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Loan Originator Compensation & the New Underwriting Rules Clinton R. Rockwell & Jonathan W. Cannon BuckleySandler LLP Experienced Specialized Accomplished.

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Presentation on theme: "Loan Originator Compensation & the New Underwriting Rules Clinton R. Rockwell & Jonathan W. Cannon BuckleySandler LLP Experienced Specialized Accomplished."— Presentation transcript:

1 Loan Originator Compensation & the New Underwriting Rules Clinton R. Rockwell & Jonathan W. Cannon BuckleySandler LLP Experienced Specialized Accomplished Cost-Effective Collaborative

2 2 Overview  Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions under Dodd-Frank and the Federal Reserve Board’s Final Rule

3 3 Mortgage Originator Compensation - Overview  Dodd-Frank provisions (Section 1403 of Title XIV, creating new Section 129B(c) of TILA) are illuminated by recent Federal Reserve Board (“FRB”) final rule  FRB rule is effective for all applications received by the creditor after April 1, 2011  FRB intends to implement Dodd-Frank provisions in future rulemaking, but acknowledges similarity of provisions

4 4 Mortgage Originator Compensation - Overview  Both Dodd-Frank and FRB rule prohibit payments to a loan originator that vary based on the terms of the loan, other than loan amount  Both Dodd-Frank and FRB rule allow loan originators to receive payment from a person other than the consumer only if the originator does not receive compensation directly from the consumer

5 5 Mortgage Originator Compensation - Overview  Dodd-Frank has an additional restriction not in FRB rule: If loan originator receives compensation from someone other than the consumer, the consumer must not make any upfront payment to the lender for points or fees other than bona fide third-party charges.  FRB (or CFPB) will address this restriction in a subsequent rulemaking.  Therefore, this provision is not effective April 1, 2011.

6 6 Mortgage Originator Compensation - Overview  FRB rule prohibits loan originator from steering consumers to loans not in their interest because it will result in greater compensation for the loan originator, but FRB rule adopts a safe harbor.  Dodd-Frank requires further regulations on “anti- steering.”

7 7 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Under Dodd-Frank - “Mortgage originator” is defined as:  Any person who, for direct or indirect compensation or gain, or in the expectation of direct or indirect compensation or gain–  Takes a residential loan application (residential loan excludes HELOCs) ;  Assists a consumer in obtaining or applying to obtain a residential mortgage loan Includes, among other things, advising on loan terms (including rates, fees, and other costs), preparing loan packages, or collecting info on behalf of borrower; or  Offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan.  Includes persons who represent to the public that they can do the foregoing.  Does not include servicers (as defined in RESPA), including those offering modifications to borrowers in default.

8 8 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Under FRB rule – “Loan Originator” defined as:  A person who, for compensation or other monetary gain, or in expectation of compensation or other monetary gain –  arranges, negotiates, or otherwise obtains an extension of consumer credit for another person.  Includes the employee of the creditor as well as employee of a mortgage broker.  Does not include the creditor, unless table funding occurs (where creditor does not provide the funds for the transaction).  Does not include managers, administrative staff, and similar individuals who are employed by a creditor or loan originator who do not arrange, negotiate, or otherwise obtain an extension of credit for a consumer AND whose compensation is not based on whether any particular loan is originated.  Under FRB rule – “Mortgage Broker” defined as Loan Originator who is not an employee of the creditor.

9 9 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in Dodd-Frank  Dodd-Frank prohibits any mortgage originator from receiving (and prohibits any person from paying to a mortgage originator, directly or indirectly) compensation that varies based on the loan terms, other than loan amount.

10 10 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in Dodd-Frank  Dodd-Frank further prohibits a mortgage originator from receiving from any person other than the consumer (and prohibits any person who knows or has reason to know that the consumer has or will directly compensate the loan originator from paying to the loan originator) any origination fee or charge, except bona fide third party charges not retained by the creditor, mortgage originator, or an affiliate of the creditor or mortgage originator (but see the exception).

11 11 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in Dodd-Frank  EXCEPTION: A mortgage originator may receive from a person other the consumer (and a person other than the consumer may pay a mortgage originator) an origination fee or charge IF:  The mortgage originator does not receive any compensation directly from the consumer; and  The consumer does not make an upfront payment of discount points, origination points, or fees, however denominated (other than bona fide third party charges not retained by the mortgage originator, creditor, or an affiliate of the creditor or originator).  The FRB may by rule waive or provide exemptions to this limitation if such is in consumers’ or the public’s interest.

12 12 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Finally, Dodd-Frank provides a “Rule of Construction” that the foregoing language shall not be construed as:  Permitting any yield spread premium or other comp that would permit the total amount of direct or indirect comp from all sources permitted to a mortgage originator to vary based on the loan terms, other than loan amount;  Limiting or affecting the amount of comp received by a creditor upon the sale of a consummated loan to a subsequent purchaser;

13 13 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Finally, Dodd-Frank provides a “Rule of Construction” that the foregoing language shall not be construed as (continued):  Restricting a consumer’s ability to finance, at the option of the consumer, including through principal or rate, any origination fees or costs permitted under this provision, or the mortgage originator’s right to receive such fees or costs (including compensation) from any person, SO LONG AS  no person other than the consumer may pay fees to the originator if the consumer directly compensates the originator or if the consumer pays upfront discount points, origination points, or fees other than bona third party charges not retained by the creditor, the originator, or an affiliate of either (the FRB may waive this restriction if in the consumers’ or public interest), and  such fees or costs do not vary based on the terms of the loan (other than the loan amount) or the consumer’s decision about whether to finance such fees or costs; or  Prohibiting incentive payments to a mortgage originator based on the number of residential loans originated within a specified period of time.

14 14 Mortgage Originator Compensation Loan Originator Comp in Dodd-Frank: What Does It Mean?  First, it is clear that mortgage originator compensation may never be based on the terms of the loan, other than loan amount. The meaning of the phrase “terms of the loan” is illustrated in the FRB rule (see below)  Second, if the consumer directly compensates the mortgage originator, no one other than the consumer, including the creditor, may compensate the loan originator.  Third, the consumer may continue to buy up or buy down the rate with discount points, so long as no one but the consumer compensates the mortgage originator. This restriction is subject to a waiver if found not to be in consumers’ or the public’s interest.

15 15 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in FRB rule  Like the Dodd-Frank provisions, the FRB rule prohibits any compensation to the loan originator based on the loan terms.  But this restriction does not apply if only the consumer directly compensates the loan originator (in which case no one other than the consumer may compensate the loan originator).

16 16 Mortgage Originator Compensation The FRB rule and the commentary accompanying the rule add these further clarifications:  Compensation includes salaries, commissions, and any financial or similar incentive provided to a loan originator that is based on any of the terms or conditions of the loan originator’s transactions.  Compensation to a loan originator may be based on a fixed percentage of the loan amount, and may be subject to a minimum or maximum dollar amount, so long as the minimum or maximum dollar amounts do not vary with each transaction.  A creditor may not offer “tiered percentages” of compensation, such as 1% of principal for loans of $300,000 or more, 2% of principal for loans between $200,000 and $300,000, and 3% of principal for loans below $200,000.

17 17 Mortgage Originator Compensation The FRB rule and the commentary accompanying the rule add these further clarifications:  In addition to terms such as interest rate, annual percentage rate, loan-to-value ratio, or the existence of a prepayment penalty, the rule prohibits basing loan originator compensation on a factor that serves as a proxy for loan terms and conditions. Credit score could serve as a proxy if it determines the interest rate.

18 18 Mortgage Originator Compensation The FRB rule and the commentary accompanying the rule add these further clarifications:  Compensation (i) for long-term performance of the originator’s loans, (ii) based on an hourly rate for number of hours worked by the originator, (iii) based on whether the consumer is a new customer, (iv) based on a fixed flat fee for each loan, (v) based on the originator’s pull-through rate (percentage of applications that result in closed loans), (vi) based on the quality of the loan files, or (vii) based on a legitimate business expense, such as fixed overhead costs, is not compensation based on the loan’s terms.

19 19 Mortgage Originator Compensation The FRB rule and the commentary accompanying the rule add these further clarifications:  Once a creditor offers to extend a loan with specified terms (such as the rate and points), the amount of the originator’s compensation for that loan is not subject to change (increase or decrease) based on whether different loan terms are negotiated.  Payment by a consumer of lender’s points that are then used by the lender to pay the loan originator are not considered payments received directly from the consumer.

20 20 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Unlike Dodd-Frank, the FRB rule does not prohibit compensation to a loan originator from a person other than the consumer where the consumer pays discount points or origination points or fees to the lender. That provision will be addressed in future rulemaking.

21 21 Mortgage Originator Compensation  The FRB rule does, however, adopt an anti-steering provision that prohibits a loan originator from directing a consumer to consummate a transaction based on the fact that the originator will receive greater compensation from the creditor in that transaction than in other transactions the originator offered or could have offered to the consumer, unless the consummated transaction is in the consumer’s interest.

22 22 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Safe Harbor Regarding Steering. The anti-steering provision is not violated if the loan originator presents the following loan options for the type of transaction in which the consumer expressed an interest (there are three “types of transactions” – fixed rate mortgage, ARM, or reverse mortgage):  The loan originator must obtain loan options from a significant number of the creditors with which the originator regularly does business (this number is 3 or more, unless the originator does not deal with that many creditors)

23 23 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Safe Harbor Regarding Steering (continued)  The loan originator must present:  The loan with the lowest rate  The loan with the lowest rate without neg am, a prepayment penalty, interest-only payments, a balloon payment in the first 7 years, a demand feature, shared equity, or in the case of a reverse mortgage, a loan without a prepayment penalty, or shared equity or shared appreciation; and  The loan with the lowest total dollar amount for origination points or fees and discount points

24 24 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Safe Harbor Regarding Steering (continued)  The loan originator must have a good faith belief that the consumer likely qualifies for the options presented  For each type of transaction, if the originator presents more than three loans, the ones satisfying the criteria above must be highlighted  Fewer than three loans can be presented if the loans presented satisfy the criteria described above

25 25 Mortgage Originator Compensation  Under the FRB rule, if the consumer directly compensates the mortgage originator, no one other than the consumer, including the creditor, may compensate the loan originator.  The rule and commentary make clarifications to this rule.

26 26 Mortgage Originator Compensation  The rule and the commentary make the following clarifications:  The restriction applicable to loans where the consumer compensates the loan originator relates only to payments, such as commissions, that are specific to, and paid solely in connection with, the transaction.  Thus, payments by a mortgage broker company to an employee in the form of a salary or hourly wage, which is not tied to a specific transaction, do not violate this provision even if the consumer directly pays a loan originator a fee in connection with a specific credit transaction.

27 27 Mortgage Originator Compensation  The rule and the commentary make the following clarifications:  But, if any loan originator receives compensation directly from the consumer in connection with a specific transaction, neither the mortgage broker company nor an employee of the mortgage broker company can receive compensation from the creditor in connection with that particular credit transaction.

28 28 Mortgage Originator Compensation  The rule and the commentary make the following clarifications:  Affiliates are treated as a single person, so if a holding company has two mortgage lenders, and a loan originator may deliver loans to both lenders, they must compensate the loan originator in the same manner.

29 29 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in FRB rule: What Does it Mean?  The FRB rule provides clearer guidance on loan originator compensation restrictions than the Dodd- Frank provisions, but it doesn’t address the most problematic of the Dodd-Frank provisions (the prohibition on paying a loan originator compensation if the consumer pays any upfront discount points or origination points or fees, presumably to the creditor).  The FRB rule does provide clarity on what compensation is and is not “based on the loan terms.”

30 30 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in FRB rule: What Does it Mean?  FRB rule also provides guidance on the permissibility of non commission-based salaries to employees even where the consumer pays the loan originator directly.  However, its treatment of managers as loan originators based on the fact that their compensation is based on whether the loan is made, even if they do not perform loan originator functions, raises concerns.

31 31 Mortgage Originator Compensation Restrictions on Loan Originator Comp in FRB rule: What Does it Mean?  Finally, the FRB rule provides guidance on the new anti-steering provision, but additional questions remain, including how a mortgage broker is to determine whether a consumer likely qualifies for a loan for the purposes of the safe harbor.

32 32 For further information: Clinton R. Rockwell Jonathan W. Cannon BuckleySandler LLP 100 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 1000 Santa Monica, CA 90401


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