On May 29, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized rules to facilitate access to credit by creating specific exemptions and modifications to the CFPB’s Ability-to-Repay rule for small creditors, community development lenders, and housing stabilization programs. The amendments also revised rules on how to calculate loan origination compensation for certain purposes.
The CFPB finalized its Ability-to-Repay rule on January 10, 2013. The Ability-to-Repay rule established that most new mortgages must comply with basic requirements that protect consumers from taking on loans they do not have the financial means to pay back. Lenders are presumed to have complied with the Ability-to-Repay rule if they issue “Qualified Mortgages” (QMs).
- Exempt certain nonprofit creditors: The final rule exempts from Ability-to-Repay rules certain nonprofit and community-based lenders that work to help low- and moderate-income consumers obtain affordable housing. Among other conditions, the exemptions generally apply to designated categories of community development lenders and to nonprofits that make no more than 200 loans per year and lend only to low- and moderate-income consumers. Similarly, mortgage loans made by or through a housing finance agency or through certain homeownership stabilization and foreclosure prevention programs are exempted from the Ability-to-Repay rules.
- Facilitate lending by certain small creditors: This amendment makes several adjustments to the Ability-to-Repay rule in order to facilitate lending by small creditors, including community banks and credit unions that have less than $2 billion in assets and each year make 500 or fewer first-lien mortgages, as defined in the rule. First, the rule generally extends QM status to certain loans that these creditors hold in their own portfolios, even if the consumers’ debt-to-income ratio exceeds 43 percent. Second, the final rule provides a two-year transition period during which small lenders can make balloon loans under certain conditions and those loans will meet the definition of QMs. The CFPB expects to continue to study issues concerning access to credit and balloon lending by small creditors. Third, the final rule allows small creditors to charge a higher annual percentage rate for certain first-lien QMs while maintaining a safe harbor for the Ability-to-Repay requirements.
- Establish how to calculate loan origination compensation: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act mandates that QMs have limited points and fees, and that compensation paid to loan originators, such as loan officers and brokers, is included in points and fees. The amendment provides certain exceptions to this Dodd-Frank requirement that loan originator compensation be included in the total permissible points and fees for both QMs and high-cost loans. Under the revised rule, the compensation paid by a mortgage broker to a loan originator employee or paid by a lender to a loan originator employee does not count towards the points and fees threshold. This amendment does not change the January 2013 final rule under which compensation paid by a creditor to a mortgage broker must be included in points and fees, in addition to any origination charges paid by a consumer to a creditor.
The amendments will take effect with the Ability-to-Repay rule on January 10, 2014.