Legal Analysts

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Loan Officer Compliance Trainings Needed for HMDA Data

Loan Officers (LOs) frequently have issues collecting and entering applicant information on their electronic systems, which results in a denial of the loan. These issues occur when customers don't want to provide the information. At all costs, LOs seek to avoid a loan denial. As a result, LOs often develop strategies to fudge information, as a workaround, so that they can close their loans. These workarounds are often spearheaded by management at structured LO meetings. The LOs and managers know that without fudging the data, their system will hard stop the file and kill their loans. This is a non-starter for one with a broker's mindset.

Lenders - the Consumer Financial Protection Burea (CFPB) recently gave a $1.75 million reminder as to why lenders cannot fudge the data and need a compliance plan, in place, to avoid their LOs and managers from fudging the data. This $1.75 million civil penalty occurred by way of settlement In the Matter of Freedom Mortgage Corporation case.

The Freedom Mortgage Corporation case concerned LOs fudging information required by HMDA and Regulation C where such LOs selected non-Hispanic white when consumers refused to provide their race, ethnicity, and sex.

Interestingly, a compliance plan would have avoided this civil penalty because the applicable regulation permits lenders to report that the applicant did not provide the information and the loan can close. Had there been a compliance plan in place, Freedom Mortgage Corporation would have $1.75 million more today. In fact, CFPB ordered the lender to "develop, implement, and maintain policies, procedures, and internal controls to ensure compliance with data collection, recording, and reporting requirements set forth in HMDA and Regulation C." Additionally, trainings were required by CFPB.

Lenders - you need a compliance company to create policies and train your LOs before you get hit with a case by CFPB.