Tag Archives: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

A closer look to be taken at nonbank mortgage lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday disclosed key details about how its examiners will size up mortgage companies that aren’t banks but still offer home loans to consumers, noting it will be leaning on other regulators for help as it embarks on the enormous task of reviewing thousands of nonbank lenders.

The details are crucial given that the consumer watchdog agency, through a supervision program it launched last week, is preparing to bring many of the nation’s nonbank financial companies under federal supervision for the first time.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - CFPBThousands of nonbank financial firms are not chartered as banks but still offer mortgage, student and payday loans, and many have faced only light federal scrutiny. The sector has faced criticism from consumer advocates and other groups who say some home lending practices by the nonbank sector contributed to the recent financial crisis.

The consumer bureau noted Wednesday the sector is indeed “a significant part of the mortgage market” that included many of the largest subprime lenders during the housing bubble.

“The mortgage market cannot work well for consumers if the spotlight shines only on one part of it, while the rest is left in darkness,” said the consumer bureau’s director Richard Cordray. “Our supervision program will illuminate the entire marketplace by making nonbanks play by the same rules as the banks.”

The bureau’s new “Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures” guide released Wednesday makes clear the bureau’s examiners will be conducting broad reviews of nonbank mortgage lenders’ business practices and the agency will be coordinating with state regulators and other federal agencies.

Consumer bureau staffers will be examining the companies’ volume of business as well as the types of products and services the firms are offering. Also, the bureau will be evaluating lenders’ advertisements and marketing practices as well as closing practices, another indication that just about every part of a firms’ business model will be under review.

The goal will be to assess whether nonbank mortgage lenders and brokers are in compliance with financial laws.

But the bureau also made clear that, unlike other banking regulators, the watchdog has another focus: identifying risks to consumers.

The bureau, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to root out fraudulent financial practices thought to have contributed to the recent financial crisis, had already been supervising some of the nation’s largest banks. But its powers to oversee nonbank lenders didn’t kick in until last week, when President Barack Obama recess-appointed Cordray as the bureau’s first director. Cordray has said the agency will move forward on programs and probes despite concerns about how the president bypassed the Senate to install him as the agency’s chief.

This article is by the Wall Street Journal, viewable here: “New Bureau Plans Close Look at Nonbank Mortgage Lenders.”

How to bargain shop for mortgages

Shoppers, I bet many of you scoured the Sunday ads and bounced to several stores for deals over Thanksgiving weekend.

What if you applied that same effort and vigilance to shopping for a new home loan or refinance? That same attention to detail could translate into hundreds to thousands of dollars in savings over time.

“People think nothing about going to many different stores to buy a toaster or oven or dishwasher,” said Norma Garcia, attorney at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. “They just don’t shop for (home) loans the same way they shop for other products, but they ought to.”

Consumers likely are more comfortable comparison-shopping for microwaves than mortgages because the home-loan process can be cumbersome, with reams of paperwork, unfamiliar jargon, and of course, the rush to close and move to a new place.

The U.S. government is working to make the process easier. Since May, officials have been trying to simplify and combine two required forms that show would-be borrowers their final loan terms and costs before closing. The “Know Before You Owe” campaign, spurred by sweeping financial reforms in 2010, has produced two drafts of the merged documents that are still in testing phase…

FORMS TO KNOW

This gives you an approximation of what you may owe at closing. It lists the basics including loan amount, interest rate and potential penalty costs. The form also shows you different loan scenarios to illustrate whether it would make sense, for instance, to buy points upfront to reduce your interest rate. (One point typically equals 1 percent of the loan’s value, or $1,000 for each $100,000 borrowed.) Click here to see the whole form

 

FORMS TO KNOW

You get this at the closing table. The form lists every single expense and credit involved in the transaction. Click here to see the whole form

 

You also get this at closing. The document breaks down how much you will owe in a different way. Perhaps the most important detail is the annual percentage rate, which rolls in all of your costs and is defined by HUD as the “true cost” of a loan. Click here to see the whole form

TO-DO LIST BEFORE CLOSING

• If there’s a line item you don’t understand in any of the forms, ask about it.

• Scan for hidden costs. Third parties get proceeds from loans in the form of fees and commissions, said Norma Garcia, attorney at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.

• Know who’s going to service your loan. The holder of your loan can sell the loan to anyone, but they have to disclose the percentage of loans that are sold. “If you choose to go with that lender, just know that may not be the person you’re dealing with down the line,” Garcia said.

• If you sense your lender isn’t being upfront or answering your questions, find someone else. It may take interviewing two to three people to find the right lender.

• Get a second opinion on your loan documents from HUD-approved counselors at little or no charge. But be sure to do this before closing. For San Diego, you can call the Housing Opportunities Collaborative at (619) 283-2200 or (800) 462-0503. Someone will direct you to the right agency.

• Don’t sign anything unless you understand it.

Read the whole article by SignOnSanDiego.com here: “How to Bargain Shop for Mortgages“.