Comment for 1026.25 - Record Retention
25(a) General Rule
1. Evidence of required actions. The creditor must retain evidence that it performed the required actions as well as made the required disclosures. This includes, for example, evidence that the creditor properly handled adverse credit reports in connection with amounts subject to a billing dispute under § 1026.13, and properly handled the refunding of credit balances under §§ 1026.11 and 1026.21.
2. Methods of retaining evidence. Adequate evidence of compliance does not necessarily mean actual paper copies of disclosure statements or other business records. The evidence may be retained by any method that reproduces records accurately (including computer programs). Unless otherwise required, the creditor need retain only enough information to reconstruct the required disclosures or other records. Thus, for example, the creditor need not retain each open-end periodic statement, so long as the specific information on each statement can be retrieved.
3. Certain variable-rate transactions. In variable-rate transactions that are subject to the disclosure requirements of § 1026.19(b), written procedures for compliance with those requirements as well as a sample disclosure form for each loan program represent adequate evidence of compliance. (See comment 25(a)-2 pertaining to permissible methods of retaining the required disclosures.)
4. Home equity plans. In home equity plans that are subject to the requirements of § 1026.40, written procedures for compliance with those requirements as well as a sample disclosure form and contract for each home equity program represent adequate evidence of compliance. (See comment 25(a)-2 pertaining to permissible methods of retaining the required disclosures.)
25(c) Records Related to Certain Requirements for Mortgage Loans.
25(c)(1) Records related to requirements for loans secured by real property or a cooperative unit.
1. Evidence of required actions. The creditor must retain evidence that it performed the required actions as well as made the required disclosures. This includes, for example, evidence that the creditor properly differentiated between affiliated and independent third party settlement service providers for determining good faith under § 1026.19(e)(3); evidence that the creditor properly documented the reason for revisions under § 1026.19(e)(3)(iv); or evidence that the creditor properly calculated average cost under § 1026.19(f)(3)(ii).
2. Mortgage brokers. See § 1026.19(e)(1)(ii)(B) for the responsibilities of mortgage brokers to comply with the requirements of § 1026.25(c).
25(c)(2) Records Related to Requirements for Loan Originator Compensation
1. Scope of records of loan originator compensation. Section 1026.25(c)(2)(i) requires a creditor to maintain records sufficient to evidence all compensation it pays to a loan originator, as well as the compensation agreements that govern those payments, for three years after the date of the payments. Section 1026.25(c)(2)(ii) requires that a loan originator organization maintain records sufficient to evidence all compensation it receives from a creditor, a consumer, or another person and all compensation it pays to any individual loan originators, as well as the compensation agreements that govern those payments or receipts, for three years after the date of the receipts or payments.
i. Records sufficient to evidence payment and receipt of compensation. Records are sufficient to evidence payment and receipt of compensation if they demonstrate the following facts: The nature and amount of the compensation; that the compensation was paid, and by whom; that the compensation was received, and by whom; and when the payment and receipt of compensation occurred. The compensation agreements themselves are to be retained in all circumstances consistent with § 1026.25(c)(2)(i). The additional records that are sufficient necessarily will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts and circumstances, particularly with regard to the nature of the compensation. For example, if the compensation is in the form of a salary, records to be retained might include copies of required filings under the Internal Revenue Code that demonstrate the amount of the salary. If the compensation is in the form of a contribution to or a benefit under a designated tax-advantaged plan, records to be maintained might include copies of required filings under the Internal Revenue Code or other applicable Federal law relating to the plan, copies of the plan and amendments thereto in which individual loan originators participate and the names of any loan originators covered by the plan, or determination letters from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the plan. If the compensation is in the nature of a commission or bonus, records to be retained might include a settlement agent “flow of funds” worksheet or other written record or a creditor closing instructions letter directing disbursement of fees at consummation. Where a loan originator is a mortgage broker, a disclosure of compensation or broker agreement required by applicable State law that recites the broker's total compensation for a transaction is a record of the amount actually paid to the loan originator in connection with the transaction, unless actual compensation deviates from the amount in the disclosure or agreement. Where compensation has been decreased to defray the cost, in whole or part, of an unforeseen increase in an actual settlement cost over an estimated settlement cost disclosed to the consumer pursuant to section 5(c) of RESPA (or omitted from that disclosure), records to be maintained are those documenting the decrease in compensation and reasons for it.
ii. Compensation agreement. For purposes of § 1026.25(c)(2), a compensation agreement includes any agreement, whether oral, written, or based on a course of conduct that establishes a compensation arrangement between the parties (e.g., a brokerage agreement between a creditor and a mortgage broker or provisions of employment contracts between a creditor and an individual loan originator employee addressing payment of compensation). Where a compensation agreement is oral or based on a course of conduct and cannot itself be maintained, the records to be maintained are those, if any, evidencing the existence or terms of the oral or course of conduct compensation agreement. Creditors and loan originators are free to specify what transactions are governed by a particular compensation agreement as they see fit. For example, they may provide, by the terms of the agreement, that the agreement governs compensation payable on transactions consummated on or after some future effective date (in which case, a prior agreement governs transactions consummated in the meantime). For purposes of applying the record retention requirement to transaction-specific commissions, the relevant compensation agreement for a given transaction is the agreement pursuant to which compensation for that transaction is determined.
iii. Three-year retention period. The requirements in § 1026.25(c)(2)(i) and (ii) that the records be retained for three years after the date of receipt or payment, as applicable, means that the records are retained for three years after each receipt or payment, as applicable, even if multiple compensation payments relate to a single transaction. For example, if a loan originator organization pays an individual loan originator a commission consisting of two separate payments of $1,000 each on June 5 and July 7, 2014, then the loan originator organization is required to retain records sufficient to evidence the two payments through June 4, 2017, and July 6, 2017, respectively.
2. Example. An example of the application of § 1026.25(c)(2) to a loan originator organization is as follows: Assume a loan originator organization originates only transactions that are not subject to § 1026.36(d)(2), thus all of its origination compensation is paid exclusively by creditors that fund its originations. Further assume that the loan originator organization pays its individual loan originator employees commissions and annual bonuses. The loan originator organization must retain a copy of the agreement with any creditor that pays the loan originator organization compensation for originating consumer credit transactions subject to § 1026.36 and documentation evidencing the specific payment it receives from the creditor for each transaction originated. In addition, the loan originator organization must retain copies of the agreements with its individual loan originator employees governing their commissions and their annual bonuses and records of any specific commissions and bonuses paid.
25(c)(3) Records related to minimum standards for transactions secured by a dwelling.
1. Evidence of compliance with repayment ability provisions. A creditor must retain evidence of compliance with § 1026.43 for three years after the date of consummation of a consumer credit transaction covered by that section. (See comment 25(c)(3)-2 for guidance on the retention of evidence of compliance with the requirement to offer a consumer a loan without a prepayment penalty under § 1026.43(g)(3).) If a creditor must verify and document information used in underwriting a transaction subject to § 1026.43, the creditor shall retain evidence sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the documentation requirements of the rule. Although a creditor need not retain actual paper copies of the documentation used in underwriting a transaction subject to § 1026.43, to comply with § 1026.25(c)(3), the creditor must be able to reproduce such records accurately. For example, if the creditor uses a consumer's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-2 to verify the consumer's income, the creditor must be able to reproduce the IRS Form W-2 itself, and not merely the income information that was contained in the form.
2. Dwelling-secured transactions and prepayment penalties. If a transaction covered by § 1026.43 has a prepayment penalty, the creditor must maintain records that document that the creditor complied with requirements for offering the consumer an alternative transaction that does not include a prepayment penalty under § 1026.43(g)(3), (4), or (5). However, the creditor need not maintain records that document compliance with those provisions if a transaction is consummated without a prepayment penalty or if the creditor and consumer do not consummate a covered transaction. If a creditor offers a transaction with a prepayment penalty to a consumer through a mortgage broker, to evidence compliance with § 1026.43(g)(4) the creditor should retain evidence of the alternative covered transaction presented to the mortgage broker, such as a rate sheet, and the agreement with the mortgage broker required by § 1026.43(g)(4)(ii).