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Five Questions for Lenders to Ask Before Jan. 10

JAN 7, 2014 6:11pm ET

Since its inception in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has implemented wide-ranging changes to the rules and regulations governing financial institutions and other entities operating in the financial arena.

Many of the most significant new rules and regulations related to home mortgage loans have an upcoming effective date of Jan. 10. This new regulatory landscape is altering how financial institutions of all types operate on a daily basis.

Here are five questions to help check your readiness for Jan. 10.

1. Compliance Procedures. Have you updated your written policies and procedures for each of your products or services to encompass the new rules and regulations? Once updated, have you provided copies to your employees? Have your provided training to your employees (both compliance department and front-line) on the new regulations and on any software updates required as a result of the new rules?

2. Updated Consumer Complaint Process. Have you established channels for consumer complaints to reach the correct department, set out mechanisms to ensure prompt resolution of complaints, and have a process for recording and categorizing the complaints and inquiries? It is expected that CFPB audits will include a review of records of complaints received along with corresponding information regarding the resolution of the complaints.

3. Third Party and Vendor Management. Have you reviewed your arrangements or contracts with vendors and third parties related to mortgage products and servicing? Do you plan to review complaints regarding vendor activity for compliance and process concerns?

4. Qualified Mortgage Provisions. Do your policies and procedures encompass the new components for qualified mortgages, including documentation of loan eligibility for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insurable by FHA?

5. Mortgage Servicing Rules. Have you updated your policies and procedures to address key aspects of the mortgage servicing provisions, including periodic billing statements, prompt payment crediting, force-placed insurance rules, and error resolution and information requests?

Courtney Gilmer is a bankruptcy and creditors' rights shareholder in the Nashville office of Baker Donelson.