BRIEFLY: CFPB updates mortgage servicing FAQs; Written, specific direction needed on use of alternative data, GAO tells regulators

(June 4, 2021) Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about mortgage servicing were updated this week by the CFPB, concerning escrow account compliance under Regulations X and Z (RESPA and TILA, respectively). The new questions added 11 pages to the agency’s mortgage servicing queries list, covering an array of issues related to escrow accounts (including: a basic definition) … Written communication providing specific direction on use of alternative data at financial institutions – including credit unions — is required from regulators, the GAO indicated in reports it issued this week. Additionally, the GAO wrote, regulators should be collaborating on the specifics in that written communication. The GAO detailed an outstanding 2018 recommendation that has not yet been addressed by the Fed and the FDIC, asserting that “continued attention to this issue could improve (the agencies’) ability to more effectively oversee risks to consumers and the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system.” The GAO did note that federal financial regulators (including NCUA) in late 2019 issued an interagency statement highlighting potential benefits and risks of using alternative data and encouraged financial firms to use it. However, GAO noted, that statement does not provide firms or banks with specific direction on the appropriate use of that data, including issues to consider when selecting types of alternative data to use.

Mortgage Servicing FAQs, last updated June 2, 2021.

Priority Open Recommendations: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Priority Open Recommendations: Federal Reserve