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Mortgage Compliance Wire

Recent mortgage compliance activity

June 23, 2009


The implementation of the new appraisal code has devastated borrowers, destroyed appraisal quality and increased loan expenses, according to two groups. In other mortgage compliance activity, a new study found that banks are more closely monitoring compliance by their business partners.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced this month the approval of final rules and guidelines which implement section 312 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 -- or FACT Act. A group of federal regulators -- including the OCC, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Trade Commission -- will soon be publishing final rules and guidelines in the Federal Register.

On June 11, several federal agencies jointly issued a set of frequently asked questions on The Red Flags and Address Discrepancy Rules, which implement sections of the FACT Act. (read full set of FAQs)

The Home Valuation Code of Conduct has "devastated" the lives of prospective homebuyers, according to Think Big Work Small -- which said in a statement yesterday that a petition it launched has already garnered over 37,000 signatures. The petition, which calls for the reconsideration of HVCC, will be delivered to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo -- who struck the deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to implement the code -- and the secondary lenders' regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the statement said. The petition is also going to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Marc Savitt, the president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, testified before the House committee that HVCC conflicts with other appraisal regulations and has led to "a tremendous decline in appraisal quality." He noted that HVCC has pushed appraisal fees up an average of $150, while delays are costing prospective borrowers around $562 each for extensions. In all, borrowers are likely to collectively pay an additional $2.8 billion a year.

"HVCC targets mortgage brokers and small independent appraisers, and forces consumers to rely exclusively on lenders and their appraisal management companies for home valuations
," Savitt said. "This gives large national lenders and appraisal management companies a virtual monopoly on the home appraisal process and removes the cost and quality checks and balances that a competitive marketplace provides."

Savitt claims fee sharing between appraisers and appraisal management companies could be a "serious" violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

MERSCORP Inc. is holding a conference this week in Reston, Va., to help users comply with a new federal law that requires a borrower notice when loan ownership changes. The organization said its MERS InvestorID program automatically sends a notice to the primary borrower when ownership of a loan changes on the MERS system.

International Document Services Inc.'s document preparation service has been integrated into Avista Solutions' loan origination system, a June 9 statement said. Avista reportedly made the move after positive feedback from its own customers about IDS.

A biannual study survey of more than 700 compliance officers conducted by the American Bankers Association's Center for Regulatory Compliance found that banks are more closely monitoring business partners. In addition, all bank employees are being given more compliance duties

The trade group announced some of the findings from the survey at its Regulatory Compliance Conference in Orlando, Fla., on June 8.

Another announcement out of the ABA conference was the hiring of Cheryl Hemingway as senior account manager for compliance software provider QuestSoft.

Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of in 2000.

e-mail: [email protected]

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