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Small Creditor Escrow Relief Previewed By CFPB
WASHINGTON (3/14/13)--A preliminary list of the counties in which small creditors will be exempt from pending escrow requirements has been released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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

The preliminary list of CFPB-approved rural and underserved areas covers counties in 46 states and Puerto Rico. A finalized list will be released alongside some technical amendments to the escrow rule before June 1, the agency said. The escrow rule is also expected to be finalized at that time.

The CFPB said it will define 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, the agency said. Some counties' status may change from year to year, the CFPB added.

The Credit Union National Association has developed an escrow account compliance chart and other resources to help credit unions comply with this and other CFPB mortgage rules. The chart format is designed to help credit unions find the specific information they are looking for quickly. The chart covers the basics of the new rule and more detailed information, including:

  • Effective dates;
  • Exemptions and exceptions;
  • Significant definitions; and
  • What the new rule will change.
More comprehensive compliance summaries with interpretive explanations of the escrow changes are also in the works.

For the CFPB release and the CUNA chart, use the resource links.
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