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Comment for 1026.23 - Right of Rescission

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1. Transactions not covered. Credit extensions that are not subject to the regulation are not covered by § 1026.23 even if a customer's principal dwelling is the collateral securing the credit. For example, the right of rescission does not apply to a business purpose loan, even though the loan is secured by the customer's principal dwelling.

23(a) Consumer's Right to Rescind

Paragraph 23(a)(1)

1. Security interest arising from transaction.

i. In order for the right of rescission to apply, the security interest must be retained as part of the credit transaction. For example:

A. A security interest that is acquired by a contractor who is also extending the credit in the transaction.

B. A mechanic's or materialman's lien that is retained by a subcontractor or supplier of the contractor-creditor, even when the latter has waived its own security interest in the consumer's home.

ii. The security interest is not part of the credit transaction and therefore the transaction is not subject to the right of rescission when, for example:

A. A mechanic's or materialman's lien is obtained by a contractor who is not a party to the credit transaction but is merely paid with the proceeds of the consumer's unsecured bank loan.

B. All security interests that may arise in connection with the credit transaction are validly waived.

C. The creditor obtains a lien and completion bond that in effect satisfies all liens against the consumer's principal dwelling as a result of the credit transaction.

iii. Although liens arising by operation of law are not considered security interests for purposes of disclosure under § 1026.2, that section specifically includes them in the definition for purposes of the right of rescission. Thus, even though an interest in the consumer's principal dwelling is not a required disclosure under § 1026.18(m), it may still give rise to the right of rescission.

2. Consumer. To be a consumer within the meaning of § 1026.2, that person must at least have an ownership interest in the dwelling that is encumbered by the creditor's security interest, although that person need not be a signatory to the credit agreement. For example, if only one spouse signs a credit contract, the other spouse is a consumer if the ownership interest of that spouse is subject to the security interest.

3. Principal dwelling. A consumer can only have one principal dwelling at a time. (But see comment 23(a)(1)-4.) A vacation or other second home would not be a principal dwelling. A transaction secured by a second home (such as a vacation home) that is not currently being used as the consumer's principal dwelling is not rescindable, even if the consumer intends to reside there in the future. When a consumer buys or builds a new dwelling that will become the consumer's principal dwelling within one year or upon completion of construction, the new dwelling is considered the principal dwelling if it secures the acquisition or construction loan. In that case, the transaction secured by the new dwelling is a residential mortgage transaction and is not rescindable. For example, if a consumer whose principal dwelling is currently A builds B, to be occupied by the consumer upon completion of construction, a construction loan to finance B and secured by B is a residential mortgage transaction. Dwelling, as defined in § 1026.2, includes structures that are classified as personalty under state law. For example, a transaction secured by a mobile home, trailer, or houseboat used as the consumer's principal dwelling may be rescindable.

4. Special rule for principal dwelling. Notwithstanding the general rule that consumers may have only one principal dwelling, when the consumer is acquiring or constructing a new principal dwelling, any loan subject to Regulation Z and secured by the equity in the consumer's current principal dwelling (for example, a bridge loan) is subject to the right of rescission regardless of the purpose of that loan. For example, if a consumer whose principal dwelling is currently A builds B, to be occupied by the consumer upon completion of construction, a construction loan to finance B and secured by A is subject to the right of rescission. A loan secured by both A and B is, likewise, rescindable.

5. Addition of a security interest. Under § 1026.23(a), the addition of a security interest in a consumer's principal dwelling to an existing obligation is rescindable even if the existing obligation is not satisfied and replaced by a new obligation, and even if the existing obligation was previously exempt under § 1026.3(b). The right of rescission applies only to the added security interest, however, and not to the original obligation. In those situations, only the § 1026.23(b) notice need be delivered, not new material disclosures; the rescission period will begin to run from the delivery of the notice.

Paragraph 23(a)(2)

1. Consumer's exercise of right. The consumer must exercise the right of rescission in writing but not necessarily on the notice supplied under § 1026.23(b). Whatever the means of sending the notification of rescission - mail, telegram or other written means - the time period for the creditor's performance under § 1026.23(d)(2) does not begin to run until the notification has been received. The creditor may designate an agent to receive the notification so long as the agent's name and address appear on the notice provided to the consumer under § 1026.23(b). Where the creditor fails to provide the consumer with a designated address for sending the notification of rescission, delivering notification to the person or address to which the consumer has been directed to send, payments constitutes delivery to the creditor or assignee. State law determines whether delivery of the notification to a third party other than the person to whom payments are made is delivery to the creditor or assignee, in the case where the creditor fails to designate an address for sending the notification of rescission.

Paragraph 23(a)(3)

1. Rescission period.

i. The period within which the consumer may exercise the right to rescind runs for 3 business days from the last of 3 events:

A. Consummation of the transaction.

B. Delivery of all material disclosures.

C. Delivery to the consumer of the required rescission notice.

ii. For example:

A. If a transaction is consummated on Friday, June 1, and the disclosures and notice of the right to rescind were given on Thursday, May 31, the rescission period will expire at midnight of the third business day after June 1 - that is, Tuesday, June 5.

B. If the disclosures are given and the transaction consummated on Friday, June 1, and the rescission notice is given on Monday, June 4, the rescission period expires at midnight of the third business day after June 4 - that is, Thursday, June 7. The consumer must place the rescission notice in the mail, file it for telegraphic transmission, or deliver it to the creditor's place of business within that period in order to exercise the right.

2. Material disclosures. Section 1026.23(a)(3)(ii) sets forth the material disclosures that must be provided before the rescission period can begin to run. Failure to provide information regarding the annual percentage rate also includes failure to inform the consumer of the existence of a variable rate feature. Failure to give the other required disclosures does not prevent the running of the rescission period, although that failure may result in civil liability or administrative sanctions.

3. Unexpired right of rescission.

i. When the creditor has failed to take the action necessary to start the three-business day rescission period running, the right to rescind automatically lapses on the occurrence of the earliest of the following three events:

A. The expiration of three years after consummation of the transaction.

B. Transfer of all the consumer's interest in the property.

C. Sale of the consumer's interest in the property, including a transaction in which the consumer sells the dwelling and takes back a purchase money note and mortgage or retains legal title through a device such as an installment sale contract.

ii. Transfer of all the consumers' interest includes such transfers as bequests and gifts. A sale or transfer of the property need not be voluntary to terminate the right to rescind. For example, a foreclosure sale would terminate an unexpired right to rescind. As provided in Section 125 of the Act, the three-year limit may be extended by an administrative proceeding to enforce the provisions of this section. A partial transfer of the consumer's interest, such as a transfer bestowing co-ownership on a spouse, does not terminate the right of rescission.

Paragraph 23(a)(4)

1. Joint owners. When more than one consumer has the right to rescind a transaction, any of them may exercise that right and cancel the transaction on behalf of all. For example, if both husband and wife have the right to rescind a transaction, either spouse acting alone may exercise the right and both are bound by the rescission.

Paragraph 23(b)

23(b)(1) Notice of Right To Rescind

1. Who receives notice. Each consumer entitled to rescind must be given two copies of the rescission notice and the material disclosures. In a transaction involving joint owners, both of whom are entitled to rescind, both must receive the notice of the right to rescind and disclosures. For example, if both spouses are entitled to rescind a transaction, each must receive two copies of the rescission notice (one copy to each if the notice is provided in electronic form in accordance with the consumer consent and other applicable provisions of the E-Sign Act) and one copy of the disclosures.

2. Format. The notice must be on a separate piece of paper, but may appear with other information such as the itemization of the amount financed. The material must be clear and conspicuous, but no minimum type size or other technical requirements are imposed. The notices in appendix H provide models that creditors may use in giving the notice.

3. Content. The notice must include all of the information outlined in Section 1026.23(b)(1)(i) through (v). The requirement in § 1026.23(b) that the transaction be identified may be met by providing the date of the transaction. The creditor may provide a separate form that the consumer may use to exercise the right of rescission, or that form may be combined with the other rescission disclosures, as illustrated in appendix H. The notice may include additional information related to the required information, such as:

i. A description of the property subject to the security interest.

ii. A statement that joint owners may have the right to rescind and that a rescission by one is effective for all.

iii. The name and address of an agent of the creditor to receive notice of rescission.

4. Time of providing notice. The notice required by § 1026.23(b) need not be given before consummation of the transaction. The creditor may deliver the notice after the transaction is consummated, but the rescission period will not begin to run until the notice is given. For example, if the creditor provides the notice on May 15, but disclosures were given and the transaction was consummated on May 10, the 3-business day rescission period will run from May 15.

23(c) Delay of Creditor's Performance

1. General rule. Until the rescission period has expired and the creditor is reasonably satisfied that the consumer has not rescinded, the creditor must not, either directly or through a third party:

i. Disburse loan proceeds to the consumer.

ii. Begin performing services for the consumer.

iii. Deliver materials to the consumer.

2. Escrow. The creditor may disburse loan proceeds during the rescission period in a valid escrow arrangement. The creditor may not, however, appoint the consumer as “trustee” or “escrow agent” and distribute funds to the consumer in that capacity during the delay period.

3. Actions during the delay period. Section 1026.23(c) does not prevent the creditor from taking other steps during the delay, short of beginning actual performance. Unless otherwise prohibited, such as by state law, the creditor may, for example:

i. Prepare the loan check.

ii. Perfect the security interest.

iii. Prepare to discount or assign the contract to a third party.

iv. Accrue finance charges during the delay period.

4. Delay beyond rescission period.

i. The creditor must wait until it is reasonably satisfied that the consumer has not rescinded. For example, the creditor may satisfy itself by doing one of the following:

A. Waiting a reasonable time after expiration of the rescission period to allow for delivery of a mailed notice.

B. Obtaining a written statement from the consumer that the right has not been exercised.

ii. When more than one consumer has the right to rescind, the creditor cannot reasonably rely on the assurance of only one consumer, because other consumers may exercise the right.

23(d) Effects of Rescission

Paragraph 23(d)(1)

1. Termination of security interest. Any security interest giving rise to the right of rescission becomes void when the consumer exercises the right of rescission. The security interest is automatically negated regardless of its status and whether or not it was recorded or perfected. Under § 1026.23(d)(2), however, the creditor must take any action necessary to reflect the fact that the security interest no longer exists.

Paragraph 23(d)(2)

1. Refunds to consumer. The consumer cannot be required to pay any amount in the form of money or property either to the creditor or to a third party as part of the credit transaction. Any amounts of this nature already paid by the consumer must be refunded. “Any amount” includes finance charges already accrued, as well as other charges, such as broker fees, application and commitment fees, or fees for a title search or appraisal, whether paid to the creditor, paid directly to a third party, or passed on from the creditor to the third party. It is irrelevant that these amounts may not represent profit to the creditor.

2. Amounts not refundable to consumer. Creditors need not return any money given by the consumer to a third party outside of the credit transaction, such as costs incurred for a building permit or for a zoning variance. Similarly, the term any amount does not apply to any money or property given by the creditor to the consumer; those amounts must be tendered by the consumer to the creditor under § 1026.23(d)(3).

3. Reflection of security interest termination. The creditor must take whatever steps are necessary to indicate that the security interest is terminated. Those steps include the cancellation of documents creating the security interest, and the filing of release or termination statements in the public record. In a transaction involving subcontractors or suppliers that also hold security interests related to the credit transaction, the creditor must insure that the termination of their security interests is also reflected. The 20-day period for the creditor's action refers to the time within which the creditor must begin the process. It does not require all necessary steps to have been completed within that time, but the creditor is responsible for seeing the process through to completion.

Paragraph 23(d)(3)

1. Property exchange. Once the creditor has fulfilled its obligations under § 1026.23(d)(2), the consumer must tender to the creditor any property or money the creditor has already delivered to the consumer. At the consumer's option, property may be tendered at the location of the property. For example, if lumber or fixtures have been delivered to the consumer's home, the consumer may tender them to the creditor by making them available for pick-up at the home, rather than physically returning them to the creditor's premises. Money already given to the consumer must be tendered at the creditor's place of business.

2. Reasonable value. If returning the property would be extremely burdensome to the consumer, the consumer may offer the creditor its reasonable value rather than returning the property itself. For example, if building materials have already been incorporated into the consumer's dwelling, the consumer may pay their reasonable value.

Paragraph 23(d)(4)

1. Modifications. The procedures outlined in § 1026.23(d)(2) and (3) may be modified by a court. For example, when a consumer is in bankruptcy proceedings and prohibited from returning anything to the creditor, or when the equities dictate, a modification might be made. The sequence of procedures under § 1026.23(d)(2) and (3), or a court's modification of those procedures under § 1026.23(d)(4), does not affect a consumer's substantive right to rescind and to have the loan amount adjusted accordingly. Where the consumer's right to rescind is contested by the creditor, a court would normally determine whether the consumer has a right to rescind and determine the amounts owed before establishing the procedures for the parties to tender any money or property.

23(e) Consumer's Waiver of Right to Rescind

1. Need for waiver. To waive the right to rescind, the consumer must have a bona fide personal financial emergency that must be met before the end of the rescission period. The existence of the consumer's waiver will not, of itself, automatically insulate the creditor from liability for failing to provide the right of rescission.

2. Procedure. To waive or modify the right to rescind, the consumer must give a written statement that specifically waives or modifies the right, and also includes a brief description of the emergency. Each consumer entitled to rescind must sign the waiver statement. In a transaction involving multiple consumers, such as a husband and wife using their home as collateral, the waiver must bear the signatures of both spouses.

23(f) Exempt Transactions

1. Residential mortgage transaction. Any transaction to construct or acquire a principal dwelling, whether considered real or personal property, is exempt. (See the commentary to § 1026.23(a).) For example, a credit transaction to acquire a mobile home or houseboat to be used as the consumer's principal dwelling would not be rescindable.

2. Lien status. The lien status of the mortgage is irrelevant for purposes of the exemption in § 1026.23(f)(1); the fact that a loan has junior lien status does not by itself preclude application of this exemption. For example, a home buyer may assume the existing first mortgage and create a second mortgage to finance the balance of the purchase price. Such a transaction would not be rescindable.

3. Combined-purpose transaction. A loan to acquire a principal dwelling and make improvements to that dwelling is exempt if treated as one transaction. If, on the other hand, the loan for the acquisition of the principal dwelling and the subsequent advances for improvements are treated as more than one transaction, then only the transaction that finances the acquisition of that dwelling is exempt.

4. New advances. The exemption in § 1026.23(f)(2) applies only to refinancings (including consolidations) by the original creditor. The original creditor is the creditor to whom the written agreement was initially made payable. In a merger, consolidation or acquisition, the successor institution is considered the original creditor for purposes of the exemption in § 1026.23(f)(2). If the refinancing involves a new advance of money, the amount of the new advance is rescindable. In determining whether there is a new advance, a creditor may rely on the amount financed, refinancing costs, and other figures stated in the latest Truth in Lending disclosures provided to the consumer and is not required to use, for example, more precise information that may only become available when the loan is closed. For purposes of the right of rescission, a new advance does not include amounts attributed solely to the costs of the refinancing. These amounts would include § 1026.4(c)(7) charges (such as attorneys fees and title examination and insurance fees, if bona fide and reasonable in amount), as well as insurance premiums and other charges that are not finance charges. (Finance charges on the new transaction - points, for example - would not be considered in determining whether there is a new advance of money in a refinancing since finance charges are not part of the amount financed.) To illustrate, if the sum of the outstanding principal balance plus the earned unpaid finance charge is $50,000 and the new amount financed is $51,000, then the refinancing would be exempt if the extra $1,000 is attributed solely to costs financed in connection with the refinancing that are not finance charges. Of course, if new advances of money are made (for example, to pay for home improvements) and the consumer exercises the right of rescission, the consumer must be placed in the same position as he or she was in prior to entering into the new credit transaction. Thus, all amounts of money (which would include all the costs of the refinancing) already paid by the consumer to the creditor or to a third party as part of the refinancing would have to be refunded to the consumer. (See the commentary to § 1026.23(d)(2) for a discussion of refunds to consumers.) A model rescission notice applicable to transactions involving new advances appears in appendix H. The general rescission notice (model form H-8) is the appropriate form for use by creditors not considered original creditors in refinancing transactions.

5. State creditors. Cities and other political subdivisions of states acting as creditors are not exempted from this section.

6. Multiple advances. Just as new disclosures need not be made for subsequent advances when treated as one transaction, no new rescission rights arise so long as the appropriate notice and disclosures are given at the outset of the transaction. For example, the creditor extends credit for home improvements secured by the consumer's principal dwelling, with advances made as repairs progress. As permitted by § 1026.17(c)(6), the creditor makes a single set of disclosures at the beginning of the construction period, rather than separate disclosures for each advance. The right of rescission does not arise with each advance. However, if the advances are treated as separate transactions, the right of rescission applies to each advance.7. Spreader clauses. When the creditor holds a mortgage or deed of trust on the consumer's principal dwelling and that mortgage or deed of trust contains a “spreader clause,” subsequent loans made are separate transactions and are subject to the right of rescission. Those loans are rescindable unless the creditor effectively waives its security interest under the spreader clause with respect to the subsequent transactions.

8. Converting open-end to closed-end credit. Under certain state laws, consummation of a closed-end credit transaction may occur at the time a consumer enters into the initial open-end credit agreement. As provided in the commentary to § 1026.17(b), closed-end credit disclosures may be delayed under these circumstances until the conversion of the open-end account to a closed-end transaction. In accounts secured by the consumer's principal dwelling, no new right of rescission arises at the time of conversion. Rescission rights under § 1026.15 are unaffected.

23(g) Tolerances for Accuracy

1. Example. See comment 38(o)-1 for examples illustrating the interaction of the finance charge and total of payments accuracy requirements for each transaction subject to § 1026.19(e) and (f).

23(g)(2) One Percent Tolerance

1. New advance. The phrase “new advance” has the same meaning as in comment 23(f)-4.

23(h) Special Rules for Foreclosures

1. Rescission. Section 1026.23(h) applies only to transactions that are subject to rescission under § 1026.23(a)(1).

Paragraph 23(h)(1)(i)

1. Mortgage broker fees. A consumer may rescind a loan in foreclosure if a mortgage broker fee that should have been included in the finance charge was omitted, without regard to the dollar amount involved. If the amount of the mortgage broker fee is included but misstated the rule in § 1026.23(h)(2) applies.

23(h)(2) Tolerance for Disclosures

1. General. The tolerance for disclosure of the finance charge is based on the accuracy of the total finance charge rather than its component charges. For transactions subject to § 1026.19(e) and (f), the tolerance for disclosure of the total of payments is based on the accuracy of the total of payments, taken as a whole, rather than its component charges.

2. Example. See comment 38(o)-1 for examples illustrating the interaction of the finance charge and total of payments accuracy requirements for each transaction subject to § 1026.19(e) and (f).