The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued general policy objectives, which included goals related to mortgages. The main focus of the CFPB's efforts has been multipronged: to increase its education campaign aimed at improving consumer understanding of the role that ability-to-repay occupies in lending decisions; to integrate the capability of financial decision-making into the lending process; and, last, to investigate and enforce fair lending violations.
Lenders should carefully consider these issues within the context of both their compliance and operational structures. New products and technology can help assure lenders that borrowers better understand their options and participate in lending decisions in real time during the origination process, and track and record those efforts for later use.
Technology can also play a vital role in helping lenders avoid and deter steering violations, and assist in preventing fair lending claims.
In addition, cost-effective regression tools can be used to prevent fair lending violations. Although compliance burdens on lenders have increased exponentially, products, services and technology to meet those needs are becoming more affordable and more widely available.
Integrating these services and technology offerings into compliance management systems can help lenders increase compliance and efficiency, and avoid the costs associated with lawsuits, excess regulation and enforcement.
Ari Karen is a partner at Offit Kurman.