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CFPB Proposes Rule to Improve Consumer Access to Appraisal Reports

Rule Would Give Consumers Additional Rights to Information on How a Home Value is Determined

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a proposed rule that would require mortgage lenders to provide home loan applicants with copies of written appraisals and other home value estimates developed in connection with the application. The rule would ensure that consumers receive information prior to closing about how the property’s value was determined.

“When looking to buy a home or refinance a mortgage, consumers need the best available facts and data,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “This rule would guarantee consumers receive important disclosures on how a lender determines the value of the home, making it easier for loan applicants to make informed decisions.”

In response to the mortgage crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires that creditors provide mortgage applicants with a copy of written appraisals and home value estimates developed in connection with the application. Today’s proposed rule would require that creditors inform consumers within three days of applying for a loan of their right to receive a free copy of appraisal reports and home value estimates. Creditors would then be required to provide the reports to consumers as promptly as possible, but in no case later than three days before closing, regardless of whether credit is extended, denied, incomplete or withdrawn.

Appraisals and other home value estimates are used by creditors to inform lending decisions for most home sales. Consumers are typically charged for the costs related to conducting an appraisal; however, currently consumers must request appraisal reports from creditors and may be charged a fee to obtain the report. Under the proposed rule, creditors could still charge reasonable fees associated with conducting appraisals and home value estimates; however, the rule would prohibit creditors from charging consumers fees for obtaining the reports.

The proposed rule would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)’s Regulation B, which require certain disclosures and prohibits lenders from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, sex, or other protected bases. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Bureau is authorized to issue regulations implementing ECOA and supervise compliance with ECOA and Regulation B for certain lenders.

The CFPB welcomes comments on the proposed rule. The public will have 60 days, or until October 15, 2012 to review and provide comments on the proposed rule. The CFPB will review and analyze the comments before issuing a final rule in January 2013.

The CFPB’s proposed rule is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201208_cfpb_ECOA_proposed_rule.pdf

A summary of the CFPB’s proposed rule is available at: http:://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201208_cfpb_ECOA_plain_language_summary.pdf

The proposed rule can be found here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201208_cfpb_ECOA_proposed_rule.pdf

This is one of several rulemakings governing mortgage practices currently underway at the Bureau in order to implement requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act. Today, in partnership with several other federal regulatory agencies, the Bureau is also issuing a proposed rule to establish special requirements concerning appraisals for higher-risk mortgage loans, which would require creditors to use a licensed or certified appraiser to prepare the written appraisal report based on a physical inspection of the property.

The interagency proposed rule is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201208_cfpb_HRM_proposed_rule.pdf

A summary of the interagency proposed rule is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201208_cfpb_HRM_plain_language_summary.pdf

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