CFPB Doubles Down on Mortgage Servicing Enforcement

As stated in the Housing Wire article on January 29, 2021 the CFPB promises bold and swift action to send a message. The new acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Dave Uejio, told staff in an email on Thursday that the bureau will direct its attention to mortgage servicers, promising “aggressive action” to ensure companies follow the law.

In the email, Uejio laid out his vision for the coming months, saying that his top two priorities are relief for consumers facing hardship due to COVID-19 and the related economic crisis and racial equity.

“One thing we can do immediately is focus our supervision and enforcement tools on overseeing the companies responsible for COVID relief,” Uejio said in the email. “I am concerned about the findings described in last week’s Supervisory Highlights edition that companies are failing to properly administer relief through the crisis.” Here are some of the issues the acting director highlighted on servicers:

  • Mortgage servicers gave consumers incomplete and inaccurate information about CARES Act forbearances, failed to process forbearance requests and collected and assessed late fees despite having approved forbearances.
  • Servicers withdrew money even though consumers were in deferment.
  • One student loan servicer denied thousands of forbearance extensions because the loan holder never responded.
  • Companies across markets misreported accounts to credit bureaus and violated CARES Act amendments that added protections to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Some banks set off stimulus payments and unemployment insurance benefits in order to cover bank fees and other debts.
  • Examiners found that the widely used policy of banks only taking PPP applications from pre-existing customers may have a disproportionate negative impact on minority-owned businesses.

Uejio also gave instructions to CFPB colleagues to expedite enforcement investigations relating to COVID-19 in order to send a message to the industry at large.

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