News From Our Blog

Are you Buying a Home? New Laws Help Protect You

New consumer protection rules went into effect in January to help protect homebuyers and homeowners from predatory lending, taking on more debt than they can afford, not getting complete info from their mortgage holder and more.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules ensure that anyone being paid to help you find a mortgage treats you fairly at key points in the process. The rules are aimed at empowering you to shop for loans to buy and own a home with more confidence.

  • The new mortgage rules will make the market safer and easier to understand. Lenders now have to make a good faith effort to determine if you have the ability to repay your loan. In the end, only you can decide how much you are comfortable paying for a mortgage.

  • You will get a copy of any appraisal or valuation at least three business days before you go to closing. Appraisals can provide you an estimate of what a home is worth. You may also obtain your own independent appraisal.

  • Any company that is paid to help you find or get a mortgage must train its agents, brokers and loan originators and make sure they have been through a background check. The people you hire to help you find a mortgage should be licensed or registered at the state or federal level. Ask your loan originator about their credentials.

  • New CFPB mortgage rules limit the fees a lender can charge and still make what is called a Qualified Mortgage. These rules do not require lenders to cap fees. You still have to decide for yourself whether it’s a good idea to pay high fees to get a loan.

Mortgages are complicated, get help from CFBP if you have questions.

Mortgage Resources for Home Buyers and Homeowner

If you are thinking about buying a home or if you’re a homeowner struggling to pay your mortgage, visit our  Mortgages for Home Buyers and Homeowners page to find resources to get help. You’ll find:

  • Home-buying programs
  • Tips to help you avoid load fraud
  • Resources on mortgage payment assistance
  • Information to help you avoid foreclosure

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is fining four mortgage insurance companies $15.4 million for taking illegal kickbacks that raised payment costs for some homeowners. Learn more about the CFPB’s actions against these companies.

Find Out If You’re Eligible for an Independent Foreclosure Review

You may be eligible for an independent foreclose review if you believe you were financially harmed in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010, and your mortgage was serviced by one of the following companies or its subsidiaries:

  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HSBC Finance Corporation
  • SunTrust Mortgage, and 
  • EMC Mortgage Corporation.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, there is no cost for an independent foreclosure review and you could potentially receive compensation. The deadline to request a review is July 31, 2012.

The four mortgage servicers are required to make these independent reviews available as part of their compliance with enforcement actions taken by the Federal Reserve Board.

Learn more about the eligibility requirement and how to request a foreclosure review.

How the National Mortgage Settlement Affects You

Through the National Mortgage Settlement, the country’s five biggest mortgage servicers must commit about $25 billion in relief to individuals and governments because they broke the law in how they managed home loans.

It will take time to figure out which individuals are eligible for help from the settlement. If you are eligible, you should receive a letter in the next 6 to 9 months.

In the meantime, you can learn about the National Mortgage Settlement from its website, including

The settlement will provide assistance for eligible

  • Homeowners needing loan modifications
  • Borrowers who are current, but underwater and in need of refinancing.
  • Borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure.

Learn more about the National Mortgage Settlement.