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Escrow Tweaks, Exemption Areas Finalized By CFPB
WASHINGTON (5/20/13)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week unveiled two tweaks to its pending escrow regulations: a final rule clarifying and making amendments to its previously issued 2013 escrows final rule, and a final list determining both rural and underserved county status regarding the escrows rule.

The CFPB's escrow rule, issued in January, generally extends the required duration of a mortgage loan escrow account to five years, up from one year. Lenders that work in rural or underserved areas will be exempt from the escrow changes, provided they meet certain other criteria.

The final escrow rule clarifications released last week establish a temporary provision to ensure existing protections remain in place for higher-priced mortgage loans until expanded consumer protections take effect in January 2014. The rule also clarifies how to determine whether  a county is considered "rural" or "underserved" for purposes of applying an exemption.

The final list of CFPB-approved rural and underserved areas covers counties in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The CFPB defines rural counties by using the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service's urban influence codes. Underserved counties are defined by reference to data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Some counties' status may change from year to year, according to the CFPB.

For both CFPB releases, use the resource links.
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