receive frequent Closing Disclosures. The commenter stated that increases in costs may eventually exceed what the consumer is willing to pay, which would cause them to shop with other lenders. However, if consumers are desensitized to changes, the commenter argued that consumers will be less likely to withdraw from the transaction. The consumer advocate group commenter further stated that the proposal would encourage creditors to provide Closing Disclosures that are not intended to reset tolerances, which the commenter asserted will be confusing for consumers. Several industry commenters also stated that the proposal could potentially increase consumer confusion by incentivizing earlier, and therefore more frequent, Closing Disclosures. Several commenters, including an industry trade association commenter, similarly stated that too many disclosure updates could work against consumer understanding, because consumers might ignore the disclosures and would not know which ones to use for comparison purposes. An industry commenter stated that consumers would be confused when receiving a Closing Disclosure very early and that consumers could be confused by a Closing Disclosure that purports to be a statement of final loan terms and closing costs, but is only an estimate of costs. That commenter noted that not all changes to the loan will require creditors to reset tolerances and that consumers who receive Closing Disclosures very early may not receive corrected Closing Disclosures until consummation if there are no changes that occur that would cause the creditor to reset tolerances (or one of the triggering events in § 1026.19(f)(2)(ii) occurs, which would require a new disclosure and three-day waiting period). The commenter stated that this 32 would be contrary to the purpose of the requirement to receive the Closing Disclosure three business days before consummation. Other commenters stated that the proposal would not create consumer confusion. Some industry commenters stated that the proposal would not diminish consumer understanding because creditors would remain able to reset tolerances only as permitted under § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv) and that there would not be a large increase in the number of Closing Disclosures. One industry commenter stated that consumers should not experience confusion or information overload, as it would be no different from consumers receiving revised Loan Estimates. That commenter also stated that it expects lenders to communicate with consumers to address any confusion. Another industry commenter similarly suggested that consumers might benefit from earlier Closing Disclosures and the creditor’s flexibility to issue corrected Closing Disclosures because it would facilitate a more transparent process. Some industry commenters asserted that consumers could benefit from receiving Closing Disclosures earlier in the process because they would have additional time to review the information that does not appear on the Loan Estimate. With respect to additional protections to avoid potential consumer harms associated with removing the four-business day limit, several commenters who supported the proposal also suggested that the Bureau address Closing Disclosure timing or accuracy rules, because of concerns about potential effects of the proposed rule or to address uncertainty about current rules. With respect to timing, an industry commenter requested clarification as to whether creditors can reset tolerances using a Closing Disclosure after issuing an initial Loan Estimate but without ever issuing any revised Loan Estimate. To maintain the disincentive against providing Closing Disclosures very early, an individual commenter suggested that the Bureau 33 expand the window of time prior to consummation during which a creditor can reset tolerances with a Closing Disclosure from four business days to seven business days. Another commenter noted that merely expanding that time window by a limited number of days would only partially address the problems discussed in the proposal, and did not favor that approach. The consumer advocate group commenter suggested that the rule should provide that the Closing Disclosure can only be given no more than three business days before consummation. An anonymous commenter advised that, in addition to removing the four-business day limit for resetting tolerances with a Closing Disclosure, the Bureau should also adopt a new prohibition on providing Closing Disclosures unless the creditor reasonably anticipates that the transaction will close within ten business days. An industry commenter stated that the Bureau’s supervision process could emphasize scrutiny of potentially unnecessary iterations of corrected Closing Disclosures. The commenter suggested that, as an alternative, the Bureau create a new timing requirement for resetting tolerances with a corrected Closing Disclosure, whereby any and all changes to the Closing Disclosure for resetting tolerances would be made at only one specific point in time during a transaction. Meanwhile, several commenters supported removing the timing restriction on resetting tolerances with a Closing Disclosure and stated that the Bureau should not place new timing limitations on providing Closing Disclosures. One commenter noted that the rule’s current accuracy standard is already a deterrent against providing very early Closing Disclosures because it requires that the creditor, acting in good faith, exercise due diligence in obtaining the information. With respect to Closing Disclosure accuracy, one industry commenter stated that, in addition to removing the time limit for resetting tolerances with a Closing Disclosure, the Bureau should either apply a stricter accuracy standard to the Closing Disclosure or clarify the current

 

Source: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_tila-respa_final-rule_amendments-to-federal-mortgage-disclosure-requirements.pdf

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