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§ 1024.35 Error resolution procedures.

This version is the current regulation

(a) Notice of error. A servicer shall comply with the requirements of this section for any written notice from the borrower that asserts an error and that includes the name of the borrower, information that enables the servicer to identify the borrower's mortgage loan account, and the error the borrower believes has occurred. A notice on a payment coupon or other payment form supplied by the servicer need not be treated by the servicer as a notice of error. A qualified written request that asserts an error relating to the servicing of a mortgage loan is a notice of error for purposes of this section, and a servicer must comply with all requirements applicable to a notice of error with respect to such qualified written request.

1. Borrower's representative. A notice of error is submitted by a borrower if the notice of error is submitted by an agent of the borrower. A servicer may undertake reasonable procedures to determine if a person that claims to be an agent of a borrower has authority from the borrower to act on the borrower's behalf, for example, by requiring that a person that claims to be an agent of the borrower provide documentation from the borrower stating that the purported agent is acting on the borrower's behalf. Upon receipt of such documentation, the servicer shall treat the notice of error as having been submitted by the borrower.

2. Information request. A servicer should not rely solely on the borrower's description of a submission to determine whether the submission constitutes a notice of error under § 1024.35(a), an information request under § 1024.36(a), or both. For example, a borrower may submit a letter that claims to be a “Notice of Error” that indicates that the borrower wants to receive the information set forth in an annual escrow account statement and asserts an error for the servicer's failure to provide the borrower an annual escrow statement. Such a letter may constitute an information request under § 1024.36(a) that triggers an obligation by the servicer to provide an annual escrow statement. A servicer should not rely on the borrower's characterization of the letter as a “Notice of Error,” but must evaluate whether the letter fulfills the substantive requirements of a notice of error, information request, or both.

See interpretation of 35(a) Notice of error. in Supplement I

(b) Scope of error resolution. For purposes of this section, the term “error” refers to the following categories of covered errors:

1. Noncovered errors. A servicer is not required to comply with § 1024.35(d), (e) and (i) with respect to a borrower's assertion of an error that is not defined as an error in § 1024.35(b). For example, the following are not errors for purposes of § 1024.35:

i. An error relating to the origination of a mortgage loan;

ii. An error relating to the underwriting of a mortgage loan;

iii. An error relating to a subsequent sale or securitization of a mortgage loan;

iv. An error relating to a determination to sell, assign, or transfer the servicing of a mortgage loan. However, an error relating to the failure to transfer accurately and timely information relating to the servicing of a borrower's mortgage loan account to a transferee servicer is an error for purposes of § 1024.35.

2. Unreasonable basis. For purposes of § 1024.35(b)(5), a servicer lacks a reasonable basis to impose fees that are not bona fide, such as:

i. A late fee for a payment that was not late;

ii. A charge imposed by a service provider for a service that was not actually rendered;

iii. A default property management fee for borrowers that are not in a delinquency status that would justify the charge; or

iv. A charge for force-placed insurance in a circumstance not permitted by § 1024.37.

See interpretation of 35(b) Scope of error resolution. in Supplement I

(1) Failure to accept a payment that conforms to the servicer's written requirements for the borrower to follow in making payments.

(2) Failure to apply an accepted payment to principal, interest, escrow, or other charges under the terms of the mortgage loan and applicable law.

(3) Failure to credit a payment to a borrower's mortgage loan account as of the date of receipt in violation of 12 CFR 1026.36(c)(1).

(4) Failure to pay taxes, insurance premiums, or other charges, including charges that the borrower and servicer have voluntarily agreed that the servicer should collect and pay, in a timely manner as required by § 1024.34(a), or to refund an escrow account balance as required by § 1024.34(b).

(5) Imposition of a fee or charge that the servicer lacks a reasonable basis to impose upon the borrower.

(6) Failure to provide an accurate payoff balance amount upon a borrower's request in violation of section 12 CFR 1026.36(c)(3).

(7) Failure to provide accurate information to a borrower regarding loss mitigation options and foreclosure, as required by § 1024.39.

(8) Failure to transfer accurately and timely information relating to the servicing of a borrower's mortgage loan account to a transferee servicer.

(9) Making the first notice or filing required by applicable law for any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process in violation of § 1024.41(f) or (j).

(10) Moving for foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or conducting a foreclosure sale in violation of § 1024.41(g) or (j).

(11) Any other error relating to the servicing of a borrower's mortgage loan.

(c) Contact information for borrowers to assert errors. A servicer may, by written notice provided to a borrower, establish an address that a borrower must use to submit a notice of error in accordance with the procedures in this section. The notice shall include a statement that the borrower must use the established address to assert an error. If a servicer designates a specific address for receiving notices of error, the servicer shall designate the same address for receiving information requests pursuant to § 1024.36(b). A servicer shall provide a written notice to a borrower before any change in the address used for receiving a notice of error. A servicer that designates an address for receipt of notices of error must post the designated address on any Web site maintained by the servicer if the Web site lists any contact address for the servicer.

1. Exclusive address not required. A servicer is not required to designate a specific address that a borrower must use to assert an error. If a servicer does not designate a specific address that a borrower must use to assert an error, a servicer must respond to a notice of error received by any office of the servicer.

2. Notice of an exclusive address. A notice establishing an address that a borrower must use to assert an error may be included with a different disclosure, such as a notice of transfer. The notice is subject to the clear and conspicuous requirement in § 1024.32(a)(1). If a servicer establishes an address that a borrower must use to assert an error, a servicer must provide that address to the borrower in the following contexts:

i. The written notice designating the specific address, required pursuant to § 1024.35(c) and § 1024.36(b).

ii. Any periodic statement or coupon book required pursuant to 12 CFR 1026.41.

iii. Any Web site the servicer maintains in connection with the servicing of the loan.

iv. Any notice required pursuant to §§ 1024.39 or .41 that includes contact information for assistance.

3. Multiple offices. A servicer may designate multiple office addresses for receiving notices of errors. However, a servicer is required to comply with the requirements of § 1024.35 with respect to a notice of error received at any such designated address regardless of whether that specific address was provided to a specific borrower asserting an error. For example, a servicer may designate an address to receive notices of error for borrowers located in California and a separate address to receive notices of errors for borrowers located in Texas. If a borrower located in California asserts an error through the address used by the servicer for borrowers located in Texas, the servicer is still considered to have received a notice of error and must comply with the requirements of § 1024.35.

4. Internet intake of notices of error. A servicer may, but need not, establish a process for receiving notices of error through email, Web site form, or other online intake methods. Any such online intake process shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any process for receiving notices of error by mail. The process or processes established by the servicer for receiving notices of error through an online intake method shall be the exclusive online intake process or processes for receiving notices of error. A servicer is not required to provide a separate notice to a borrower to establish a specific online intake process as an exclusive online process for receiving such notices of error.

See interpretation of 35(c) Contact information for borrowers to assert errors. in Supplement I

(d) Acknowledgment of receipt. Within five days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) of a servicer receiving a notice of error from a borrower, the servicer shall provide to the borrower a written response acknowledging receipt of the notice of error.

(e) Response to notice of error

(1) Investigation and response requirements

(i) In general. Except as provided in paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section, a servicer must respond to a notice of error by either:

1. Notices alleging multiple errors; separate responses permitted. A servicer may respond to a notice of error that alleges multiple errors through either a single response or separate responses that address each asserted error.

See interpretation of Paragraph 35(e)(1)(i). in Supplement I

(A) Correcting the error or errors identified by the borrower and providing the borrower with a written notification of the correction, the effective date of the correction, and contact information, including a telephone number, for further assistance; or

(B) Conducting a reasonable investigation and providing the borrower with a written notification that includes a statement that the servicer has determined that no error occurred, a statement of the reason or reasons for this determination, a statement of the borrower's right to request documents relied upon by the servicer in reaching its determination, information regarding how the borrower can request such documents, and contact information, including a telephone number, for further assistance.

(ii) Different or additional error. If during a reasonable investigation of a notice of error, a servicer concludes that errors occurred other than, or in addition to, the error or errors alleged by the borrower, the servicer shall correct all such additional errors and provide the borrower with a written notification that describes the errors the servicer identified, the action taken to correct the errors, the effective date of the correction, and contact information, including a telephone number, for further assistance.

1. Different or additional errors; separate responses permitted. A servicer may provide the response required by § 1024.35(e)(1)(ii) for different or additional errors identified by the servicer in the same notice that responds to errors asserted by the borrower pursuant to § 1024.35(e)(1)(i) or in a separate response that addresses the different or additional errors identified by the servicer.

See interpretation of Paragraph 35(e)(1)(ii). in Supplement I

(2) Requesting information from borrower. A servicer may request supporting documentation from a borrower in connection with the investigation of an asserted error, but may not:

(i) Require a borrower to provide such information as a condition of investigating an asserted error; or

(ii) Determine that no error occurred because the borrower failed to provide any requested information without conducting a reasonable investigation pursuant to paragraph (e)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

(3) Time limits

(i) In general. A servicer must comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section:

(A) Not later than seven days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) after the servicer receives the notice of error for errors asserted under paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(B) Prior to the date of a foreclosure sale or within 30 days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) after the servicer receives the notice of error, whichever is earlier, for errors asserted under paragraphs (b)(9) and (10) of this section.

1. Foreclosure sale timing. If a servicer cannot comply with its obligations pursuant to § 1024.35(e) by the earlier of a foreclosure sale or 30 days after receipt of the notice of error, a servicer may cancel or postpone a foreclosure sale, in which case the servicer would meet the time limit in § 1024.35(e)(3)(i)(B) by complying with the requirements of § 1024.35(e) before the earlier of 30 days after receipt of the notice of error (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) or the date of the rescheduled foreclosure sale.

See interpretation of Paragraph 35(e)(3)(i)(B). in Supplement I

(C) For all other asserted errors, not later than 30 days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) after the servicer receives the applicable notice of error.

(ii) Extension of time limit. For asserted errors governed by the time limit set forth in paragraph (e)(3)(i)(C) of this section, a servicer may extend the time period for responding by an additional 15 days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) if, before the end of the 30-day period, the servicer notifies the borrower of the extension and the reasons for the extension in writing. A servicer may not extend the time period for responding to errors asserted under paragraph (b)(6), (9), or (10) of this section.

1. Notices alleging multiple errors; extension of time. A servicer may treat a notice of error that alleges multiple errors as separate notices of error and may extend the time period for responding to each asserted error for which an extension is permissible under § 1024.35(e)(3)(ii).

See interpretation of 35(e)(3)(ii) Extension of time limit. in Supplement I

(4) Copies of documentation. A servicer shall provide to the borrower, at no charge, copies of documents and information relied upon by the servicer in making its determination that no error occurred within 15 days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) of receiving the borrower's request for such documents. A servicer is not required to provide documents relied upon that constitute confidential, proprietary or privileged information. If a servicer withholds documents relied upon because it has determined that such documents constitute confidential, proprietary or privileged information, the servicer must notify the borrower of its determination in writing within 15 days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) of receipt of the borrower's request for such documents.

1. Types of documents to be provided. A servicer is required to provide only those documents actually relied upon by the servicer to determine that no error occurred. Such documents may include documents reflecting information entered in a servicer's collection system. For example, in response to an asserted error regarding payment allocation, a servicer may provide a printed screen-capture showing amounts credited to principal, interest, escrow, or other charges in the servicer's system for the borrower's mortgage loan account.

See interpretation of 35(e)(4) Copies of documentation. in Supplement I

(5) Omissions in responses to requests for documentation. In its response to a request for documentation under paragraph (e)(4) of this section, a servicer may omit location and contact information and personal financial information (other than information about the terms, status, and payment history of the mortgage loan) if:

(i) The information pertains to a potential or confirmed successor in interest who is not the requester; or

(ii) The requester is a confirmed successor in interest and the information pertains to any borrower who is not the requester.

(f) Alternative compliance

(1) Early correction. A servicer is not required to comply with paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section if the servicer corrects the error or errors asserted by the borrower and notifies the borrower of that correction in writing within five days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) of receiving the notice of error.

(2) Error asserted before foreclosure sale. A servicer is not required to comply with the requirements of paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section for errors asserted under paragraph (b)(9) or (10) of this section if the servicer receives the applicable notice of an error seven or fewer days before a foreclosure sale. For any such notice of error, a servicer shall make a good faith attempt to respond to the borrower, orally or in writing, and either correct the error or state the reason the servicer has determined that no error has occurred.

(g) Requirements not applicable

(1) In general. A servicer is not required to comply with the requirements of paragraphs (d), (e), and (i) of this section if the servicer reasonably determines that any of the following apply:

(i) Duplicative notice of error. The asserted error is substantially the same as an error previously asserted by the borrower for which the servicer has previously complied with its obligation to respond pursuant to paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, unless the borrower provides new and material information to support the asserted error. New and material information means information that was not reviewed by the servicer in connection with investigating a prior notice of the same error and is reasonably likely to change the servicer's prior determination about the error.

1. New and material information. A dispute between a borrower and a servicer with respect to whether information was previously reviewed by a servicer or with respect to whether a servicer properly determined that information reviewed was not material to its determination of the existence of an error, does not itself constitute new and material information.

See interpretation of Paragraph 35(g)(1)(i). in Supplement I

(ii) Overbroad notice of error. The notice of error is overbroad. A notice of error is overbroad if the servicer cannot reasonably determine from the notice of error the specific error that the borrower asserts has occurred on a borrower's account. To the extent a servicer can reasonably identify a valid assertion of an error in a notice of error that is otherwise overbroad, the servicer shall comply with the requirements of paragraphs (d), (e) and (i) of this section with respect to that asserted error.

1. Examples of overbroad notices of error. The following are examples of notices of error that are overbroad:

i. Assertions of errors regarding substantially all aspects of a mortgage loan, including errors relating to all aspects of mortgage origination, mortgage servicing, and foreclosure, as well as errors relating to the crediting of substantially every borrower payment and escrow account transaction;

ii. Assertions of errors in the form of a judicial action complaint, subpoena, or discovery request that purports to require servicers to respond to each numbered paragraph; and

iii. Assertions of errors in a form that is not reasonably understandable or is included with voluminous tangential discussion or requests for information, such that a servicer cannot reasonably identify from the notice of error any error for which § 1024.35 requires a response.

See interpretation of Paragraph 35(g)(1)(ii). in Supplement I

(iii) Untimely notice of error. A notice of error is delivered to the servicer more than one year after:

(A) Servicing for the mortgage loan that is the subject of the asserted error was transferred from the servicer receiving the notice of error to a transferee servicer; or

(B) The mortgage loan is discharged.

(2) Notice to borrower. If a servicer determines that, pursuant to this paragraph (g), the servicer is not required to comply with the requirements of paragraphs (d), (e), and (i) of this section, the servicer shall notify the borrower of its determination in writing not later than five days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) after making such determination. The notice to the borrower shall set forth the basis under paragraph (g)(1) of this section upon which the servicer has made such determination.

(h) Payment requirements prohibited. A servicer shall not charge a fee, or require a borrower to make any payment that may be owed on a borrower's account, as a condition of responding to a notice of error.

1. Borrower obligation to make payments. Section 1024.35(h) prohibits a servicer from requiring a borrower to make a payment that may be owed on a borrower's account as a prerequisite to investigating or responding to a notice of error submitted by a borrower, but does not alter or otherwise affect a borrower's obligation to make payments owed pursuant to the terms of a mortgage loan. For example, if a borrower makes a monthly payment in February for a mortgage loan, but asserts an error relating to the servicer's acceptance of the February payment, § 1024.35(h) does not alter a borrower's obligation to make a monthly payment that the borrower owes for March. A servicer, however, may not require that a borrower make the March payment as a condition for complying with its obligations under § 1024.35 with respect to the notice of error on the February payment.

See interpretation of 35(h) Payment requirements prohibited. in Supplement I

(i) Effect on servicer remedies

(1) Adverse information. After receipt of a notice of error, a servicer may not, for 60 days, furnish adverse information to any consumer reporting agency regarding any payment that is the subject of the notice of error.

(2) Remedies permitted. Except as set forth in this section with respect to an assertion of error under paragraph (b)(9) or (10) of this section, nothing in this section shall limit or restrict a lender or servicer from pursuing any remedy it has under applicable law, including initiating foreclosure or proceeding with a foreclosure sale.