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SCOTUS Holds CFPB's Single Director Structure Unconstitutional, Leaves Open Questions on Existing Bureau Matters

Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court issued a two part decision in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Court first decided, in a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice Roberts authoring the Court's opinion, that the CFPB's leadership by a single Director removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance violates the separation of powers doctrine. The Court next decided that the Director's unconstitutional removal protection is severable from the other provisions of Dodd-Frank that establish the CFPB and define its authority. The severability holding was also authored by Roberts, but drew a 7-2 split. More ›

New York State Enacts New Procedures for Residential Mortgage Forbearance Plans

On June 17, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bills 8243C and 8428 into law, adding Section 9-x to the Banking Law. The section creates new procedures for mortgagors and servicers in relation to forbearances of residential mortgage payments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More ›

Rhode Island Supreme Court Demands Strict Compliance with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac "Paragraph 22" in Foreclosures

In a case of first impression, the Rhode Island Supreme Court concluded in Woel v. Christiana Trust that mortgage default notices sent to borrowers must strictly comply with the notice requirements included in a mortgage. The Court held that a lender's notice of default does not strictly comply with the terms of the standard Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage Paragraph 22, if the notice fails to inform the borrower of the right to reinstate after acceleration. More ›

New York DFS Launches "FastForward" Program Aimed at Driving Innovative Financial Services and Products

In support of re-opening and adapting New York to the new economic and social normal caused by COVID-19, New York's Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the launch of a program called "DFS FastForward" which will support innovators who can deliver novel digital solutions that advance the state's recovery from the pandemic. The program builds on the successful launch in February of an InsurTech pilot program by DFS, and promises to "reduce barriers and speed up" the regulatory process for qualifying services and products. More ›

Exploring the Expansion of the Bankruptcy Code under the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, provides widespread economic relief for individuals and businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak and includes several key modifications and amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We explore how these revisions will immediately impact the bankruptcy landscape for both individual debtors and small businesses below. More ›

Payment Deferral Now an Option for Borrowers in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac COVID-19 Forbearance Plans

We previously reported on the impact of the CARES Act on federally backed mortgage loans, including the immediate availability of a 180 – 360 day forbearance plan for borrowers impacted by the pandemic. One key feature of this legislation and accompanying guidance publications is that servicers of GSE loans are required to evaluate borrowers for repayment options—including reinstatement, a repayment plan, modification, or some other workout—at the conclusion of the forbearance period. The forbearance plans do not offer loan forgiveness, and borrowers and their servicers are expected to resolve the forbearance amount at the end of the plan. More ›

Governor Cuomo Extends New York Mortgage Foreclosure Moratorium, But With Exceptions…

On May 7, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.28, which provides further temporary relief measures for tenants facing an eviction. The order also directly impacts mortgage loan holders, servicers, and borrowers, as it bars the "initiation" of certain residential and commercial mortgage foreclosures for another 60 days from June 20, 2020. More ›

CFPB Issues New Mortgage Servicer Guidelines for Transferring Loans to a New Servicer

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published compliance guidanceeffective immediately—on the handling of information and documents during the transfer of a mortgage loan to a new servicer. Following related guidance issued in 2014 on these mortgage servicer transfers, CFPB supervisory examiners have continued to document weaknesses in servicer compliance management systems and violations of Regulation X, including inadequate policies and procedures for transferring loan information and documents in a timely and accurate manner that ensures uninterrupted continuation of required servicing functions. More ›

Federal Court Nixes Massachusetts Attorney General's Emergency Debt Collection Regulations

Yesterday, a federal court granted ACA International's request for a temporary restraining order of the Massachusetts Attorney General's emergency regulations prohibiting debt collection calls and enforcement actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns concluded that the AG's "flat ban" on debt collection calls violates the First Amendment as an impermissible restriction on commercial speech. In addition, Judge Stearns held that regulations prohibiting the initiation of lawsuits—even temporarily—violates the First Amendment right of debt collectors' to petition the government. More ›

Inspection by HUD's Inspector General of FHA Mortgage Servicers' Websites Reveals Incomplete, Inconsistent, and Unclear CARES Act Forbearance Information

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Inspector General issued a COVID-19 bulletin for homeowners that revealed the HUD has been monitoring what readily accessible information FHA mortgage servicers are providing to borrowers on their websites. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has already provided guidance to FHA servicers regarding implementation of the CARES Act as it pertains to provisions related to forbearance. However, HUD's Inspector General warned in the bulletin that its review of the top 30 FHA servicers' websites revealed "incomplete, inconsistent, dated, and unclear guidance" to borrowers in connection with their forbearance options under the CARES Act. More ›

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