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BCFP’s Agenda for Easing Lender Laws

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) has released its regulatory agenda for Fall 2018 as per the Regulatory Flexibility Act. According to the agenda set forth by the Bureau, the majority of its attention in the coming months appears focused on the implementation of various amendments to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). This is in accordance with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA) signed into law by President Trump in May 2018.

Authorized by section 1021 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the BCFP’s purpose is to implement and enforce federal consumer financial laws that ensure consumers have access to financial products and services deemed fair, transparent, and competitive. The EGRRCPA, however, amended several restrictions placed on financial institutions by the Dodd-Frank Act, among these the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and requirements appended to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) signed into law in 1975.

Whereas TILA imposed certain ability-to-pay requirements on lenders with assets below a specific threshold, the BCFP has included a rulemaking project in accordance with EGRRPCA to exempt certain creditors with assets of $10 billion or less from certain mortgage escrow requirements. Another rulemaking project to be enacted involves developing standards for assessing consumers’ ability to repay “Property Assess Clean Energy” financing. Disclosure of additional information in regard to mortgages are also to be reviewed and assessed in accordance with EGRRPCA, something set forth in an interpretive and procedural rule passed by the BCFP in August 2018.

In addition, the BCFP also plans to complete multiple workstreams by January 2019 that involve RESPA and the Ability-to-Repay-Qualified Mortgage Rule. From here, they plan to move on in assessing the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule. The Bureau is also currently considering the passage of a rule that clarifies the meaning of the word “abusiveness” as used in section 1031 of the Dodd-Frank Act in regard to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

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