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CFPB Releases New Guidance on Military Relocation

Mortgage servicers received new ""guidance"":http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201206_cfpb_PCS_Orders_Guidance.pdf Thursday addressing protocol for dealing with military members who receive permanent change of station orders.


The joint guidance was released by the ""Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)"":http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ in concert with the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

About one-third of the nation's military members receive non-negotiable permanent change of station orders each year, and the new servicer guidance is intended ""to ensure compliance with


applicable consumer laws and regulations,"" according to a ""press release"":http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-and-prudential-regulators-issue-joint-guidance-to-address-mortgage-servicer-practices-that-impact-servicemembers/ from the CFPB.

The guidance instructs servicers to provide military members ""accurate, clear, and readily understandable information about available assistance options."" The guidance does not, however, require any specific loss mitigation options.

The CFPB and other agencies forbid servicers from requiring servicemembers to relinquish their rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in return for information about assistance for which they qualify.

Servicers are also instructed not to advise servicemembers to discontinue payment on their loans in order to qualify for loss mitigation assistance.

Should the CFPB determine that a servicer has ""engaged in practices that are unfair, deceptive, or abusive, or if a regulator determines that a mortgage servicer has in any way violated federal consumer financial laws, it will take appropriate enforcement action,"" stated the CFPB in its press release Thursday.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Department of Veterans Affairs support the new guidance, as do the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Treasury.