Feds finalize protections for mortgage borrowers
WASHINGTON — The government's consumer lending watchdog finalized new rules on Thursday aimed at protecting homeowners from shoddy service and unexpected fees charged by companies that collect their monthly mortgage payments.
Mortgage servicing companies will be required to provide clear monthly billing statements, warn borrowers before interest rate hikes and actively help them avoid foreclosure, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said. The rules also require companies to credit people's payments promptly, swiftly correct errors and keep better internal records.
In a departure from proposed rules released in August, the agency said mortgage companies will not be allowed to seek foreclosure on a person's home while that person is trying to arrange lower monthly payments or otherwise avoid losing the home. The change will end the practice of “dual-tracking” — pushing a borrower into foreclosure while discussing a loan modification with that borrower.
The rules “will provide a fairer and more effective process for troubled borrowers who face the potential loss of their homes,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in remarks prepared for a public event in Atlanta on Thursday.
The changes are part of a sweeping overhaul of mortgage rules by the CFPB, which was created by Congress in 2010 to police the kind of risky lending that contributed to the financial crisis. Congress charged the agency with rewriting the rules for mortgage companies.
Mortgage servicers are central players in the nationwide housing crisis because they are responsible for foreclosing on homes when people fail to make payments. They have been criticized widely for practices like charging excessive fees, foreclosing without completing the required paperwork and failing to help people stay in their homes by changing their loan terms.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.