Bill Would Exempt Servicers from FDCA

The House has passed a bill that would provide mortgage servicers a special exemption from the Fair Debt Collection Act so that they can approach delinquent borrowers in a less hostile way.

The bill (H.R. 1025), sponsored by Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., now goes to the Senate again where it usually is bottled up by Democrats and never comes up for a vote.

The special FDCA exemption applies to situations where a servicer is taking over a new servicing portfolio and some of the borrowers are delinquent.

Currently servicers are classified as debt collectors and they have to provide FDCA notices warning borrowers that any information they provide can be used against them.

The Mortgage Bankers Association refers to these FDCA notices as "Miranda warnings."

The MBA claims these harshly worded Miranda warnings disrupt the establishment of a healthy borrower-servicer relationship and hampers workout efforts. The exemption only applies to servicers who engage primarily in servicing performing mortgages and where the collection of debt is incidental to the servicing of the loans. It appears this exemption would not cover servicing companies that specialize in acquiring delinquent loans.

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