On June 1, 2013, our Escrow Requirements under the Truth in Lending Act rule (Escrows Rule) will go into effect, which requires certain creditors to create escrow accounts for a minimum of 5 years for higher-priced mortgage loans (HPMLs). The rule exempts HPMLs made by certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved counties from this requirement. On March 12, 2013, we posted a preliminary list of counties that are rural or underserved (or both), for use in the second part of 2013. That preliminary list applied the rules for determining both rural and underserved status as those rules would be amended by a proposed rule the Bureau intended at that time to publish.
The CFPB is now issuing the final rule based on the proposed rule that we had used to compile the preliminary list. Because the methods for determining rural and underserved status have not changed from the proposed rule, this final list is identical to the preliminary list we posted on March 12. For purposes of applying the exemption in the Escrows Rule, creditors may rely on this list as a safe harbor to determine whether a county is “rural” or “underserved” for loans made from June 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013.
In our Escrows Rule, rural counties are defined by using the USDA Economic Research Service’s urban influence codes, and underserved counties are defined by reference to data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). As explained in the rule, the Bureau will post a list of such counties on its website, which we are doing today.
We also have several rules that will that take effect in January 2014 that have provisions related to mortgage loans made in rural or underserved counties.
- Under the Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Standards Under the Truth in Lending Act rule, which is effective January 10, 2014, mortgage loans with balloon payments do not meet the qualified mortgage (QM) standard in most cases. However, certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved counties will be eligible to originate balloon-payment QMs.
- These same creditors will be exempt, when making those balloon-payment QMs, from restrictions on balloon payments for certain high-cost mortgages under the Bureau’s High-Cost Mortgage and High-Cost Mortgage and Homeownership Counseling Amendments to the Truth in Lending Act rule (HOEPA rule), which also goes into effect on January 10, 2014.
- Also, certain HPMLs will be exempt from new second appraisal requirements if they are originated in rural counties under the interagency Appraisals for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans rule, which goes into effect on January 18, 2014.
Some counties’ status as rural or non-rural may change from the 2013 list to the 2014 list because of updated information from the 2010 Census. This updated information is still being analyzed by the Economic Research Service, but we’ll post the 2014 list of rural and underserved counties as soon as possible.