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6500 - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


PART 1024—REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT
(REGULATION X)

Sec.

§ 1024.1 Designation.
§ 1024.2 Definitions.
§ 1024.3 Questions or suggestions from public and copies of public guidance documents.
§ 1024.4 Reliance upon rule, regulation or interpretation by the Bureau.
§ 1024.5 Coverage of RESPA.
§ 1024.6 Special information booklet at time of loan application.
§ 1024.7 Good faith estimate.
§ 1024.8 Use of HUD–1 or HUD–1A settlement statements.
§ 1024.9 Reproduction of settlement statements.
§ 1024.10 One-day advance inspection of HUD–1 or HUD–1A settlement statement; delivery; recordkeeping.
§ 1024.11 Mailing.
§ 1024.12 No fee.
§ 1024.13 Relation to state laws.
§ 1024.14 Prohibition against kickbacks and unearned fees.
§ 1024.15 Affiliated business arrangements.
§ 1024.16 Title companies.
§ 1024.17 Escrow accounts.
§ 1024.18 Validity of contracts and liens.
§ 1024.19 Enforcement.
§ 1024.20 [Reserved]
§ 1024.21 Mortgage servicing transfers.
§ 1024.22 Severability.
§ 1024.23 ESIGN applicability.
Appendix A to Part 1024—Instructions for Completing HUD–1 and HUD–1a Settlement  Statements; Sample HUD–1 and HUD–1a Statements
Appendix B to Part 1024—Illustrations of Requirements of RESPA
Appendix C to Part 1024—Instructions for Completing Good Faith Estimate (GFE) Form
Appendix D to Part 1024—Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement Format  Notice
Appendix E to Part 1024—Arithmetic Steps
Appendix MS–1 to Part 1024
Appendix MS–2 to Part 1024

Authority:  12 U.S.C. 2603--2605, 2607, 2609, 2617, 5512, 5581

Source:  The provisions of this Part 1024 appear at 76 Fed. Reg. 78981, Dec. 20, 2011, unless otherwise noted]

§ 1024.1  Designation.

This part, known as Regulation X, is issued by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to implement the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, as amended, 12 U.S.C. 2601 et. seq.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.1]

§ 1024.2  Definitions.

(a)  Statutory terms. All terms defined in RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2602) are used in accordance with their statutory meaning unless otherwise defined in paragraph (b) of this section or elsewhere in this part.

(b)  Other terms. As used in this part:

Application means the submission of a borrower's financial information in anticipation of a credit decision relating to a federally related mortgage loan, which shall include the borrower's name, the borrower's monthly income, the borrower's social security number to obtain a credit report, the property address, an estimate of the value of the property, the mortgage loan amount sought, and any other information deemed necessary by the loan originator. An application may either be in writing or electronically submitted, including a written record of an oral application.

Balloon payment has the same meaning as "balloon payment" under Regulation Z (12 CFR part 1026).

Bureau means the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

Business day means a day on which the offices of the business entity are open to the public for carrying on substantially all of the entity's business functions.

Changed circumstances means:

(1)(i)  Acts of God, war, disaster, or other emergency;

(ii)  Information particular to the borrower or transaction that was relied on in providing the GFE and that changes or is found to be inaccurate after the GFE has been provided. This may include information about the credit quality of the borrower, the amount of the loan, the estimated value of the property, or any other information that was used in providing the GFE;

(iii)  New information particular to the borrower or transaction that was not relied on in providing the GFE; or

(iv)  Other circumstances that are particular to the borrower or transaction, including boundary disputes, the need for flood insurance, or environmental problems.

(2)  Changed circumstances do not include:

(i)  The borrower's name, the borrower's monthly income, the property address, an estimate of the value of the property, the mortgage loan amount sought, and any information contained in any credit report obtained by the loan originator prior to providing the GFE, unless the information changes or is found to be inaccurate after the GFE has been provided; or

(ii)  Market price fluctuations by themselves.

Dealer means, in the case of property improvement loans, a seller, contractor, or supplier of goods or services. In the case of manufactured home loans, "dealer" means one who engages in the business of manufactured home retail sales.

Dealer loan or dealer consumer credit contract means, generally, any arrangement in which a dealer assists the borrower in obtaining a federally related mortgage loan from the funding lender and then assigns the dealer's legal interests to the funding lender and receives the net proceeds of the loan. The funding lender is the lender for the purposes of the disclosure requirements of this part. If a dealer is a "creditor" as defined under the definition of "federally related mortgage loan" in this part, the dealer is the lender for purposes of this part.

Effective date of transfer is defined in section 6(i)(1) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2605(i)(1)). In the case of a home equity conversion mortgage or reverse mortgage as referenced in this section, the effective date of transfer is the transfer date agreed upon by the transferee servicer and the transferor servicer.

Federally related mortgage loan or mortgage loan means as follows:

(1)  Any loan (other than temporary financing, such as a construction loan):

(i)  That is secured by a first or subordinate lien on residential real property, including a refinancing of any secured loan on residential real property upon which there is either:

(A)  Located or, following settlement, will be constructed using proceeds of the loan, a structure or structures designed principally for occupancy of from one to four families (including individual units of condominiums and cooperatives and including any related interests, such as a share in the cooperative or right to occupancy of the unit); or

(B)  Located or, following settlement, will be placed using proceeds of the loan, a manufactured home; and

(ii)  For which one of the following paragraphs applies. The loan:

(A)  Is made in whole or in part by any lender that is either regulated by or whose deposits or accounts are insured by any agency of the Federal Government;

(B)  Is made in whole or in part, or is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, or assisted in any way:

(1)  By the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or any other officer or agency of the Federal Government; or

(2)  Under or in connection with a housing or urban development program administered by the Secretary of HUD or a housing or related program administered by any other officer or agency of the Federal Government;

(C)  Is intended to be sold by the originating lender to the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Government National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (or its successors), or a financial institution from which the loan is to be purchased by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (or its successors);

(D)  Is made in whole or in part by a "creditor", as defined in section 103(g) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1602(g)), that makes or invests in residential real estate loans aggregating more than $1,000,000 per year. For purposes of this definition, the term "creditor" does not include any agency or instrumentality of any State, and the term "residential real estate loan" means any loan secured by residential real property, including single-family and multifamily residential property;

(E)  Is originated either by a dealer or, if the obligation is to be assigned to any maker of mortgage loans specified in paragraphs (1)(ii)(A) through (D) of this definition, by a mortgage broker; or

(F)  Is the subject of a home equity conversion mortgage, also frequently called a "reverse mortgage," issued by any maker of mortgage loans specified in paragraphs (1)(ii) (A) through (D) of this definition.

(2)  Any installment sales contract, land contract, or contract for deed on otherwise qualifying residential property is a federally related mortgage loan if the contract is funded in whole or in part by proceeds of a loan made by any maker of mortgage loans specified in paragraphs (1)(ii) (A) through (D) of this definition.

(3)  If the residential real property securing a mortgage loan is not located in a State, the loan is not a federally related mortgage loan.

Good faith estimate or GFE means an estimate of settlement charges a borrower is likely to incur, as a dollar amount, and related loan information, based upon common practice and experience in the locality of the mortgaged property, as provided on the form prescribed in § 1024.7 and prepared in accordance with the Instructions in Appendix C to this part.

HUD means the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement (also HUD--1 or HUD--1A) means the statement that is prescribed in this part for setting forth settlement charges in connection with either the purchase or the refinancing (or other subordinate lien transaction) of 1- to 4-family residential property.

Lender means, generally, the secured creditor or creditors named in the debt obligation and document creating the lien. For loans originated by a mortgage broker that closes a federally related mortgage loan in its own name in a table funding transaction, the lender is the person to whom the obligation is initially assigned at or after settlement. A lender, in connection with dealer loans, is the lender to whom the loan is assigned, unless the dealer meets the definition of creditor as defined under "federally related mortgage loan" in this section. See also § 1024.5(b)(7), secondary market transactions.

Loan originator means a lender or mortgage broker.

Manufactured home is defined in HUD regulation 24 CFR 3280.2.

Mortgage broker means a person (not an employee of a lender) or entity that renders origination services and serves as an intermediary between a borrower and a lender in a transaction involving a federally related mortgage loan, including such a person or entity that closes the loan in its own name in a table funded transaction. A loan correspondent approved under HUD regulation 24 CFR 202.8 for Federal Housing Administration programs is a mortgage broker for purposes of this part.

Mortgaged property means the real property that is security for the federally related mortgage loan.

Origination service means any service involved in the creation of a mortgage loan, including but not limited to the taking of the loan application, loan processing, the underwriting and funding of the loan, and the processing and administrative services required to perform these functions.

Person is defined in section 3(5) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2602(5)).

Prepayment penalty has the same meaning as "prepayment penalty" under Regulation Z (12 CFR part 1026).

Public Guidance Documents means Federal Register documents adopted or published, that the Bureau may amend from time-to-time by publication in the Federal Register. These documents are also available from the Bureau at the address indicated in § 1024.3.

Refinancing means a transaction in which an existing obligation that was subject to a secured lien on residential real property is satisfied and replaced by a new obligation undertaken by the same borrower and with the same or a new lender. The following shall not be treated as a refinancing, even when the existing obligation is satisfied and replaced by a new obligation with the same lender (this definition of "refinancing" as to transactions with the same lender is similar to Regulation Z, 12 CFR 1026.20(a)):

(1)  A renewal of a single payment obligation with no change in the original terms;

(2)  A reduction in the annual percentage rate as computed under the Truth in Lending Act with a corresponding change in the payment schedule;

(3)  An agreement involving a court proceeding;

(4)  A workout agreement, in which a change in the payment schedule or change in collateral requirements is agreed to as a result of the consumer's default or delinquency, unless the rate is increased or the new amount financed exceeds the unpaid balance plus earned finance charges and premiums for continuation of allowable insurance; and

(5)  The renewal of optional insurance purchased by the consumer that is added to an existing transaction, if disclosures relating to the initial purchase were provided.

Regulation Z means the regulations issued by the Bureau (12 CFR part 1026) to implement the Federal Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and includes the Commentary on Regulation Z.

Required use means a situation in which a person must use a particular provider of a settlement service in order to have access to some distinct service or property, and the person will pay for the settlement service of the particular provider or will pay a charge attributable, in whole or in part, to the settlement service. However, the offering of a package (or combination of settlement services) or the offering of discounts or rebates to consumers for the purchase of multiple settlement services does not constitute a required use. Any package or discount must be optional to the purchaser. The discount must be a true discount below the prices that are otherwise generally available, and must not be made up by higher costs elsewhere in the settlement process.

RESPA means the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.).

Servicer means the person responsible for the servicing of a mortgage loan (including the person who makes or holds a mortgage loan if such person also services the mortgage loan). The term does not include:

(1)  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in connection with assets acquired, assigned, sold, or transferred pursuant to section 13(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act or as receiver or conservator of an insured depository institution; and

(2)  The Federal National Mortgage Corporation (FNMA); the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac); the FDIC; HUD, including the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) (including cases in which a mortgage insured under the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) is assigned to HUD); the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); the Farm Service Agency; and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in any case in which the assignment, sale, or transfer of the servicing of the mortgage loan is preceded by termination of the contract for servicing the loan for cause, commencement of proceedings for bankruptcy of the servicer, or commencement of proceedings by the FDIC for conservatorship or receivership of the servicer (or an entity by which the servicer is owned or controlled).

Servicing means receiving any scheduled periodic payments from a borrower pursuant to the terms of any mortgage loan, including amounts for escrow accounts under section 10 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2609), and making the payments to the owner of the loan or other third parties of principal and interest and such other payments with respect to the amounts received from the borrower as may be required pursuant to the terms of the mortgage servicing loan documents or servicing contract. In the case of a home equity conversion mortgage or reverse mortgage as referenced in this section, servicing includes making payments to the borrower.

Settlement means the process of executing legally binding documents regarding a lien on property that is subject to a federally related mortgage loan. This process may also be called "closing" or "escrow" in different jurisdictions.

Settlement service means any service provided in connection with a prospective or actual settlement, including, but not limited to, any one or more of the following:

(1)  Origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of such loans);

(2)  Rendering of services by a mortgage broker (including counseling, taking of applications, obtaining verifications and appraisals, and other loan processing and origination services, and communicating with the borrower and lender);

(3)  Provision of any services related to the origination, processing or funding of a federally related mortgage loan;

(4)  Provision of title services, including title searches, title examinations, abstract preparation, insurability determinations, and the issuance of title commitments and title insurance policies;

(5)  Rendering of services by an attorney;

(6)  Preparation of documents, including notarization, delivery, and recordation;

(7)  Rendering of credit reports and appraisals;

(8)  Rendering of inspections, including inspections required by applicable law or any inspections required by the sales contract or mortgage documents prior to transfer of title;

(9)  Conducting of settlement by a settlement agent and any related services;

(10)  Provision of services involving mortgage insurance;

(11)  Provision of services involving hazard, flood, or other casualty insurance or homeowner's warranties;

(12)  Provision of services involving mortgage life, disability, or similar insurance designed to pay a mortgage loan upon disability or death of a borrower, but only if such insurance is required by the lender as a condition of the loan;

(13)  Provision of services involving real property taxes or any other assessments or charges on the real property;

(14)  Rendering of services by a real estate agent or real estate broker; and

(15)  Provision of any other services for which a settlement service provider requires a borrower or seller to pay.

Special information booklet means the booklet adopted pursuant to section 5 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2604) to help persons understand the nature and costs of settlement services. The Bureau publishes the form of the special information booklet in the Federal Register or by other public notice. The Bureau may issue or approve additional booklets or alternative booklets by publication of a Notice in the Federal Register.

State means any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the United States.

Table funding means a settlement at which a loan is funded by a contemporaneous advance of loan funds and an assignment of the loan to the person advancing the funds. A table-funded transaction is not a secondary market transaction (see § 1024.5(b)(7)).

Third party means a settlement service provider other than a loan originator.

Title company means any institution, or its duly authorized agent, that is qualified to issue title insurance.

Title service means any service involved in the provision of title insurance (lender's or owner's policy), including but not limited to: Title examination and evaluation; preparation and issuance of title commitment; clearance of underwriting objections; preparation and issuance of a title insurance policy or policies; and the processing and administrative services required to perform these functions. The term also includes the service of conducting a settlement.

Tolerance means the maximum amount by which the charge for a category or categories of settlement costs may exceed the amount of the estimate for such category or categories on a GFE.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.2]

§ 1024.3  Questions or suggestions from public and copies of public guidance documents.

Any questions or suggestions from the public regarding RESPA, or requests for copies of Public Guidance Documents, should be directed to the Associate Director, Research, Markets, and Regulations, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20006. Legal questions concerning the interpretation of this part may be directed to the same address.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.3]

§ 1024.4  Reliance upon rule, regulation or interpretation by the Bureau.

(a)  Rule, regulation or interpretation. (1) For purposes of sections 19(a) and (b) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2617(a) and (b)), only the following constitute a rule, regulation or interpretation of the Bureau:

(i)  All provisions, including appendices, of this part. Any other document referred to in this part is not incorporated in this part unless it is specifically set out in this part;

(ii)  Any other document that is published in the Federal Register by the Bureau and states that it is an "interpretation," "interpretive rule," "commentary," or a "statement of policy" for purposes of section 19(a) of RESPA. Such documents will be prepared by Bureau staff and counsel. Such documents may be revoked or amended by a subsequent document published in the Federal Register by the Bureau.

(2)  A "rule, regulation, or interpretation thereof by the Bureau" for purposes of section 19(b) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2617(b)) shall not include the special information booklet prescribed by the Bureau or any other statement or issuance, whether oral or written, by an officer or representative of the Bureau, letter or memorandum by the Director, General Counsel, or other officer or employee of the Bureau, preamble to a regulation or other issuance of the Bureau, Public Guidance Document, report to Congress, pleading, affidavit or other document in litigation, pamphlet, handbook, guide, telegraphic communication, explanation, instructions to forms, speech or other material of any nature which is not specifically included in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(b)  Unofficial interpretations; staff discretion. In response to requests for interpretation of matters not adequately covered by this part or by an official interpretation issued under paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, unofficial staff interpretations may be provided at the discretion of Bureau staff or counsel. Written requests for such interpretations should be directed to the address indicated in § 1024.3. Such interpretations provide no protection under section 19(b) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2617(b)). Ordinarily, staff or counsel will not issue unofficial interpretations on matters adequately covered by this part or by official interpretations or commentaries issued under paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section.

(c)  All informal counsel's opinions and staff interpretations issued by HUD before November 2, 1992, were withdrawn as of that date. Courts and administrative agencies, however, may use previous opinions to determine the validity of conduct under the previous Regulation X.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.4]

§ 1024.5  Coverage of RESPA.

(a)  Applicability. RESPA and this part apply to all federally related mortgage loans, except for the exemptions provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b)  Exemptions. (1) A loan on property of 25 acres or more.

(2)  Business purpose loans. An extension of credit primarily for a business, commercial, or agricultural purpose, as defined by 12 CFR 1026.3(a)(1) of Regulation Z. Persons may rely on Regulation Z in determining whether the exemption applies.

(3)  Temporary financing. Temporary financing, such as a construction loan. The exemption for temporary financing does not apply to a loan made to finance construction of 1- to 4-family residential property if the loan is used as, or may be converted to, permanent financing by the same lender or is used to finance transfer of title to the first user. If a lender issues a commitment for permanent financing, with or without conditions, the loan is covered by this part. Any construction loan for new or rehabilitated 1- to 4-family residential property, other than a loan to a bona fide builder (a person who regularly constructs 1- to 4-family residential structures for sale or lease), is subject to this part if its term is for two years or more. A "bridge loan" or "swing loan" in which a lender takes a security interest in otherwise covered 1- to 4-family residential property is not covered by RESPA and this part.

(4)  Vacant land. Any loan secured by vacant or unimproved property, unless within two years from the date of the settlement of the loan, a structure or a manufactured home will be constructed or placed on the real property using the loan proceeds. If a loan for a structure or manufactured home to be placed on vacant or unimproved property will be secured by a lien on that property, the transaction is covered by this part.

(5)  Assumption without lender approval. Any assumption in which the lender does not have the right expressly to approve a subsequent person as the borrower on an existing federally related mortgage loan. Any assumption in which the lender's permission is both required and obtained is covered by RESPA and this part, whether or not the lender charges a fee for the assumption.

(6)  Loan conversions. Any conversion of a federally related mortgage loan to different terms that are consistent with provisions of the original mortgage instrument, as long as a new note is not required, even if the lender charges an additional fee for the conversion.

(7)  Secondary market transactions. A bona fide transfer of a loan obligation in the secondary market is not covered by RESPA and this part, except as set forth in section 6 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2605) and § 1024.21. In determining what constitutes a bona fide transfer, the Bureau will consider the real source of funding and the real interest of the funding lender. Mortgage broker transactions that are table-funded are not secondary market transactions. Neither the creation of a dealer loan or dealer consumer credit contract, nor the first assignment of such loan or contract to a lender, is a secondary market transaction (see § 1024.2).

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.5]

§ 1024.6  Special information booklet at time of loan application.

(a)  Lender to provide special information booklet. Subject to the exceptions set forth in this paragraph, the lender shall provide a copy of the special information booklet to a person from whom the lender receives, or for whom the lender prepares, a written application for a federally related mortgage loan. When two or more persons apply together for a loan, the lender is in compliance if the lender provides a copy of the booklet to one of the persons applying.

(1)  The lender shall provide the special information booklet by delivering it or placing it in the mail to the applicant not later than three business days (as that term is defined in § 1024.2) after the application is received or prepared. However, if the lender denies the borrower's application for credit before the end of the three-business-day period, then the lender need not provide the booklet to the borrower. If a borrower uses a mortgage broker, the mortgage broker shall distribute the special information booklet and the lender need not do so. The intent of this provision is that the applicant receive the special information booklet at the earliest possible date.

(2)  In the case of a federally related mortgage loan involving an open-ended credit plan, as defined in Regulation Z, 12 CFR 1026.2(a)(20), a lender or mortgage broker that provides the borrower with a copy of the brochure entitled "When Your Home is On the Line: What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit", or any successor brochure issued by the Bureau, is deemed to be in compliance with this section.

(3)  In the categories of transactions set forth at the end of this paragraph, the lender or mortgage broker does not have to provide the booklet to the borrower. Under the authority of section 19(a) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2617(a)), the Bureau may issue a revised or separate special information booklet that deals with these transactions, or the Bureau may choose to endorse the forms or booklets of other Federal agencies. In such an event, the requirements for delivery by lenders and the availability of the booklet or alternate materials for these transactions will be set forth in a Notice in the Federal Register. This paragraph shall apply to the following transactions:

(i)  Refinancing transactions;

(ii)  Closed-end loans, as defined in 12 CFR 1026.2(a)(10) of Regulation Z, when the lender takes a subordinate lien;

(iii)  Reverse mortgages; and

(iv)  Any other federally related mortgage loan whose purpose is not the purchase of a 1- to 4-family residential property.

(b)  Revision. The Bureau may from time to time revise the special information booklet, publishing a notice in the Federal Register.

(c)  Reproduction. The special information booklet may be reproduced in any form, provided that no change is made other than as provided under paragraph (d) of this section. The special information booklet may not be made a part of a larger document for purposes of distribution under RESPA and this section. Any color, size and quality of paper, type of print, and method of reproduction may be used so long as the booklet is clearly legible.

(d)  Permissible changes. (1)(i) No changes to, deletions from, or additions to the special information booklet currently prescribed by the Bureau shall be made other than the permissible changes specified in paragraphs (d)(1)(ii) through (d)(3) of this section or changes as otherwise approved in writing by the Bureau in accordance with the procedures described in this paragraph. A request to the Bureau for approval of any changes other than the permissible changes specified in paragraphs (d)(1)(ii) through (d)(3) of this section shall be submitted in writing to the address indicated in § 1024.3, stating the reasons why the applicant believes such changes, deletions or additions are necessary.

(ii)(A)  In the Complaints section of the booklet, it is a permissible change to substitute "the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection" for "HUD's Office of RESPA" and "the RESPA office."

(B)  In the Avoiding Foreclosure section of the booklet, it is a permissible change to inform homeowners that they may find information on and assistance in avoiding foreclosures at http://www.consumerfinance.gov. The deletion of the reference to the HUD Web page, http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure/, in the Avoiding Foreclosure section of the booklet is not a permissible change.

(C)  In the Appendix to the booklet, it is a permissible change to substitute "the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection" for the reference to the "Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System" in the No Discrimination section of the Appendix to the booklet. In the Contact Information section of the Appendix to the booklet, it is a permissible change to add the following contact information for the Bureau: "Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20006; www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore". It is also a permissible change to remove the contact information for HUD's Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales from the Contact Information section of the Appendix to the booklet.

(2)  The cover of the booklet may be in any form and may contain any drawings, pictures or artwork, provided that the words "settlement costs" are used in the title. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of the lender or others and similar information may appear on the cover, but no discussion of the matters covered in the booklet shall appear on the cover. References to HUD on the cover of the booklet may be changed to references to the Bureau.

(3)  The special information booklet may be translated into languages other than English.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.6]

§ 1024.7  Good faith estimate.

(a)  Lender to provide. (1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (a), (b), or (h) of this section, not later than 3 business days after a lender receives an application, or information sufficient to complete an application, the lender must provide the applicant with a GFE. In the case of dealer loans, the lender must either provide the GFE or ensure that the dealer provides the GFE.

(2)  The lender must provide the GFE to the loan applicant by hand delivery, by placing it in the mail, or, if the applicant agrees, by fax, email, or other electronic means.

(3)  The lender is not required to provide the applicant with a GFE if, before the end of the 3-business-day period:

(i)  The lender denies the application; or

(ii)  The applicant withdraws the application.

(4)  The lender is not permitted to charge, as a condition for providing a GFE, any fee for an appraisal, inspection, or other similar settlement service. The lender may, at its option, charge a fee limited to the cost of a credit report. The lender may not charge additional fees until after the applicant has received the GFE and indicated an intention to proceed with the loan covered by that GFE. If the GFE is mailed to the applicant, the applicant is considered to have received the GFE 3 calendar days after it is mailed, not including Sundays and the legal public holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a).

(5)  The lender may at any time collect from the loan applicant any information that it requires in addition to the required application information. However, the lender is not permitted to require, as a condition for providing a GFE, that an applicant submit supplemental documentation to verify the information provided on the application.

(b)  Mortgage broker to provide. (1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (a), (b), or (h) of this section, either the lender or the mortgage broker must provide a GFE not later than 3 business days after a mortgage broker receives either an application or information sufficient to complete an application. The lender is responsible for ascertaining whether the GFE has been provided. If the mortgage broker has provided a GFE, the lender is not required to provide an additional GFE.

(2)  The mortgage broker must provide the GFE by hand delivery, by placing it in the mail, or, if the applicant agrees, by fax, email, or other electronic means.

(3)  The mortgage broker is not required to provide the applicant with a GFE if, before the end of the 3-business-day period:

(i)  The mortgage broker or lender denies the application; or

(ii)  The applicant withdraws the application.

(4)  The mortgage broker is not permitted to charge, as a condition for providing a GFE, any fee for an appraisal, inspection, or other similar settlement service. The mortgage broker may, at its option, charge a fee limited to the cost of a credit report. The mortgage broker may not charge additional fees until after the applicant has received the GFE and indicated an intention to proceed with the loan covered by that GFE. If the GFE is mailed to the applicant, the applicant is considered to have received the GFE 3 calendar days after it is mailed, not including Sundays and the legal public holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a).

(5)  The mortgage broker may at any time collect from the loan applicant any information that it requires in addition to the required application information. However, the mortgage broker is not permitted to require, as a condition for providing a GFE, that an applicant submit supplemental documentation to verify the information provided on the application.

(c)  Availability of GFE terms. Except as provided in this paragraph, the estimate of the charges and terms for all settlement services must be available for at least 10 business days from when the GFE is provided, but it may remain available longer, if the loan originator extends the period of availability. The estimate for the following charges are excepted from this requirement: the interest rate, charges and terms dependent upon the interest rate, which includes the charge or credit for the interest rate chosen, the adjusted origination charges, and per diem interest.

(d)  Content and form of GFE. The GFE form is set out in Appendix C to this part. The loan originator must prepare the GFE in accordance with the requirements of this section and the Instructions in Appendix C to this part. The instructions in Appendix C to this part allow for flexibility in the preparation and distribution of the GFE in hard copy and electronic format.

(e)  Tolerances for amounts included on GFE. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, the actual charges at settlement may not exceed the amounts included on the GFE for:

(i)  The origination charge;

(ii)  While the borrower's interest rate is locked, the credit or charge for the interest rate chosen;

(iii)  While the borrower's interest rate is locked, the adjusted origination charge; and

(iv)  Transfer taxes.

(2)  Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, the sum of the charges at settlement for the following services may not be greater than 10 percent above the sum of the amounts included on the GFE:

(i)  Lender-required settlement services, where the lender selects the third party settlement service provider;

(ii)  Lender-required services, title services and required title insurance, and owner's title insurance, when the borrower uses a settlement service provider identified by the loan originator; and

(iii)  Government recording charges.

(3)  The amounts charged for all other settlement services included on the GFE may change at settlement.

(f)  Binding GFE. The loan originator is bound, within the tolerances provided in paragraph (e) of this section, to the settlement charges and terms listed on the GFE provided to the borrower, unless a revised GFE is provided prior to settlement consistent with this paragraph (f) or the GFE expires in accordance with paragraph (f)(4) of this section. If a loan originator provides a revised GFE consistent with this paragraph, the loan originator must document the reason that a revised GFE was provided. Loan originators must retain documentation of any reason for providing a revised GFE for no less than 3 years after settlement.

(1)  Changed circumstances affecting settlement costs. If changed circumstances result in increased costs for any settlement services such that the charges at settlement would exceed the tolerances for those charges, the loan originator may provide a revised GFE to the borrower. If a revised GFE is to be provided, the loan originator must do so within 3 business days of receiving information sufficient to establish changed circumstances. The revised GFE may increase charges for services listed on the GFE only to the extent that the changed circumstances actually resulted in higher charges.

(2)  Changed circumstances affecting loan. If changed circumstances result in a change in the borrower's eligibility for the specific loan terms identified in the GFE, the loan originator may provide a revised GFE to the borrower. If a revised GFE is to be provided, the loan originator must do so within 3 business days of receiving information sufficient to establish changed circumstances. The revised GFE may increase charges for services listed on the GFE only to the extent that the changed circumstances affecting the loan actually resulted in higher charges.

(3)  Borrower-requested changes. If a borrower requests changes to the mortgage loan identified in the GFE that change the settlement charges or the terms of the loan, the loan originator may provide a revised GFE to the borrower. If a revised GFE is to be provided, the loan originator must do so within 3 business days of the borrower's request. The revised GFE may increase charges for services listed on the GFE only to the extent that the borrower-requested changes to the mortgage loan identified on the GFE actually resulted in higher charges.

(4)  Expiration of GFE. If a borrower does not express an intent to continue with an application within 10 business days after the GFE is provided, or such longer time specified by the loan originator pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, the loan originator is no longer bound by the GFE.

(5)  Interest rate-dependent charges and terms. If the interest rate has not been locked, or a locked interest rate has expired, the charge or credit for the interest rate chosen, the adjusted origination charges, per diem interest, and loan terms related to the interest rate may change. When the interest rate is later locked, a revised GFE must be provided showing the revised interest rate-dependent charges and terms. The loan originator must provide the revised GFE within 3 business days of the interest rate being locked or, for an expired interest rate, re-locked. All other charges and terms must remain the same as on the original GFE, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (f) of this section.

(6)  New construction home purchases. In transactions involving new construction home purchases, where settlement is anticipated to occur more than 60 calendar days from the time a GFE is provided, the loan originator may provide the GFE to the borrower with a clear and conspicuous disclosure stating that at any time up until 60 calendar days prior to closing, the loan originator may issue a revised GFE. If no such separate disclosure is provided, the loan originator cannot issue a revised GFE, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (f) of this section.

(g)  GFE is not a loan commitment. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require a loan originator to make a loan to a particular borrower. The loan originator is not required to provide a GFE if the loan originator does not have available a loan for which the borrower is eligible.

(h)  Open-end lines of credit (home-equity plans) under Truth in Lending Act. In the case of a federally related mortgage loan involving an open-end line of credit (home-equity plan) covered under the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, a lender or mortgage broker that provides the borrower with the disclosures required by 12 CFR 1026.40 of Regulation Z at the time the borrower applies for such loan shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this section.

(i)  Violations of section 5 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2604). A loan originator that violates the requirements of this section shall be deemed to have violated section 5 of RESPA. If any charges at settlement exceed the charges listed on the GFE by more than the permitted tolerances, the loan originator may cure the tolerance violation by reimbursing to the borrower the amount by which the tolerance was exceeded, at settlement or within 30 calendar days after settlement. A borrower will be deemed to have received timely reimbursement if the loan originator delivers or places the payment in the mail within 30 calendar days after settlement.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.7]

§ 1024.8  Use of HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statements.

(a)  Use by settlement agent. The settlement agent shall use the HUD--1 settlement statement in every settlement involving a federally related mortgage loan in which there is a borrower and a seller. For transactions in which there is a borrower and no seller, such as refinancing loans or subordinate lien loans, the HUD--1 may be utilized by using the borrower's side of the HUD--1 statement. Alternatively, the form HUD--1A may be used for these transactions. The HUD--1 or HUD--1A may be modified as permitted under this part. Either the HUD--1 or the HUD--1A, as appropriate, shall be used for every RESPA-covered transaction, unless its use is specifically exempted. The use of the HUD--1 or HUD--1A is exempted for open-end lines of credit (home-equity plans) covered by the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z.

(b)  Charges to be stated. The settlement agent shall complete the HUD--1 or HUD--1A, in accordance with the instructions set forth in Appendix A to this part. The loan originator must transmit to the settlement agent all information necessary to complete the HUD--1 or HUD--1A.

(1)  In general. The settlement agent shall state the actual charges paid by the borrower and seller on the HUD--1, or by the borrower on the HUD--1A. The settlement agent must separately itemize each third party charge paid by the borrower and seller. All origination services performed by or on behalf of the loan originator must be included in the loan originator's own charge. Administrative and processing services related to title services must be included in the title underwriter's or title agent's own charge. The amount stated on the HUD--1 or HUD--1A for any itemized service cannot exceed the amount actually received by the settlement service provider for that itemized service, unless the charge is an average charge in accordance with paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(2)  Use of average charge. (i) The average charge for a settlement service shall be no more than the average amount paid for a settlement service by one settlement service provider to another settlement service provider on behalf of borrowers and sellers for a particular class of transactions involving federally related mortgage loans. The total amounts paid by borrowers and sellers for a settlement service based on the use of an average charge may not exceed the total amounts paid to the providers of that service for the particular class of transactions.

(ii)  The settlement service provider shall define the particular class of transactions for purposes of calculating the average charge as all transactions involving federally related mortgage loans for:

(A)  A period of time as determined by the settlement service provider, but not less than 30 calendar days and not more than 6 months;

(B)  A geographic area as determined by the settlement service provider; and

(C)  A type of loan as determined by the settlement service provider.

(iii)  A settlement service provider may use an average charge in the same class of transactions for which the charge was calculated. If the settlement service provider uses the average charge for any transaction in the class, the settlement service provider must use the same average charge in every transaction within that class for which a GFE was provided.

(iv)  The use of an average charge is not permitted for any settlement service if the charge for the service is based on the loan amount or property value. For example, an average charge may not be used for transfer taxes, interest charges, reserves or escrow, or any type of insurance, including mortgage insurance, title insurance, or hazard insurance.

(v)  The settlement service provider must retain all documentation used to calculate the average charge for a particular class of transactions for at least 3 years after any settlement for which that average charge was used.

(c)  Violations of section 4 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2603). A violation of any of the requirements of this section will be deemed to be a violation of section 4 of RESPA. An inadvertent or technical error in completing the HUD--1 or HUD--1A shall not be deemed a violation of section 4 of RESPA if a revised HUD--1 or HUD--1A is provided in accordance with the requirements of this section within 30 calendar days after settlement.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.8]

§ 1024.9  Reproduction of settlement statements.

(a)  Permissible changes--HUD--1. The following changes and insertions are permitted when the HUD--1 settlement statement is reproduced:

(1)  The person reproducing the HUD--1 may insert its business name and logo in section A and may rearrange, but not delete, the other information that appears in section A.

(2)  The name, address, and other information regarding the lender and settlement agent may be printed in sections F and H, respectively.

(3)  Reproduction of the HUD--1 must conform to the terminology, sequence, and numbering of line items as presented in lines 100-1400. However, blank lines or items listed in lines 100-1400 that are not used locally or in connection with mortgages by the lender may be deleted, except for the following: Lines 100, 120, 200, 220, 300, 301, 302, 303, 400, 420, 500, 520, 600, 601, 602, 603, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, and 1400. The form may be shortened correspondingly. The number of a deleted item shall not be used for a substitute or new item, but the number of a blank space on the HUD--1 may be used for a substitute or new item.

(4)  Charges not listed on the HUD--1, but that are customary locally or pursuant to the lender's practice, may be inserted in blank spaces. Where existing blank spaces on the HUD--1 are insufficient, additional lines and spaces may be added and numbered in sequence with spaces on the HUD--1.

(5)  The following variations in layout and format are within the discretion of persons reproducing the HUD--1 and do not require prior HUD approval: size of pages; tint or color of pages; size and style of type or print; vertical spacing between lines or provision for additional horizontal space on lines (for example, to provide sufficient space for recording time periods used in prorations); printing of the HUD--1 contents on separate pages, on the front and back of a single page, or on one continuous page; use of multicopy tear-out sets; printing on rolls for computer purposes; reorganization of sections B through I, when necessary to accommodate computer printing; and manner of placement of the HUD number, but not the OMB approval number, neither of which may be deleted. The expiration date associated with the OMB number listed on the form may be deleted. Any changes in the HUD number or OMB approval number may be announced by notice in the Federal Register, rather than by amendment of this part.

(6)  The borrower's information and the seller's information may be provided on separate pages.

(7)  Signature lines may be added.

(8)  The HUD--1 may be translated into languages other than English.

(9)  An additional page may be attached to the HUD--1 for the purpose of including customary recitals and information used locally in real estate settlements; for example, breakdown of payoff figures, a breakdown of the borrower's total monthly mortgage payments, check disbursements, a statement indicating receipt of funds, applicable special stipulations between buyer and seller, and the date funds are transferred. If space permits, such information may be added at the end of the HUD--1.

(10)  As required by HUD/FHA in FHA-insured loans.

(11)  As allowed by § 1024.17, relating to an initial escrow account statement.

(b)  Permissible changes--HUD--1A. The changes and insertions on the HUD--1 permitted under paragraph (a) of this section are also permitted when the HUD--1A settlement statement is reproduced, except the changes described in paragraphs (a)(3) and (6) of this section.

(c)  Written approval. Any other deviation in the HUD--1 or HUD--1A forms is permissible only upon receipt of written approval of the Bureau; provided, however, that notwithstanding contrary instructions in this section or Appendix A, reproducing the HUD--1 or HUD--1A forms with the Bureau's OMB approval number displayed in place of HUD's OMB approval number does not require the written approval of the Bureau. A request to the Bureau for approval shall be submitted in writing to the address indicated in § 1024.3 and shall state the reasons why the applicant believes such deviation is needed. The prescribed form(s) must be used until approval is received.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.9]

§ 1024.10  One-day advance inspection of HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement; delivery; recordkeeping.

(a)  Inspection one day prior to settlement upon request by the borrower. The settlement agent shall permit the borrower to inspect the HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement, completed to set forth those items that are known to the settlement agent at the time of inspection, during the business day immediately preceding settlement. Items related only to the seller's transaction may be omitted from the HUD--1.

(b)  Delivery. The settlement agent shall provide a completed HUD--1 or HUD--1A to the borrower, the seller (if there is one), the lender (if the lender is not the settlement agent), and/or their agents. When the borrower's and seller's copies of the HUD--1 or HUD--1A differ as permitted by the instructions in Appendix A to this part, both copies shall be provided to the lender (if the lender is not the settlement agent). The settlement agent shall deliver the completed HUD--1 or HUD--1A at or before the settlement, except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.

(c)  Waiver. The borrower may waive the right to delivery of the completed HUD--1 or HUD--1A no later than at settlement by executing a written waiver at or before settlement. In such case, the completed HUD--1 or HUD--1A shall be mailed or delivered to the borrower, seller, and lender (if the lender is not the settlement agent) as soon as practicable after settlement.

(d)  Exempt transactions. When the borrower or the borrower's agent does not attend the settlement, or when the settlement agent does not conduct a meeting of the parties for that purpose, the transaction shall be exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, except that the HUD--1 or HUD--1A shall be mailed or delivered as soon as practicable after settlement.

(e)  Recordkeeping. The lender shall retain each completed HUD--1 or HUD--1A and related documents for five years after settlement, unless the lender disposes of its interest in the mortgage and does not service the mortgage. In that case, the lender shall provide its copy of the HUD--1 or HUD--1A to the owner or servicer of the mortgage as a part of the transfer of the loan file. Such owner or servicer shall retain the HUD--1 or HUD--1A for the remainder of the five-year period. The Bureau shall have the right to inspect or require copies of records covered by this paragraph (e).

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.10]

§ 1024.11  Mailing.

The provisions of this part requiring or permitting mailing of documents shall be deemed to be satisfied by placing the document in the mail (whether or not received by the addressee) addressed to the addresses stated in the loan application or in other information submitted to or obtained by the lender at the time of loan application or submitted or obtained by the lender or settlement agent, except that a revised address shall be used where the lender or settlement agent has been expressly informed in writing of a change in address.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.11]

§ 1024.12  No fee.

No fee shall be imposed or charge made upon any other person, as a part of settlement costs or otherwise, by a lender in connection with a federally related mortgage loan made by it (or a loan for the purchase of a manufactured home), or by a servicer (as that term is defined under 12 U.S.C. 2605(i)(2)) for or on account of the preparation and distribution of the HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement, escrow account statements required pursuant to section 10 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2609), or statements required by the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.12]

§ 1024.13  Relation to state laws.

(a)  State laws that are inconsistent with RESPA or this part are preempted to the extent of the inconsistency. However, RESPA and these regulations do not annul, alter, affect, or exempt any person subject to their provisions from complying with the laws of any state with respect to settlement practices, except to the extent of the inconsistency.

(b)  Upon request by any person, the Bureau is authorized to determine if inconsistencies with state law exist; in doing so, the Bureau shall consult with appropriate Federal agencies.

(1)  The Bureau may not determine that a state law or regulation is inconsistent with any provision of RESPA or this part, if the Bureau determines that such law or regulation gives greater protection to the consumer.

(2)  In determining whether provisions of state law or regulations concerning affiliated business arrangements are inconsistent with RESPA or this part, the Bureau may not construe those provisions that impose more stringent limitations on affiliated business arrangements as inconsistent with RESPA so long as they give more protection to consumers and/or competition.

(c)  Any person may request the Bureau to determine whether an inconsistency exists by submitting to the address indicated in § 1024.3, a copy of the state law in question, any other law or judicial or administrative opinion that implements, interprets or applies the relevant provision, and an explanation of the possible inconsistency. A determination by the Bureau that an inconsistency with state law exists will be made by publication of a notice in the Federal Register. "Law" as used in this section includes regulations and any enactment which has the force and effect of law and is issued by a state or any political subdivision of a State.

(d)  A specific preemption of conflicting state laws regarding notices and disclosures of mortgage servicing transfers is set forth in § 1024.21(h).

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.13]

§ 1024.14  Prohibition against kickbacks and unearned fees.

(a)  Section 8 violation. Any violation of this section is a violation of section 8 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2607).

(b)  No referral fees. No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback or other thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or part of a settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person. Any referral of a settlement service is not a compensable service, except as set forth in § 1024.14(g)(1). A company may not pay any other company or the employees of any other company for the referral of settlement service business.

(c)  No split of charges except for actual services performed. No person shall give and no person shall accept any portion, split, or percentage of any charge made or received for the rendering of a settlement service in connection with a transaction involving a federally related mortgage loan other than for services actually performed. A charge by a person for which no or nominal services are performed or for which duplicative fees are charged is an unearned fee and violates this section. The source of the payment does not determine whether or not a service is compensable. Nor may the prohibitions of this part be avoided by creating an arrangement wherein the purchaser of services splits the fee.

(d)  Thing of value. This term is broadly defined in section 3(2) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2602(2)). It includes, without limitation, monies, things, discounts, salaries, commissions, fees, duplicate payments of a charge, stock, dividends, distributions of partnership profits, franchise royalties, credits representing monies that may be paid at a future date, the opportunity to participate in a money-making program, retained or increased earnings, increased equity in a parent or subsidiary entity, special bank deposits or accounts, special or unusual banking terms, services of all types at special or free rates, sales or rentals at special prices or rates, lease or rental payments based in whole or in part on the amount of business referred, trips and payment of another person's expenses, or reduction in credit against an existing obligation. The term "payment" is used throughout §§ 1024.14 and 1024.15 as synonymous with the giving or receiving of any "thing of value" and does not require transfer of money.

(e)  Agreement or understanding. An agreement or understanding for the referral of business incident to or part of a settlement service need not be written or verbalized but may be established by a practice, pattern or course of conduct. When a thing of value is received repeatedly and is connected in any way with the volume or value of the business referred, the receipt of the thing of value is evidence that it is made pursuant to an agreement or understanding for the referral of business.

(f)  Referral. (1) A referral includes any oral or written action directed to a person which has the effect of affirmatively influencing the selection by any person of a provider of a settlement service or business incident to or part of a settlement service when such person will pay for such settlement service or business incident thereto or pay a charge attributable in whole or in part to such settlement service or business.

(2)  A referral also occurs whenever a person paying for a settlement service or business incident thereto is required to use (see § 1024.2, "required use") a particular provider of a settlement service or business incident thereto.

(g)  Fees, salaries, compensation, or other payments. (1) Section 8 of RESPA permits:

(i)  A payment to an attorney at law for services actually rendered;

(ii)  A payment by a title company to its duly appointed agent for services actually performed in the issuance of a policy of title insurance;

(iii)  A payment by a lender to its duly appointed agent or contractor for services actually performed in the origination, processing, or funding of a loan;

(iv)  A payment to any person of a bona fide salary or compensation or other payment for goods or facilities actually furnished or for services actually performed;

(v)  A payment pursuant to cooperative brokerage and referral arrangements or agreements between real estate agents and real estate brokers. (The statutory exemption restated in this paragraph refers only to fee divisions within real estate brokerage arrangements when all parties are acting in a real estate brokerage capacity, and has no applicability to any fee arrangements between real estate brokers and mortgage brokers or between mortgage brokers.);

(vi)  Normal promotional and educational activities that are not conditioned on the referral of business and that do not involve the defraying of expenses that otherwise would be incurred by persons in a position to refer settlement services or business incident thereto; or

(vii)  An employer's payment to its own employees for any referral activities.

(2)  The Bureau may investigate high prices to see if they are the result of a referral fee or a split of a fee. If the payment of a thing of value bears no reasonable relationship to the market value of the goods or services provided, then the excess is not for services or goods actually performed or provided. These facts may be used as evidence of a violation of section 8 and may serve as a basis for a RESPA investigation. High prices standing alone are not proof of a RESPA violation. The value of a referral ( i.e., the value of any additional business obtained thereby) is not to be taken into account in determining whether the payment exceeds the reasonable value of such goods, facilities or services. The fact that the transfer of the thing of value does not result in an increase in any charge made by the person giving the thing of value is irrelevant in determining whether the act is prohibited.

(3)  Multiple services. When a person in a position to refer settlement service business, such as an attorney, mortgage lender, real estate broker or agent, or developer or builder, receives a payment for providing additional settlement services as part of a real estate transaction, such payment must be for services that are actual, necessary and distinct from the primary services provided by such person. For example, for an attorney of the buyer or seller to receive compensation as a title agent, the attorney must perform core title agent services (for which liability arises) separate from attorney services, including the evaluation of the title search to determine the insurability of the title, the clearance of underwriting objections, the actual issuance of the policy or policies on behalf of the title insurance company, and, where customary, issuance of the title commitment, and the conducting of the title search and closing.

(h)  Recordkeeping. Any documents provided pursuant to this section shall be retained for five (5) years from the date of execution.

(i)  Appendix B of this part. Illustrations in Appendix B of this part demonstrate some of the requirements of this section.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.14]

§ 1024.15  Affiliated business arrangements.

(a)  General. An affiliated business arrangement is defined in section 3(7) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2602(7)).

(b)  Violation and exemption. An affiliated business arrangement is not a violation of section 8 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2607) and of § 1024.14 if the conditions set forth in this section are satisfied. Paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall not apply to the extent it is inconsistent with section 8(c)(4)(A) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2607(c)(4)(A)).

(1)  The person making each referral has provided to each person whose business is referred a written disclosure, in the format of the Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement set forth in Appendix D of this part, of the nature of the relationship (explaining the ownership and financial interest) between the provider of settlement services (or business incident thereto) and the person making the referral and of an estimated charge or range of charges generally made by such provider (which describes the charge using the same terminology, as far as practical, as section L of the HUD--1 settlement statement). The disclosures must be provided on a separate piece of paper no later than the time of each referral or, if the lender requires use of a particular provider, the time of loan application, except that:

(i)  Where a lender makes the referral to a borrower, the condition contained in paragraph (b)(1) of this section may be satisfied at the time that the good faith estimate or a statement under § 1024.7(d) is provided; and

(ii)  Whenever an attorney or law firm requires a client to use a particular title insurance agent, the attorney or law firm shall provide the disclosures no later than the time the attorney or law firm is engaged by the client.

(iii)  Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of this section may be overcome if the person making a referral can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that procedures reasonably adopted to result in compliance with these conditions have been maintained and that any failure to comply with these conditions was unintentional and the result of a bona fide error. An error of legal judgment with respect to a person's obligations under RESPA is not a bona fide error. Administrative and judicial interpretations of section 130(c) of the Truth in Lending Act shall not be binding interpretations of the preceding sentence or section 8(d)(3) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2607(d)(3)).

(2)  No person making a referral has required (as defined in § 1024.2, "required use") any person to use any particular provider of settlement services or business incident thereto, except if such person is a lender, for requiring a buyer, borrower or seller to pay for the services of an attorney, credit reporting agency, or real estate appraiser chosen by the lender to represent the lender's interest in a real estate transaction, or except if such person is an attorney or law firm for arranging for issuance of a title insurance policy for a client, directly as agent or through a separate corporate title insurance agency that may be operated as an adjunct to the law practice of the attorney or law firm, as part of representation of that client in a real estate transaction.

(3)  The only thing of value that is received from the arrangement other than payments listed in § 1024.14(g) is a return on an ownership interest or franchise relationship.

(i)  In an affiliated business arrangement:

(A)  Bona fide dividends, and capital or equity distributions, related to ownership interest or franchise relationship, between entities in an affiliate relationship, are permissible; and

(B)  Bona fide business loans, advances, and capital or equity contributions between entities in an affiliate relationship (in any direction), are not prohibited-so long as they are for ordinary business purposes and are not fees for the referral of settlement service business or unearned fees.

(ii)  A return on an ownership interest does not include:

(A)  Any payment which has as a basis of calculation no apparent business motive other than distinguishing among recipients of payments on the basis of the amount of their actual, estimated or anticipated referrals;

(B)  Any payment which varies according to the relative amount of referrals by the different recipients of similar payments; or

(C)  A payment based on an ownership, partnership or joint venture share which has been adjusted on the basis of previous relative referrals by recipients of similar payments.

(iii)  Neither the mere labeling of a thing of value, nor the fact that it may be calculated pursuant to a corporate or partnership organizational document or a franchise agreement, will determine whether it is a bona fide return on an ownership interest or franchise relationship. Whether a thing of value is such a return will be determined by analyzing facts and circumstances on a case by case basis.

(iv)  A return on franchise relationship may be a payment to or from a franchisee but it does not include any payment which is not based on the franchise agreement, nor any payment which varies according to the number or amount of referrals by the franchisor or franchisee or which is based on a franchise agreement which has been adjusted on the basis of a previous number or amount of referrals by the franchiser or franchisees. A franchise agreement may not be constructed to insulate against kickbacks or referral fees.

(c)  Definitions. As used in this section:

Associate is defined in section 3(8) of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2602(8)).

Affiliate relationship means the relationship among business entities where one entity has effective control over the other by virtue of a partnership or other agreement or is under common control with the other by a third entity or where an entity is a corporation related to another corporation as parent to subsidiary by an identity of stock ownership.

Beneficial ownership means the effective ownership of an interest in a provider of settlement services or the right to use and control the ownership interest involved even though legal ownership or title may be held in another person's name.

Control, as used in the definitions of "associate" and "affiliate relationship," means that a person:

(i)  Is a general partner, officer, director, or employer of another person;

(ii)  Directly or indirectly or acting in concert with others, or through one or more subsidiaries, owns, holds with power to vote, or holds proxies representing, more than 20 percent of the voting interests of another person;

(iii)  Affirmatively influences in any manner the election of a majority of the directors of another person; or

(iv)  Has contributed more than 20 percent of the capital of the other person. Direct ownership means the holding of legal title to an interest in a provider of settlement service except where title is being held for the beneficial owner.

Franchise is defined in FTC regulation 16 CFR 436.1(h).

Franchisor is defined in FTC regulation 16 CFR 436.1(k).

Franchisee is defined in FTC regulation 16 CFR 436.1(i).

FTC means the Federal Trade Commission.

Person who is in a position to refer settlement service business means any real estate broker or agent, lender, mortgage broker, builder or developer, attorney, title company, title agent, or other person deriving a significant portion of his or her gross income from providing settlement services.

(d)  Recordkeeping. Any documents provided pursuant to this section shall be retained for 5 years after the date of execution.

(e)  Appendix B of this part. Illustrations in Appendix B of this part demonstrate some of the requirements of this section.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.15]

§ 1024.16  Title companies.

No seller of property that will be purchased with the assistance of a federally related mortgage loan shall violate section 9 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2608). Section 1024.2 defines "required use" of a provider of a settlement service.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.16]

§ 1024.17  Escrow accounts.

(a)  General. This section sets out the requirements for an escrow account that a lender establishes in connection with a federally related mortgage loan. It sets limits for escrow accounts using calculations based on monthly payments and disbursements within a calendar year. If an escrow account involves biweekly or any other payment period, the requirements in this section shall be modified accordingly. A Public Guidance Document entitled "Biweekly Payments--Example" provides examples of biweekly accounting and a Public Guidance Document entitled "Annual Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Example" provides examples of a 3-year accounting cycle that may be used in accordance with paragraph (c)(9) of this section. A Public Guidance Document entitled "Consumer Disclosure for Voluntary Escrow Account Payments" provides a model disclosure format that originators and servicers are encouraged, but not required, to provide to consumers when the originator or servicer anticipates a substantial increase in disbursements from the escrow account after the first year of the loan. The disclosures in that model format may be combined with or included in the Initial Escrow Account Statement required in § 1024.17(g).

(b)  Definitions. As used in this section:

Aggregate (or) composite analysis, hereafter called aggregate analysis, means an accounting method a servicer uses in conducting an escrow account analysis by computing the sufficiency of escrow account funds by analyzing the account as a whole. Appendix E to this part sets forth examples of aggregate escrow account analyses.

Annual escrow account statement means a statement containing all of the information set forth in § 1024.17(i). As noted in § 1024.17(i), a servicer shall submit an annual escrow account statement to the borrower within 30 calendar days of the end of the escrow account computation year, after conducting an escrow account analysis.

Cushion or reserve (hereafter cushion) means funds that a servicer may require a borrower to pay into an escrow account to cover unanticipated disbursements or disbursements made before the borrower's payments are available in the account, as limited by § 1024.17(c).

Deficiency is the amount of a negative balance in an escrow account. As noted in § 1024.17(f), if a servicer advances funds for a borrower, then the servicer must perform an escrow account analysis before seeking repayment of the deficiency.

Delivery means the placing of a document in the United States mail, first-class postage paid, addressed to the last known address of the recipient. Hand delivery also constitutes delivery.

Disbursement date means the date on which the servicer actually pays an escrow item from the escrow account.

Escrow account means any account that a servicer establishes or controls on behalf of a borrower to pay taxes, insurance premiums (including flood insurance), or other charges with respect to a federally related mortgage loan, including charges that the borrower and servicer have voluntarily agreed that the servicer should collect and pay. The definition encompasses any account established for this purpose, including a "trust account", "reserve account", "impound account", or other term in different localities. An "escrow account" includes any arrangement where the servicer adds a portion of the borrower's payments to principal and subsequently deducts from principal the disbursements for escrow account items. For purposes of this section, the term "escrow account" excludes any account that is under the borrower's total control.

Escrow account analysis means the accounting that a servicer conducts in the form of a trial running balance for an escrow account to:

(1)  Determine the appropriate target balances;

(2)  Compute the borrower's monthly payments for the next escrow account computation year and any deposits needed to establish or maintain the account; and

(3)  Determine whether shortages, surpluses or deficiencies exist.

Escrow account computation year is a 12-month period that a servicer establishes for the escrow account beginning with the borrower's initial payment date. The term includes each 12-month period thereafter, unless a servicer chooses to issue a short year statement under the conditions stated in § 1024.17(i)(4).

Escrow account item or separate item means any separate expenditure category, such as "taxes" or "insurance", for which funds are collected in the escrow account for disbursement. An escrow account item with installment payments, such as local property taxes, remains one escrow account item regardless of multiple disbursement dates to the tax authority.

Initial escrow account statement means the first disclosure statement that the servicer delivers to the borrower concerning the borrower's escrow account. The initial escrow account statement shall meet the requirements of § 1024.17(g) and be in substantially the format set forth in § 1024.17(h).

Installment payment means one of two or more payments payable on an escrow account item during an escrow account computation year. An example of an installment payment is where a jurisdiction bills quarterly for taxes.

Payment due date means the date each month when the borrower's monthly payment to an escrow account is due to the servicer. The initial payment date is the borrower's first payment due date to an escrow account.

Penalty means a late charge imposed by the payee for paying after the disbursement is due. It does not include any additional charge or fee imposed by the payee associated with choosing installment payments as opposed to annual payments or for choosing one installment plan over another.

Pre-accrual is a practice some servicers use to require borrowers to deposit funds, needed for disbursement and maintenance of a cushion, in the escrow account some period before the disbursement date. Pre-accrual is subject to the limitations of § 1024.17(c).

Shortage means an amount by which a current escrow account balance falls short of the target balance at the time of escrow analysis.

Single-item analysis means an accounting method servicers use in conducting an escrow account analysis by computing the sufficiency of escrow account funds by considering each escrow item separately. Appendix E to this part sets forth examples of single-item analysis.

Submission (of an escrow account statement) means the delivery of the statement.

Surplus means an amount by which the current escrow account balance exceeds the target balance for the account.

System of recordkeeping means the servicer's method of keeping information that reflects the facts relating to that servicer's handling of the borrower's escrow account, including, but not limited to, the payment of amounts from the escrow account and the submission of initial and annual escrow account statements to borrowers.

Target balance means the estimated month end balance in an escrow account that is just sufficient to cover the remaining disbursements from the escrow account in the escrow account computation year, taking into account the remaining scheduled periodic payments, and a cushion, if any.

Trial running balance means the accounting process that derives the target balances over the course of an escrow account computation year. Section 1024.17(d) provides a description of the steps involved in performing a trial running balance.

(c)  Limits on payments to escrow accounts. (1) A lender or servicer (hereafter servicer) shall not require a borrower to deposit into any escrow account, created in connection with a federally related mortgage loan, more than the following amounts:

(i)  Charges at settlement or upon creation of an escrow account. At the time a servicer creates an escrow account for a borrower, the servicer may charge the borrower an amount sufficient to pay the charges respecting the mortgaged property, such as taxes and insurance, which are attributable to the period from the date such payment(s) were last paid until the initial payment date. The "amount sufficient to pay" is computed so that the lowest month end target balance projected for the escrow account computation year is zero (-0-) (see Step 2 in Appendix E to this part). In addition, the servicer may charge the borrower a cushion that shall be no greater than one-sixth (1/6) of the estimated total annual payments from the escrow account.

(ii)  Charges during the life of the escrow account. Throughout the life of an escrow account, the servicer may charge the borrower a monthly sum equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of the total annual escrow payments which the servicer reasonably anticipates paying from the account. In addition, the servicer may add an amount to maintain a cushion no greater than one-sixth (1/6) of the estimated total annual payments from the account. However, if a servicer determines through an escrow account analysis that there is a shortage or deficiency, the servicer may require the borrower to pay additional deposits to make up the shortage or eliminate the deficiency, subject to the limitations set forth in § 1024.17(f).

(2)  Escrow analysis at creation of escrow account. Before establishing an escrow account, the servicer must conduct an escrow account analysis to determine the amount the borrower must deposit into the escrow account (subject to the limitations of paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section), and the amount of the borrower's periodic payments into the escrow account (subject to the limitations of paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section). In conducting the escrow account analysis, the servicer must estimate the disbursement amounts according to paragraph (c)(7) of this section. Pursuant to paragraph (k) of this section, the servicer must use a date on or before the deadline to avoid a penalty as the disbursement date for the escrow item and comply with any other requirements of paragraph (k) of this section. Upon completing the initial escrow account analysis, the servicer must prepare and deliver an initial escrow account statement to the borrower, as set forth in paragraph (g) of this section. The servicer must use the escrow account analysis to determine whether a surplus, shortage, or deficiency exists and must make any adjustments to the account pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.

(3)  Subsequent escrow account analyses. For each escrow account, the servicer must conduct an escrow account analysis at the completion of the escrow account computation year to determine the borrower's monthly escrow account payments for the next computation year, subject to the limitations of paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section. In conducting the escrow account analysis, the servicer must estimate the disbursement amounts according to paragraph (c)(7) of this section. Pursuant to paragraph (k) of this section, the servicer must use a date on or before the deadline to avoid a penalty as the disbursement date for the escrow item and comply with any other requirements of paragraph (k) of this section. The servicer must use the escrow account analysis to determine whether a surplus, shortage, or deficiency exists, and must make any adjustments to the account pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section. Upon completing an escrow account analysis, the servicer must prepare and submit an annual escrow account statement to the borrower, as set forth in paragraph (i) of this section.

(4)  Aggregate accounting required. All servicers must use the aggregate accounting method in conducting escrow account analyses.

(5)  Cushion. The cushion must be no greater than one-sixth (1/6) of the estimated total annual disbursements from the escrow account.

(6)  Restrictions on pre-accrual. A servicer must not practice pre-accrual.

(7)  Servicer estimates of disbursement amounts. To conduct an escrow account analysis, the servicer shall estimate the amount of escrow account items to be disbursed. If the servicer knows the charge for an escrow item in the next computation year, then the servicer shall use that amount in estimating disbursement amounts. If the charge is unknown to the servicer, the servicer may base the estimate on the preceding year's charge, or the preceding year's charge as modified by an amount not exceeding the most recent year's change in the national Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI, all items). In cases of unassessed new construction, the servicer may base an estimate on the assessment of comparable residential property in the market area.

(8)  Provisions in mortgage documents. The servicer must examine the mortgage loan documents to determine the applicable cushion for each escrow account. If the mortgage loan documents provide for lower cushion limits, then the terms of the loan documents apply. Where the terms of any mortgage loan document allow greater payments to an escrow account than allowed by this section, then this section controls the applicable limits. Where the mortgage loan documents do not specifically establish an escrow account, whether a servicer may establish an escrow account for the loan is a matter for determination by other Federal or state law. If the mortgage loan document is silent on the escrow account limits and a servicer establishes an escrow account under other Federal or state law, then the limitations of this section apply unless applicable Federal or state law provides for a lower amount. If the loan documents provide for escrow accounts up to the RESPA limits, then the servicer may require the maximum amounts consistent with this section, unless an applicable Federal or state law sets a lesser amount.

(9)  Assessments for periods longer than one year. Some escrow account items may be billed for periods longer than one year. For example, servicers may need to collect flood insurance or water purification escrow funds for payment every three years. In such cases, the servicer shall estimate the borrower's payments for a full cycle of disbursements. For a flood insurance premium payable every 3 years, the servicer shall collect the payments reflecting 36 equal monthly amounts. For two out of the three years, however, the account balance may not reach its low monthly balance because the low point will be on a three-year cycle, as compared to an annual one. The annual escrow account statement shall explain this situation (see example in the Public Guidance Document entitled "Annual Escrow Account Disclosure Statement-Example", available in accordance with § 1024.3).

(d)  Methods of escrow account analysis. (1) The following sets forth the steps servicers must use to determine whether their use of aggregate analysis conforms with the limitations in § 1024.17(c)(1). The steps set forth in this section result in maximum limits. Servicers may use accounting procedures that result in lower target balances. In particular, servicers may use a cushion less than the permissible cushion or no cushion at all. This section does not require the use of a cushion.

(2)  Aggregate analysis. (i) In conducting the escrow account analysis using aggregate analysis, the target balances may not exceed the balances computed according to the following arithmetic operations:

(A)  The servicer first projects a trial balance for the account as a whole over the next computation year (a trial running balance). In doing so the servicer assumes that it will make estimated disbursements on or before the earlier of the deadline to take advantage of discounts, if available, or the deadline to avoid a penalty. The servicer does not use pre-accrual on these disbursement dates. The servicer also assumes that the borrower will make monthly payments equal to one-twelfth of the estimated total annual escrow account disbursements.

(B)  The servicer then examines the monthly trial balances and adds to the first monthly balance an amount just sufficient to bring the lowest monthly trial balance to zero, and adjusts all other monthly balances accordingly.

(C)  The servicer then adds to the monthly balances the permissible cushion. The cushion is two months of the borrower's escrow payments to the servicer or a lesser amount specified by state law or the mortgage document (net of any increases or decreases because of prior year shortages or surpluses, respectively).

(ii)  Lowest monthly balance. Under aggregate analysis, the lowest monthly target balance for the account shall be less than or equal to one-sixth of the estimated total annual escrow account disbursements or a lesser amount specified by state law or the mortgage document. The target balances that the servicer derives using these steps yield the maximum limit for the escrow account. Appendix E to this part illustrates these steps.

(e)  Transfer of servicing. (1) If the new servicer changes either the monthly payment amount or the accounting method used by the transferor (old) servicer, then the new servicer shall provide the borrower with an initial escrow account statement within 60 days of the date of servicing transfer.

(i)  Where a new servicer provides an initial escrow account statement upon the transfer of servicing, the new servicer shall use the effective date of the transfer of servicing to establish the new escrow account computation year.

(ii)  Where the new servicer retains the monthly payments and accounting method used by the transferor servicer, then the new servicer may continue to use the escrow account computation year established by the transferor servicer or may choose to establish a different computation year using a short-year statement. At the completion of the escrow account computation year or any short year, the new servicer shall perform an escrow analysis and provide the borrower with an annual escrow account statement.

(2)  The new servicer shall treat shortages, surpluses and deficiencies in the transferred escrow account according to the procedures set forth in § 1024.17(f).

(f)  Shortages, surpluses, and deficiencies requirements. (1) Escrow account analysis. For each escrow account, the servicer shall conduct an escrow account analysis to determine whether a surplus, shortage or deficiency exists.

(i)  As noted in § 1024.17(c)(2) and (3), the servicer shall conduct an escrow account analysis upon establishing an escrow account and at completion of the escrow account computation year.

(ii)  The servicer may conduct an escrow account analysis at other times during the escrow computation year. If a servicer advances funds in paying a disbursement, which is not the result of a borrower's payment default under the underlying mortgage document, then the servicer shall conduct an escrow account analysis to determine the extent of the deficiency before seeking repayment of the funds from the borrower under this paragraph (f).

(2)  Surpluses. (i) If an escrow account analysis discloses a surplus, the servicer shall, within 30 days from the date of the analysis, refund the surplus to the borrower if the surplus is greater than or equal to 50 dollars ($50). If the surplus is less than 50 dollars ($50), the servicer may refund such amount to the borrower, or credit such amount against the next year's escrow payments.

(ii)  These provisions regarding surpluses apply if the borrower is current at the time of the escrow account analysis. A borrower is current if the servicer receives the borrower's payments within 30 days of the payment due date. If the servicer does not receive the borrower's payment within 30 days of the payment due date, then the servicer may retain the surplus in the escrow account pursuant to the terms of the mortgage loan documents.

(iii)  After an initial or annual escrow analysis has been performed, the servicer and the borrower may enter into a voluntary agreement for the forthcoming escrow accounting year for the borrower to deposit funds into the escrow account for that year greater than the limits established under paragraph (c) of this section. Such an agreement shall cover only one escrow accounting year, but a new voluntary agreement may be entered into after the next escrow analysis is performed. The voluntary agreement may not alter how surpluses are to be treated when the next escrow analysis is performed at the end of the escrow accounting year covered by the voluntary agreement.

(3)  Shortages. (i) If an escrow account analysis discloses a shortage of less than one month's escrow account payment, then the servicer has three possible courses of action:

(A)  The servicer may allow a shortage to exist and do nothing to change it;

(B)  The servicer may require the borrower to repay the shortage amount within 30 days; or

(C)  The servicer may require the borrower to repay the shortage amount in equal monthly payments over at least a 12-month period.

(ii)  If an escrow account analysis discloses a shortage that is greater than or equal to one month's escrow account payment, then the servicer has two possible courses of action:

(A)  The servicer may allow a shortage to exist and do nothing to change it; or

(B)  The servicer may require the borrower to repay the shortage in equal monthly payments over at least a 12-month period.

(4)  Deficiency. If the escrow account analysis confirms a deficiency, then the servicer may require the borrower to pay additional monthly deposits to the account to eliminate the deficiency.

(i)  If the deficiency is less than one month's escrow account payment, then the servicer:

(A)  May allow the deficiency to exist and do nothing to change it;

(B)  May require the borrower to repay the deficiency within 30 days; or

(C)  May require the borrower to repay the deficiency in 2 or more equal monthly payments.

(ii)  If the deficiency is greater than or equal to 1 month's escrow payment, the servicer may allow the deficiency to exist and do nothing to change it or may require the borrower to repay the deficiency in two or more equal monthly payments.

(iii)  These provisions regarding deficiencies apply if the borrower is current at the time of the escrow account analysis. A borrower is current if the servicer receives the borrower's payments within 30 days of the payment due date. If the servicer does not receive the borrower's payment within 30 days of the payment due date, then the servicer may recover the deficiency pursuant to the terms of the mortgage loan documents.

(5)  Notice of shortage or deficiency in escrow account. The servicer shall notify the borrower at least once during the escrow account computation year if there is a shortage or deficiency in the escrow account. The notice may be part of the annual escrow account statement or it may be a separate document.

(g)  Initial escrow account statement. (1) Submission at settlement, or within 45 calendar days of settlement. As noted in § 1024.17(c)(2), the servicer shall conduct an escrow account analysis before establishing an escrow account to determine the amount the borrower shall deposit into the escrow account, subject to the limitations of § 1024.17(c)(1)(i). After conducting the escrow account analysis for each escrow account, the servicer shall submit an initial escrow account statement to the borrower at settlement or within 45 calendar days of settlement for escrow accounts that are established as a condition of the loan.

(i)  The initial escrow account statement shall include the amount of the borrower's monthly mortgage payment and the portion of the monthly payment going into the escrow account and shall itemize the estimated taxes, insurance premiums, and other charges that the servicer reasonably anticipates to be paid from the escrow account during the escrow account computation year and the anticipated disbursement dates of those charges. The initial escrow account statement shall indicate the amount that the servicer selects as a cushion. The statement shall include a trial running balance for the account.

(ii)  Pursuant to § 1024.17(h)(2), the servicer may incorporate the initial escrow account statement into the HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement. If the servicer does not incorporate the initial escrow account statement into the HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement, then the servicer shall submit the initial escrow account statement to the borrower as a separate document.

(2)  Time of submission of initial escrow account statement for an escrow account established after settlement. For escrow accounts established after settlement (and which are not a condition of the loan), a servicer shall submit an initial escrow account statement to a borrower within 45 calendar days of the date of establishment of the escrow account.

(h)  Format for initial escrow account statement. (1) The format and a completed example for an initial escrow account statement are set out in Public Guidance Documents entitled "Initial Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Format" and "Initial Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Example", available in accordance with § 1024.3.

(2)  Incorporation of initial escrow account statement into HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement. Pursuant to § 1024.9(a)(11), a servicer may add the initial escrow account statement to the HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement. The servicer may include the initial escrow account statement in the basic text or may attach the initial escrow account statement as an additional page to the HUD--1 or HUD--1A settlement statement.

(3)  Identification of payees. The initial escrow account statement need not identify a specific payee by name if it provides sufficient information to identify the use of the funds. For example, appropriate entries include: county taxes, hazard insurance, condominium dues, etc. If a particular payee, such as a taxing body, receives more than one payment during the escrow account computation year, the statement shall indicate each payment and disbursement date. If there are several taxing authorities or insurers, the statement shall identify each taxing body or insurer (e.g., "City Taxes", "School Taxes", "Hazard Insurance", or "Flood Insurance," etc.).

(i)  Annual escrow account statements. For each escrow account, a servicer shall submit an annual escrow account statement to the borrower within 30 days of the completion of the escrow account computation year. The servicer shall also submit to the borrower the previous year's projection or initial escrow account statement. The servicer shall conduct an escrow account analysis before submitting an annual escrow account statement to the borrower.

(1)  Contents of annual escrow account statement. The annual escrow account statement shall provide an account history, reflecting the activity in the escrow account during the escrow account computation year, and a projection of the activity in the account for the next year. In preparing the statement, the servicer may assume scheduled payments and disbursements will be made for the final 2 months of the escrow account computation year. The annual escrow account statement must include, at a minimum, the following (the items in paragraphs (i)(1)(i) through (i)(1)(iv) must be clearly itemized):

(i)  The amount of the borrower's current monthly mortgage payment and the portion of the monthly payment going into the escrow account;

(ii)  The amount of the past year's monthly mortgage payment and the portion of the monthly payment that went into the escrow account;

(iii)  The total amount paid into the escrow account during the past computation year;

(iv)  The total amount paid out of the escrow account during the same period for taxes, insurance premiums, and other charges (as separately identified);

(v)  The balance in the escrow account at the end of the period;

(vi)  An explanation of how any surplus is being handled by the servicer;

(vii)  An explanation of how any shortage or deficiency is to be paid by the borrower; and

(viii)  If applicable, the reason(s) why the estimated low monthly balance was not reached, as indicated by noting differences between the most recent account history and last year's projection. Public Guidance Documents entitled "Annual Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Format" and "Annual Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Example" set forth an acceptable format and methodology for conveying this information.

(2)  No annual statements in the case of default, foreclosure, or bankruptcy. This paragraph (i)(2) contains an exemption from the provisions of § 1024.17(i)(1). If at the time the servicer conducts the escrow account analysis the borrower is more than 30 days overdue, then the servicer is exempt from the requirements of submitting an annual escrow account statement to the borrower under § 1024.17(i). This exemption also applies in situations where the servicer has brought an action for foreclosure under the underlying mortgage loan, or where the borrower is in bankruptcy proceedings. If the servicer does not issue an annual statement pursuant to this exemption and the loan subsequently is reinstated or otherwise becomes current, the servicer shall provide a history of the account since the last annual statement (which may be longer than 1 year) within 90 days of the date the account became current.

(3)  Delivery with other material. The servicer may deliver the annual escrow account statement to the borrower with other statements or materials, including the Substitute 1098, which is provided for Federal income tax purposes.

(4)  Short year statements. A servicer may issue a short year annual escrow account statement ("short year statement") to change one escrow account computation year to another. By using a short year statement a servicer may adjust its production schedule or alter the escrow account computation year for the escrow account.

(i)  Effect of short year statement. The short year statement shall end the "escrow account computation year" for the escrow account and establish the beginning date of the new escrow account computation year. The servicer shall deliver the short year statement to the borrower within 60 days from the end of the short year.

(ii)  Short year statement upon servicing transfer. Upon the transfer of servicing, the transferor (old) servicer shall submit a short year statement to the borrower within 60 days of the effective date of transfer.

(iii)  Short year statement upon loan payoff. If a borrower pays off a mortgage loan during the escrow account computation year, the servicer shall submit a short year statement to the borrower within 60 days after receiving the pay-off funds.

(j)  Formats for annual escrow account statement. The formats and completed examples for annual escrow account statements using single-item analysis (pre-rule accounts) and aggregate analysis are set out in Public Guidance Documents entitled "Annual Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Format" and "Annual Escrow Account Disclosure Statement--Example".

(k)  Timely payments. (1) If the terms of any federally related mortgage loan require the borrower to make payments to an escrow account, the servicer must pay the disbursements in a timely manner, that is, on or before the deadline to avoid a penalty, as long as the borrower's payment is not more than 30 days overdue.

(2)  The servicer must advance funds to make disbursements in a timely manner as long as the borrower's payment is not more than 30 days overdue. Upon advancing funds to pay a disbursement, the servicer may seek repayment from the borrower for the deficiency pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section.

(3)  For the payment of property taxes from the escrow account, if a taxing jurisdiction offers a servicer a choice between annual and installment disbursements, the servicer must also comply with this paragraph (k)(3). If the taxing jurisdiction neither offers a discount for disbursements on a lump sum annual basis nor imposes any additional charge or fee for installment disbursements, the servicer must make disbursements on an installment basis. If, however, the taxing jurisdiction offers a discount for disbursements on a lump sum annual basis or imposes any additional charge or fee for installment disbursements, the servicer may, at the servicer's discretion (but is not required by RESPA to), make lump sum annual disbursements in order to take advantage of the discount for the borrower or avoid the additional charge or fee for installments, as long as such method of disbursement complies with paragraphs (k)(1) and (k)(2) of this section. The Bureau encourages, but does not require, the servicer to follow the preference of the borrower, if such preference is known to the servicer.

(4)  Notwithstanding paragraph (k)(3) of this section, a servicer and borrower may mutually agree, on an individual case basis, to a different disbursement basis (installment or annual) or disbursement date for property taxes from that required under paragraph (k)(3) of this section, so long as the agreement meets the requirements of paragraphs (k)(1) and (k)(2) of this section. The borrower must voluntarily agree; neither loan approval nor any term of the loan may be conditioned on the borrower's agreeing to a different disbursement basis or disbursement date.

(l)   System of recordkeeping. (1) Each servicer shall keep records, which may involve electronic storage, microfiche storage, or any method of computerized storage, so long as the information is easily retrievable, reflecting the servicer's handling of each borrower's escrow account. The servicer's records shall include, but not be limited to, the payment of amounts into and from the escrow account and the submission of initial and annual escrow account statements to the borrower.

(2)  The servicer responsible for servicing the borrower's escrow account shall maintain the records for that account for a period of at least five years after the servicer last serviced the escrow account.

(3)  A servicer shall provide the Bureau with information contained in the servicer's records for a specific escrow account, or for a number or class of escrow accounts, within 30 days of the Bureau's written request for the information. At the Bureau's request, the servicer shall convert any information contained in electronic storage, microfiche or computerized storage to paper copies for review by the Bureau.

(4)  Borrowers may seek information contained in the servicer's records by complying with the provisions set forth in 12 U.S.C. 2605(e) and § 1024.21(e).

(5)  After receiving a request from the Bureau for information relating to whether a servicer submitted an escrow account statement to the borrower, the servicer shall respond within 30 days. If the servicer is unable to provide the Bureau with such information, the Bureau shall deem that lack of information to be evidence of the servicer's failure to submit the statement to the borrower.

(m)  Discretionary payments. Any borrower's discretionary payment (such as credit life or disability insurance) made as part of a monthly mortgage payment is to be noted on the initial and annual statements. If a discretionary payment is established or terminated during the escrow account computation year, this change should be noted on the next annual statement. A discretionary payment is not part of the escrow account unless the payment is required by the lender, in accordance with the definition of "settlement service" in § 1024.2, or the servicer chooses to place the discretionary payment in the escrow account. If a servicer has not established an escrow account for a federally related mortgage loan and only receives payments for discretionary items, this section is not applicable.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.17]

§ 1024.18  Validity of contracts and liens.

Section 17 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2615) governs the validity of contracts and liens under RESPA.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.18]

§ 1024.19  Enforcement.

(a)  Enforcement policy. It is the policy of the Bureau regarding RESPA enforcement matters to cooperate with Federal, state, or local agencies having supervisory powers over lenders or other persons with responsibilities under RESPA. Federal agencies with supervisory powers over lenders may use their powers to require compliance with RESPA. In addition, failure to comply with RESPA may be grounds for administrative action by HUD under HUD regulation 2 CFR part 2424 concerning debarment, suspension, ineligibility of contractors and grantees, or under HUD regulation 24 CFR part 25 concerning the HUD Mortgagee Review Board. Nothing in this paragraph is a limitation on any other form of enforcement that may be legally available.

(b)  Investigations. The procedures for investigations and investigational proceedings are set forth in part 1080 of this title.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.20]

§ 1024.20  [Reserved]

§ 1024.21  Mortgage servicing transfers.

(a)  Definitions. As used in this section:

Master servicer means the owner of the right to perform servicing, which may actually perform the servicing itself or may do so through a subservicer.

Mortgage servicing loan means a federally related mortgage loan, as that term is defined in § 1024.2, subject to the exemptions in § 1024.5, when the mortgage loan is secured by a first lien. The definition does not include subordinate lien loans or open-end lines of credit (home equity plans) covered by the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, including open-end lines of credit secured by a first lien.

Qualified written request means a written correspondence from the borrower to the servicer prepared in accordance with paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

Subservicer means a servicer who does not own the right to perform servicing, but who does so on behalf of the master servicer.

Transferee servicer means a servicer who obtains or who will obtain the right to perform servicing functions pursuant to an agreement or understanding.

Transferor servicer means a servicer, including a table funding mortgage broker or dealer on a first lien dealer loan, who transfers or will transfer the right to perform servicing functions pursuant to an agreement or understanding.

(b)  Servicing Disclosure Statement; Requirements. (1) At the time an application for a mortgage servicing loan is submitted, or within 3 business days after submission of the application, the lender, mortgage broker who anticipates using table funding, or dealer who anticipates a first lien dealer loan shall provide to each person who applies for such a loan a Servicing Disclosure Statement. A format for the Servicing Disclosure Statement appears as Appendix MS-1 to this part. The specific language of the Servicing Disclosure Statement is not required to be used. The information set forth in "Instructions to Preparer" on the Servicing Disclosure Statement need not be included with the information given to applicants, and material in square brackets is optional or alternative language. The model format may be annotated with additional information that clarifies or enhances the model language. The lender, table funding mortgage broker, or dealer should use the language that best describes the particular circumstances.

(2)  The Servicing Disclosure Statement must indicate whether the servicing of the loan may be assigned, sold, or transferred to any other person at any time while the loan is outstanding. If the lender, table funding mortgage broker, or dealer in a first lien dealer loan will engage in the servicing of the mortgage loan for which the applicant has applied, the disclosure may consist of a statement that the entity will service such loan and does not intend to sell, transfer, or assign the servicing of the loan. If the lender, table funding mortgage broker, or dealer in a first lien dealer loan will not engage in the servicing of the mortgage loan for which the applicant has applied, the disclosure may consist of a statement that such entity intends to assign, sell, or transfer servicing of such mortgage loan before the first payment is due. In all other instances, the disclosure must state that the servicing of the loan may be assigned, sold or transferred while the loan is outstanding.

(c)  Servicing Disclosure Statement; Delivery. The lender, table funding mortgage broker, or dealer that anticipates a first lien dealer loan shall deliver the Servicing Disclosure Statement within 3 business days from receipt of the application by hand delivery, by placing it in the mail, or, if the applicant agrees, by fax, email, or other electronic means. In the event the borrower is denied credit within the 3 business-day period, no servicing disclosure statement is required to be delivered. If co-applicants indicate the same address on their application, one copy delivered to that address is sufficient. If different addresses are shown by co-applicants on the application, a copy must be delivered to each of the co-applicants.

(d)  Notices of Transfer; loan servicing. (1) Requirement for notice. (i) Except as provided in this paragraph (d)(1)(i) or paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section, each transferor servicer and transferee servicer of any mortgage servicing loan shall deliver to the borrower a written Notice of Transfer, containing the information described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, of any assignment, sale, or transfer of the servicing of the loan. The following transfers are not considered an assignment, sale, or transfer of mortgage loan servicing for purposes of this requirement if there is no change in the payee, address to which payment must be delivered, account number, or amount of payment due:

(A)  Transfers between affiliates;

(B)  Transfers resulting from mergers or acquisitions of servicers or subservicers; and

(C)  Transfers between master servicers, where the subservicer remains the same.

(ii)  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is not required under paragraph (d) of this section to submit to the borrower a Notice of Transfer in cases where a mortgage insured under the National Housing Act is assigned to FHA.

(2)  Time of notice. (i) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section:

(A)  The transferor servicer shall deliver the Notice of Transfer to the borrower not less than 15 days before the effective date of the transfer of the servicing of the mortgage servicing loan;

(B)  The transferee servicer shall deliver the Notice of Transfer to the borrower not more than 15 days after the effective date of the transfer; and

(C)  The transferor and transferee servicers may combine their notices into one notice, which shall be delivered to the borrower not less than 15 days before the effective date of the transfer of the servicing of the mortgage servicing loan.

(ii)  The Notice of Transfer shall be delivered to the borrower by the transferor servicer or the transferee servicer not more than 30 days after the effective date of the transfer of the servicing of the mortgage servicing loan in any case in which the transfer of servicing is preceded by:

(A)  Termination of the contract for servicing the loan for cause;

(B)  Commencement of proceedings for bankruptcy of the servicer; or

(C)  Commencement of proceedings by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for conservatorship or receivership of the servicer or an entity that owns or controls the servicer.

(iii)  Notices of Transfer delivered at settlement by the transferor servicer and transferee servicer, whether as separate notices or as a combined notice, will satisfy the timing requirements of paragraph (d)(2) of this section.

(3)  Notices of Transfer; contents. The Notices of Transfer required under paragraph (d) of this section shall include the following information:

(i)  The effective date of the transfer of servicing;

(ii)  The name, consumer inquiry addresses (including, at the option of the servicer, a separate address where qualified written requests must be sent), and a toll-free or collect-call telephone number for an employee or department of the transferee servicer;

(iii)  A toll-free or collect-call telephone number for an employee or department of the transferor servicer that can be contacted by the borrower for answers to servicing transfer inquiries;

(iv)  The date on which the transferor servicer will cease to accept payments relating to the loan and the date on which the transferee servicer will begin to accept such payments. These dates shall either be the same or consecutive days;

(v)  Information concerning any effect the transfer may have on the terms or the continued availability of mortgage life or disability insurance, or any other type of optional insurance, and any action the borrower must take to maintain coverage;

(vi)  A statement that the transfer of servicing does not affect any other term or condition of the mortgage documents, other than terms directly related to the servicing of the loan; and

(vii)  A statement of the borrower's rights in connection with complaint resolution, including the information set forth in paragraph (e) of this section. Appendix MS-2 of this part illustrates a statement satisfactory to the Bureau.

(4)  Notices of Transfer; sample notice. Sample language that may be used to comply with the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section is set out in Appendix MS-2 of this part. Minor modifications to the sample language may be made to meet the particular circumstances of the servicer, but the substance of the sample language shall not be omitted or substantially altered.

(5)  Consumer protection during transfer of servicing. During the 60-day period beginning on the effective date of transfer of the servicing of any mortgage servicing loan, if the transferor servicer (rather than the transferee servicer that should properly receive payment on the loan) receives payment on or before the applicable due date (including any grace period allowed under the loan documents), a late fee may not be imposed on the borrower with respect to that payment and the payment may not be treated as late for any other purposes.

(e)  Duty of loan servicer to respond to borrower inquiries. (1) Notice of receipt of inquiry. Within 20 business days of a servicer of a mortgage servicing loan receiving a qualified written request from the borrower for information relating to the servicing of the loan, the servicer shall provide to the borrower a written response acknowledging receipt of the qualified written request. This requirement shall not apply if the action requested by the borrower is taken within that period and the borrower is notified of that action in accordance with the paragraph (f)(3) of this section. By notice either included in the Notice of Transfer or separately delivered by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a servicer may establish a separate and exclusive office and address for the receipt and handling of qualified written requests.

(2)  Qualified written request; defined. (i) For purposes of paragraph (e) of this section, a qualified written request means a written correspondence (other than notice on a payment coupon or other payment medium supplied by the servicer) that includes, or otherwise enables the servicer to identify, the name and account of the borrower, and includes a statement of the reasons that the borrower believes the account is in error, if applicable, or that provides sufficient detail to the servicer regarding information relating to the servicing of the loan sought by the borrower.

(ii)  A written request does not constitute a qualified written request if it is delivered to a servicer more than 1 year after either the date of transfer of servicing or the date that the mortgage servicing loan amount was paid in full, whichever date is applicable.

(3)  Action with respect to the inquiry. Not later than 60 business days after receiving a qualified written request from the borrower, and, if applicable, before taking any action with respect to the inquiry, the servicer shall:

(i)  Make appropriate corrections in the account of the borrower, including the crediting of any late charges or penalties, and transmit to the borrower a written notification of the correction. This written notification shall include the name and telephone number of a representative of the servicer who can provide assistance to the borrower; or

(ii)  After conducting an investigation, provide the borrower with a written explanation or clarification that includes:

(A)  To the extent applicable, a statement of the servicer's reasons for concluding the account is correct and the name and telephone number of an employee, office, or department of the servicer that can provide assistance to the borrower; or

(B)  Information requested by the borrower, or an explanation of why the information requested is unavailable or cannot be obtained by the servicer, and the name and telephone number of an employee, office, or department of the servicer that can provide assistance to the borrower.

(4)  Protection of credit rating. (i) During the 60-business day period beginning on the date of the servicer receiving from a borrower a qualified written request relating to a dispute on the borrower's payments, a servicer may not provide adverse information regarding any payment that is the subject of the qualified written request to any consumer reporting agency (as that term is defined in section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681a).

(ii)  In accordance with section 17 of RESPA (12 U.S.C. 2615), the protection of credit rating provision of paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section does not impede a lender or servicer from pursuing any of its remedies, including initiating foreclosure, allowed by the underlying mortgage loan instruments.

(f)  Damages and costs. (1) Whoever fails to comply with any provision of this section shall be liable to the borrower for each failure in the following amounts:

(i)  Individuals. In the case of any action by an individual, an amount equal to the sum of any actual damages sustained by the individual as the result of the failure and, when there is a pattern or practice of noncompliance with the requirements of this section, any additional damages in an amount not to exceed $1,000.

(ii)  Class actions. In the case of a class action, an amount equal to the sum of any actual damages to each borrower in the class that result from the failure and, when there is a pattern or practice of noncompliance with the requirements of this section, any additional damages in an amount not greater than $1,000 for each class member. However, the total amount of any additional damages in a class action may not exceed the lesser of $500,000 or 1 percent of the net worth of the servicer.

(iii)  Costs. In addition, in the case of any successful action under paragraph (f) of this section, the costs of the action and any reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in connection with the action.

(2)  Nonliability. A transferor or transferee servicer shall not be liable for any failure to comply with the requirements of this section, if within 60 days after discovering an error (whether pursuant to a final written examination report or the servicer's own procedures) and before commencement of an action under this section and the receipt of written notice of the error from the borrower, the servicer notifies the person concerned of the error and makes whatever adjustments are necessary in the appropriate account to ensure that the person will not be required to pay an amount in excess of any amount that the person otherwise would have paid.

(g)  Timely payments by servicer. If the terms of any mortgage servicing loan require the borrower to make payments to the servicer of the loan for deposit into an escrow account for the purpose of assuring payment of taxes, insurance premiums, and other charges with respect to the mortgaged property, the servicer shall make payments from the escrow account in a timely manner for the taxes, insurance premiums, and other charges as the payments become due, as governed by the requirements in § 1024.17(k).

(h)  Preemption of state laws. A lender who makes a mortgage servicing loan or a servicer shall be considered to have complied with the provisions of any state law or regulation requiring notice to a borrower at the time of application for a loan or transfer of servicing of a loan if the lender or servicer complies with the requirements of this section. Any state law requiring notice to the borrower at the time of application or at the time of transfer of servicing of the loan is preempted, and there shall be no additional borrower disclosure requirements. Provisions of state law, such as those requiring additional notices to insurance companies or taxing authorities, are not preempted by section 6 of RESPA or this section, and this additional information may be added to a notice prepared under this section, if the procedure is allowable under state law.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.21]

§ 1024.22  Severability.

If any particular provision of this part or the application of any particular provision to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this part and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected by such holding.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.22]

§ 1024.23  ESIGN applicability.

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act ("ESIGN"), 15 U.S.C. 7001--7031, shall apply to this part.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 1024.23]


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Last updated September 16, 2013 regs@fdic.gov