A Message From IMA President Tim Lamb
Association Updates
IMA Spring Webinars Set for March
While there will be no Iowa Mortgage Association Spring Conference this year, the IMA will offer a series of webinars with great information for mortgage lending professionals. The schedule includes:
  • March 10 29 Tech Tools to Create Cool Online Content for Social Media webinar
  • March 24 — Blueprint for Success  Business Planning webinar
  • April 8 — 3 Near and Clear Ways to Grow Your Business Using A CRM webinar
  • April 24 — How to Keep Marketing and Producing in Tough Times

All webinars will last one hour and begin at 10 a.m. They will also be recorded for later replay. Learn more or register.
Industry News
New HPML Escrow Exemption Finalized
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a final rule that adds a new exemption to the rules requiring creditors to establish escrow accounts for certain higher-priced mortgage loans. The final rule exempts from the Reg. Z HPML escrow requirement any loan made by certain insured depository institutions and secured by a first lien on the principal dwelling of a consumer if:
  • The institution and its affiliates had assets of $10 billion or less as of the preceding Dec. 31; 
  • The institution and its affiliates originated 1,000 or fewer first lien, covered transactions (both portfolio loans and sold loans) during the preceding calendar year; 
  • The institution originated at least one covered transaction in the preceding calendar year that was secured by a first lien on a property located in a rural or underserved area; and
  • The institution and its affiliates do not maintain escrow accounts, unless the escrow was established after consummation as an accommodation to a distressed consumer to assist in avoiding default or foreclosures; or the escrow was established at a time when the institution may have been required by the regulation to do so, which would have occurred for an HPML escrow account on or after April 1, 2010, to 120 days from the effective date of the January 2021 Final Rule (the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register).  

Again, this exemption is a new, additional exemption to the escrow requirement; it does not alter the existing loan exemptions or the current “small creditor” exemption found in Reg. Z, §1026.35(b)(2). This new exemption is meant to provide relief to additional mortgage lenders, focusing on those that are larger in asset size but originate a fewer first lien covered transactions. The rule will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register and provides for a 120-day transition period. Read the final rule. The CFPB has also updated the Small Entity Compliance Guide and posted an executive summary of the final rule. Access these resources.
New Administration Pauses Pending Regulations
On President Biden’s first day in office, the White House issued a memo directing “executive departments and agencies” to freeze any pending regulations not yet published in the Federal Register. For rules sent to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published, the memo directs departments and agencies to withdraw them from the Federal Register and seek approval. For rules that have been published but that have not yet taken effect, the White House asked departments and agencies to consider delaying effective dates for 60 days, seeking public comments and considering petitions for reconsideration.
 
The language of the memo, which is customary for new administrations, was not specific about what agencies are covered and whether it applies to independent agencies. Since most banking agencies are independent, it was unclear whether pending rulemakings at those agencies would be covered. Recent rulemakings that could be impacted by this pause include the CFPB’s final rule revising the General Qualified Mortgage definition and providing for a new “Seasoned Qualified Mortgage” as well as the CFPB’s recent final rule providing for a new exemption to the HPML escrow requirement.
CFPB Releases Guide on Serving LEP Consumers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a statement encouraging financial institutions to expand access to financial products and services for consumers with limited English proficiency. The statement provides guidance on how institutions can provide access to credit in languages other than English in a manner that is beneficial to consumers, while taking steps to ensure financial institutions’ actions are compliant with fair lending laws as well as avoid unfair or deceptive acts and practices when determining how and in which languages to offer products and services. The statement outlines several guiding principles for serving LEP consumers and offers guidelines for developing compliance solutions when serving LEP consumers. Read the statement
Bill Would Revise Workforce Housing Tax Credits
A bill (SSB 1142 / HSB 178) being considered by the Iowa legislature would increase the annual amount available under the Workforce Housing Tax Credit Program from the current $25 million to $50 million. The bill, which is one of Gov. Kim Reynolds' priorities for the 2021 session, would also increase the allocation to small cities from $10 million to $20 million per year under the program. Additionally, the bill would remove the $3 million cap on the real estate transfer tax that goes to the Housing Trust Fund. This is estimated to redirect an additional $4.4 million from the state general fund to the Housing Trust Fund. 
Published by Iowa Mortgage Association