TopMortgage Compliance Update (1)

November 6, 2012  


CFPB: Compliance Management System

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On October 31, 2012, the CFPB issued its first issue of Supervisory Highlights: Fall 2012, a newsletter to the public and the financial services industry about its examination program, including the concerns that it finds during the course of its completed work, and the remedies that it has obtained for consumers who have suffered financial or other harm.

It is written as an Executive Summary, and it will not refer to any specific institution. But it will "signal to all institutions the kinds of activities that should be carefully scrutinized for compliance with the law."

According to the CFPB, it has already taken non-public supervisory actions against financial institutions participating in the credit card, credit reporting, and mortgage markets, confirming "remedial relief" to 1.4 million consumers, and causing the affected financial institutions to correct illegal practices. Importantly, and in consequence to the CFPB's examinations and actions, financial institutions were required to adopt effective policies and procedures to ensure that violations do not recur and, especially, mandating that they implement a robust Compliance Management System (CMS).

The CFPB maintains that an effective CMS is a "critical component of a well-run financial institution."

After a brief discussion about the CMS concept, I should like to outline these three significant findings derived from the CFPB's examinations: 
  • Comprehensive CMS Deficiencies Found Through CFPB Supervisory Activities
  • Deficiencies Related to Failure to Oversee Affiliate and Third-party Service Providers
  • Deficient Fair Lending Compliance Programs 
Jonathan Foxx
President & Managing Director
Lenders Compliance Group
Compliance Management System
Comprehensive CMS Deficiencies
Failure to Oversee Affiliate and Third-party Service Providers
Deficient Fair Lending Compliance Programs

I consider the term Compliance Management System to be a proxy for the term mortgage risk management. Our firm was founded on the premise that such risk management was the best way to ensure a financial institution's safety and soundness with respect to mortgage banking. At the time, there was only the term "risk management", a catch-all term that was overly broad. So I coined the term "mortgage risk management" to bring mortgage compliance into greater focus, expertise, and application.

Over the years, the prudential regulators and state banking departments have included much guidance in preparedness for their mortgage banking examinations. And now the CFPB has further elaborated the crucial and central importance of managing risk and examination readiness.

As recently as July 2012, I published a magazine article about The Rules of Operational Risk, in order to bring into strong relief the practical matters and unique circumstances of mortgage risk management.

The CFPB's conception of a well-conceived CMS is certainly consistent with the foundational features of mortgage risk management.

Both the CFPB and mortgage risk management require effective internal controls and oversight, training, internal monitoring, consumer complaint response, independent testing and audit, third-party service provider oversight, recordkeeping, product development and business acquisition, and marketing practices.

Mortgage risk management and the CMS both expect the development, maintenance, and integration of mortgage compliance practices across a financial institution's framework and applied to its entire loan product and service lifecycle.

As the CFPB states:
"Without such a system, serious and systemic violations of Federal consumer financial law are likely to occur. Further, a financial institution with a deficient CMS may be unable to detect its own violations. As a result, it will be unaware of resulting harm to consumers, and will be unable to adequately address consumer complaints."
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Supervisory Highlights: Fall 2012
Executive Summary

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This communication is sent to our valued clients and colleagues, who regularly receive our Mortgage Compliance Updates, Compliance Alerts, Commentaries, and related publications.

These publications are free to subscribers. Information contained herein is not intended to be and is not a source of legal advice.

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