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CFPB Takes Action on Housing Matters During Coronavirus Crisis

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken several actions this week in an effort to assist consumers affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic with housing matters, including issuing a final rule on data reporting thresholds under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and partnering with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on a borrower protection program.

The Bureau also expressed its support for deferral of appraisals and evaluations on affected real estate transactions, and aimed to streamline the payments Americans receive from the recent passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act. This is according to official press releases issued by the CFPB this week.

The final HMDA rule announced this week raises the loan-volume coverage thresholds for financial institutions reporting data under HMDA, the Bureau said on Thursday.

“The final rule, amending Regulation C, increases the permanent threshold for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans from 25 to 100 loans effective July 1, 2020,” the relevant statement reads. “The final rule will also amend Regulation C to increase the permanent threshold for collecting and reporting data about open-end lines of credit from 100 to 200, effective January 1, 2022, when the current temporary threshold of 500 of open-end lines of credit expires.”

The Bureau anticipates that this final rule will relieve a regulatory burden on smaller institutions affected by the pandemic, and will better allow them to meet the needs of consumers, the statement reads.

CFPB also announced a joint initiative that enables CFPB and FHFA to share servicing information to protect borrowers during the course of the national emergency, called the “borrower protection program.” Under the program, the CFPB and FHFA will share information with each other: CFPB will make complaint information and analytical tools available to FHFA, while FHFA will make available to CFPB information about forbearances, modifications and other loss mitigation initiatives undertaken by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Through the partnership being announced [Wednesday], the Bureau will share our insights with FHFA and ensure we get their data on how mortgage servicers are working with their customers during this critical time and going forward,” said CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger in a statement.

Federal banking agencies are also deferring certain appraisals and evaluations for up to 120 days after the closing of residential or commercial real estate loan transactions, which the CFPB expressed support for on Tuesday. Those agencies, along with the CFPB and others issued a joint statement to address issues concerning appraisals and evaluations for real estate transactions affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the CFPB announced that it had undertaken efforts to ease the process for people to receive pandemic-relief payments which were authorized in the recent CARES Act legislation through prepaid accounts.

“In these unprecedented times, policymakers are acting swiftly to provide consumers with needed financial support through new mechanisms and for new purposes outside of existing government benefit programs,” said Director Kraninger. “The steps we are taking today ensure that consumers can receive these payments in a fast, secure, and efficient manner.”

See the releases at the CFPB Newsroom.