Protecting Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19 Emergency Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Regulation X




Jul 13, 2021

The Honorable Sherrod Brown
The Honorable Patrick J. Toomey
Rating member
Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
US Senate

The Honorable Maxine Waters
The Honorable Patrick McHenry
Rating member
Financial Services Committee
House of Representatives

Thing: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Protecting borrowers affected by the COVID-19 emergency under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Regulation X

Pursuant to Section 801 (a) (2) (A), Title 5 of the United States Code, this is our report on a core rule published by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) titled Protecting Borrowers Affected by COVID-19. Emergency in accordance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Regulation X ”(RIN: 3170-AB07). We received the rule on June 28, 2021. It was published in Federal register as a final rule; official interpretation June 30, 2021 86 FRS. Reg. 34848. Effective date – August 31, 2021.

It is issuing this final rule to amend Rule X to help mortgage borrowers affected by the COVID-19 emergency, according to the Bureau.
See in general 12 CFR para 1024. The Bureau stated that the final rule establishes interim procedural safeguards to help ensure that borrowers have a meaningful opportunity to be considered for mitigating losses before service personnel can make the first notice or file a claim required for foreclosure on certain mortgages. The bureau also said the final rule would temporarily allow mortgage service providers to offer certain loan modifications to borrowers experiencing COVID-19 difficulties based on an assessment of the incomplete application. The Bureau further stated that it was also finalizing some temporary amendments to the early intervention and reasonable diligence obligations that Rule X imposes on mortgage servants.

Attached is our assessment of the Bureau’s compliance with the procedural steps required by sections 801 (a) (1) (B) (i) – (iv) of Section 5 in relation to the rule. If you have any questions about this report or would like to contact the GAO officials responsible for assessment work related to the subject of the rule, please contact Shari Brewster, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-6398 …

Shirley Jones
Shirley A. Jones
Managing Junior General Counsel

The attachment

Copy: Edward J. Lovett, Jr.
Senior Congress Representative
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


(RIN: 3170-AB07)

(i) Cost-benefit analysis

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) has stated that it is considering the potential benefits and costs of this final rule. The Bureau’s analysis established a baseline against which it assessed potential benefits and costs to consumers and covered individuals (1) temporary special procedural measures against COVID-19; (2) evaluation of applications for loss reduction; and (3) lively contacts and reasonable requirements of due diligence.

(ii) Agency Actions Relating to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 USC §§ 603-605, 607 and 609

The Bureau confirmed that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a significant number of small businesses.

(iii) Agency Actions Relating to Sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 1995, 2 USC §§ 1532-1535

As an independent regulatory agency, the Bureau is not subject to the Act.
See 2 USC §§ 658 (1), 1502 (1); 44 USC § 3502 (5).

(iv) Other Relevant Information or Requirements as Required by Laws and Regulations

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 USC §§ 551 et seq.

On April 9, 2021, the Bureau published a proposed rule titled “Protecting Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19 Emergency Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Regulation X… “86 Fed. Reg. 18840. According to the Bureau, it received over 200 comments from individual consumers, consumer advocate commentators, state attorneys general, industry representatives and others. The Bureau stated that, in adopting this final rule, it considered comments regarding issues under the proposed rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 USC §§ 3501-3520

The Bureau determined that this final rule does not impose any new or revise any existing record keeping, reporting or disclosure requirements for covered organizations or members of the public, which may constitute collections of information requiring the approval of the Office of Management and Budget in compliance with PRA.

Legislative authorization for the rule

The Bureau has published this final rule under 12 CFR sections 2603-2605, 2607, 2609, 2617, 5512, 5532, 5581.

Ordinance No. 12866 (Regulatory planning and analysis)

The Bureau, as an independent regulatory body, is not subject to the Order.

Decree No. 13132 (Federalism)

The Bureau, as an independent regulatory body, is not subject to the Order.


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