Are Final Exams Required for Upcoming Real Estate License Renewal?

Last year, some important amendments to the Real Estate License Act took effect. While most of the changes were subtle, there was an impact for Illinois Real Estate Managing Brokers. As the license renewal deadline approaches for Managing Brokers, our customer service team has been fielding lots of questions about the changes. Here is the key question and answer…

Do the license law changes impact your 2019 Managing Broker license renewal?

Yes, but not in a significant way.

Although the amended license law made some changes to curriculum and the way courses can be offered, the real impact of those changes won’t be felt until the next license renewal period. That’s because the state needed to finalize administrative rules that describe how those changes will be implemented. The proposed rules (which may be final by the time you read this) defer the impact of the changes to avoid confusion about requirements during this renewal period.

However, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Education (IDFPR) determined that some aspects of the amended license law were very clear and could be implemented in advance of the rulemaking process. This contradiction led to some confusion among licensees.

How does this impact Managing Broker Continuing Education?

The current two-year Managing Broker renewal period began May 1, 2017, and ends April 30, 2019. As a reminder, most Illinois Managing Brokers must complete 24 credit hours of continuing education that includes: 12 hours of core and elective CE (via self-study, online distance education, classes or live webinars) plus 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE (via classes or live webinars) before renewing their licenses.

You may be pleased to learn that if you attend a live, interactive CE course via classroom or webinar, you are no longer required to complete a final exam for that course. Keep in mind that you must attend the entire course. (Attending review classes for self-study CE courses is not permitted.) This applies to core, elective, and Broker Management CE.

When it comes to core and elective CE, attending live training is not for everyone, especially with the requirement to complete 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE. You may be looking for another way to avoid taking a final exam. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and willing to try something new, “online distance education” may interest you. This new interactive course delivery method became available in 2018 as a result of the amended license law.

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Online distance education is a modern approach to self-study that has some pros and cons depending on your perspective.

No one relishes the idea of taking a test. It’s important to know that although a final exam is not required with online distance education courses, there must be interactivity, which includes quizzes/knowledge checks along the way to make sure you’ve gone through the entire course.

Note: The state does not permit the 12-credit-hour interactive Broker Management CE course to be completed in an online distance education delivery method.

In summary, the course format you choose will determine whether a final exam is required.

The IDFPR will soon begin accepting license renewal applications, so it’s important that Managing Brokers complete their required CE now.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for over 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

 

Four Things Illinois Managing Brokers Should Do in 2019

To do list for businessman in notebook on office table. Grey background top viewThe new year is upon us, and it’s time to work on your annual business plan if you haven’t already done so. As a sponsoring or managing broker, you will certainly do many important things this year, but be sure not to lose sight of these basic strategies and responsibilities.

Establish Stronger Connections With Your Team

Whether you manage just a few agents or oversee the operation of a large organization, it’s important to build relationships with your team. Good working relationships often lead to better focus, collaboration, talent development and other positive outcomes that will help your company grow. Perhaps more importantly, effective communication with your team will help your office remain compliant with real estate license laws, rules and regulations.

One easy way to put this into practice is team meetings. Ideally, you can maintain a regular schedule of well-attended, in-person meetings that offer valuable interactions for everyone. But in the modern workplace, it may be challenging to drive attendance at in-person meetings, so don’t be afraid to use an online meeting app that enables you to collaborate virtually.

At each meeting, be sure to spend time on at least one key compliance issue. For example, you can help your sponsored agents understand rules and regulations surrounding advertising. While your office policy will dictate what styles and forms of advertising are acceptable to your brokerage, it is important to remind your agents about the do’s and don’ts of marketing. Educating your agents by using examples of appropriate and legal advertisements vs. inappropriate forms of advertising will help them understand what it takes to be compliant and successful while also protecting you and your firm.

Remember that Certain Responsibilities Should Not Be Delegated

It’s important to know what you do well and what can be delegated to others who can do it more efficiently or cost effectively. However, from a compliance standpoint, certain responsibilities should not be delegated to others.

As the real estate industry continues to embrace the concept of teams within brokerages, it can be tempting for a managing broker to delegate some of his/her responsibilities to a “team leader.” But the law is clear that this is not always permissible. Specifically, a managing broker must:

  • Have a written independent contractor agreement or employment agreement with each team member.
  • Compensate each team member. Sponsored licensees are only allowed to receive compensation from their sponsoring broker.
  • Monitor team advertising. Teams may advertise under the team name, but the name of the sponsoring brokerage must be included in all advertising.

Get Ready For Branch Location Changes

This year, the IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate will implement recent license law amendments, including elimination of the requirement for licensed real estate businesses to obtain an additional license for each of their branch office locations.

More details are coming soon, but we’ve received a lot of questions about how this change might impact an organization’s management structure. Similar to the current regulations, the individual who supervises the “main office” may supervise additional locations or designate another managing broker to supervise sponsored licensees at the remote location(s). Brokerages will be required to provide the IDFPR with details about the additional locations where they conduct business, but it won’t be necessary to have a separate license. Instead, these details will be managed through the IDFPR’s online services portal.

Update Your Policy Manual

Lastly, be sure to review and update your policy manual at least once per year. It’s important to incorporate policies into your manual as you become aware of new laws and rules that affect real estate brokerage. For example, you should consider including policies related to sexual harassment. You may want to address scenarios related to interactions with colleagues, customers, and clients. The appropriate information (and training – possibly at a team meeting), may help to prevent harassment and various types of discrimination. Additionally, taking reasonable steps to prevent harassment may help to limit a company’s liability if a claim is ever filed against your company or management team.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

Naughty or Nice: What Will 2019 Bring for Mortgage Professionals?

Naughty Boston Terrier has eaten the door

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

If you’re like me, the famous opening sentence to Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities
calls to mind memories of droning college lectures on Victorian literature that made you yearn for more pleasant surroundings such as the DMV or dentist chair, but it’s also a fitting description of today’s housing and mortgage markets. Given that we’re nearing the end of 2018, it makes sense to use this month’s blog post to take a look at the current state of the mortgage market and some trends to consider as we enter the new year, so here goes.

All real estate is local – except when it’s not

My favorite thing about my job is that I get to travel the country and talk with people across the spectrum of the mortgage business, from MLOs to regulators, and discuss the market with them. While often there are a few common topics of concern raised across different locations, this year was the first in a long time when MLOs in every single region of the country ranked the same two issues in order as the biggest impediment to growth: Lack of inventory and rising mortgage rates.

Of course, those issues are very closely related, as homeowners with low interest rate loans put off potential moves while the refinance market craters at the same time. The good news for mortgage professionals (according to CoreLogic data from July of this year) is that 41% of renters in the 100 hottest housing markets plan to buy a home in the next year, and with unemployment at multi-decade lows and wages beginning to show steady growth, they’re in a good position to follow-through on those plans. Unfortunately, that same data tells us that only 11% of homeowners plan to sell in the same time period, leading to the likelihood that inventory concerns will persist into 2019. While new construction may alleviate some of the pressure, it should remain a seller’s market for much of the next 12 months, even if rising interest rates do lead to a slowing of home price growth.

The incredible shrinking margin

Independent mortgage banks have had (to put it bluntly) a terrible year when it comes to origination profits. In the third quarter, IMBs recorded an average profit of just $480 per loan, which is slightly better than the $118 per loan loss posted in the first quarter, but down year-over-year. Given typical fourth quarter struggles, 2018 is on pace to be the worst year for origination margins since the crash of 2008.

The good news is that companies that own mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) are seeing strong value from them. This should continue, as MSRs tend to be a very stable investment in rising interest rate environments because loan payoffs decrease as refinance volume falls. Perhaps the most important line in the linked article above: “Including all business lines (loan production and servicing), 71% of the firms studied posted a pretax profit in the third quarter. Without servicing, that percentage would have dropped to 52%.” Unfortunately, that does not bode well for IMBs that only participate in the origination side of the business, so look for this winter to bring another wave of consolidation among that segment of the business to the benefit of the larger IMBs that service AND to mortgage brokers who aren’t faced with banker levels of overhead expenses.

Land of opportunities

Fear not, mortgage originators! While the ride is certainly choppy and likely to become more so in 2019, there ARE opportunities to grow your business over the next 12 months. The first thing you need to do, however, is accept that we’re not in Kansas anymore. If you’ve been operating in the confines of the Fannie/Freddie box and/or relying on refinances for more than 20% of your income, there are some things you can do NOW to set yourself up for success:

  1. Get out of your comfort zone. Examine the full suite of products your company offers. Read and memorize guidelines and niches! As volume and profits shrink, the credit box is expanding. To date, much of this guideline expansion has been in the jumbo QM loan market, but I expect the non-QM market to pick up significantly at all loan levels as we go through the winter. This will be the first “slow period” in a long while where the refinance market is almost all needs-based (cash-out, divorce settlements, etc.), and lenders will need to find ways to fill the refi void. If you’re the market-watching type, keep an eye on companies like Verus Mortgage Capital and Neuberger Berman as they continue to bring non-QM securities to market. If investor appetite increases for these mortgage-backed securities, expect more companies to jump into the non-QM pool with both feet. The key is to know your product offerings inside and out, be able to explain them to consumers and referral sources and lend responsibly. (State regulators will be watching.)
  2. Get back to basics. When purchase business accounts for 80% of residential originations, you can’t afford to be lax in maintaining your referral sources and looking for new ones, especially among real estate agents. No, this doesn’t mean you should consider violating RESPA’s prohibition on referral fees. What it DOES mean is that you need to be in regular contact with those who trust you and add value to their business instead of just bringing doughnuts, asking for referrals and taking them for granted. How do you add value? One of the easiest ways is to show them how your expanded product selection and knowledge can translate into more closings for both of you. With technology tools like social media and CRM platforms, there really is no excuse for not getting your name out there (in a compliant manner, of course). Don’t let others eat your lunch; market yourself like it’s 1999.
  3. Go where the business is. Work on a strategy to penetrate sectors of the market that are either underserved or outperforming (or both). Wondering where to start? Think inventory shortages. If people are remaining in their homes because their next “dream home” isn’t available, that doesn’t mean they’re satisfied with the status quo. In fact, renovation spending has been on the rise for a while now. Combine that with the fact that there’s almost $6 billion in tappable equity available, and renovation lending becomes a very attractive option to add to your suite of products. If you’re not able to go that route, consider finding ways to service the most consistently expanding demographic in home purchases: the Hispanic population. This doesn’t mean that you need to be multilingual (though there are certainly myriad opportunities to service the Limited English Proficiency – or LEP – market for those who are), but it does mean that you may need to brush up on underwriting guidelines for situations that arise more often in this community like gift funds, non-occupying co-borrowers, wage earners with multiple employers and multifamily dwelling considerations. Also, please consult management about fair lending considerations that may arise here so that you can do things the right way.

More market information

If you like forecasts and economic news, there’s certainly no shortage of it this time of year. Here are three of my must-reads:

  1. Freddie Mac 2019 Market Outlook
  2. Fannie Mae Research and Insight
  3. NAR National Housing Forecast

As the year comes to a close, I want to thank all of you for your support of Real Estate Institute and my monthly ramblings. It’s because of you that I look forward to coming to work every day and pursuing my passion for residential finance and education. I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey in 2019!

Happy Originating,

Peter



Real Estate Institute offers top-rated Mortgage Loan Originator Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in all three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online, Self-Study. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators covering topics you need to know to navigate today’s ever-changing lending landscape.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Dart_on_FireThey say that every person needs a passion and/or a hobby. I have two, one of which is regulatory compliance in mortgage lending. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make any of the various approved lists of hobbies for men, which is likely why I’m often found alone next to the bar or canape table at cocktail parties. (However, my other passion, darts, does make several of the lists, so there’s that.)

Thankfully, there is a support group where people like me can get their daily dose of various and sundry compliance scenario questions to mull over and comment upon. It’s an email listserv called RegList, and it has some of the most brilliant compliance minds in the country on it. In fact, if your job description includes anything related to mortgage compliance, I recommend you join us; membership is currently FREE, and we even get together for the occasional cocktail at various industry conferences (canapes optional). Just remember, what happens in compliance stays in compliance.

Recently, there was a question posted to the group that got me thinking about how much MLOs really understand about the requirements and timelines for TRID disclosures. It involved a situation where the borrower received a revised loan estimate four business days prior to closing (the last day that a revised LE can be provided under TRID) but did not SIGN the LE until the next day, which is the same day they received the Closing Disclosure.

The ultimate question was, can a borrower SIGN a revised LE on the same day they RECEIVE the initial CD, and the reason I’m discussing it here is there’s a very real possibility that you’ll encounter this exact scenario on one of your files.

To answer this question, we need to look to Section 1026.19(e)(4)(ii) of Regulation Z, which states, in part, “the creditor shall not provide a revised version of the… [Loan Estimate] … on or after the date on which the creditor provides the… [Closing Disclosure]. The consumer must receive any revised version of the…[Loan Estimate]…not later than four business days prior to consummation.” (All emphasis mine.)

Here’s where I think MLOs and others who are not interacting with the rule on a daily basis may get confused: The words PROVIDE and RECEIVE are NOT synonymous with the word SIGN. In fact, Section 1026.37(n) of Regulation Z and the official commentary to this section of the rule make it clear that a signature is not required on the Loan Estimate! The creditor is free to include a signature line for the consumer to “confirm receipt” of the disclosure or NOT to include it at its sole discretion.

Yes, as a matter of course, virtually all creditors elect to use the version of the form with the signature line because it enables them to more easily track timelines and sell loans to certain investors. However, from a pure compliance perspective, it makes no difference when – or indeed even IF – the borrower actually signs the document. Thus, as long as the creditor can prove that the borrower RECEIVED the revised LE at least four business days prior to closing, providing the CD on the same day the borrower signs the revised LE is compliant so long as the CD meets all other timing requirements. Keep in mind that, if you’re providing these disclosures electronically, you must comply with all requirements in the federal E-SIGN Act regarding consent and delivery.

This is just another example of why our compliance management systems (CMS) are so important. While some investors may initially be unwilling to purchase the loan described above simply because of the signature date on the revised LE, being able to provide proof that the LE and CD were DELIVERED in accordance with Regulation Z requirements may save you from a dreaded buyback or unsaleable loan scenario.

Happy originating,
Peter


Real Estate Institute offers top-rated Mortgage Loan Originator Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in all three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online, Self-Study. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators covering topics you need to know to navigate today’s ever-changing lending landscape.

Online Real Estate Licensing and Company Renewals

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By now, you probably received this notice from the IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate (DRE), which advises all real estate licensees that beginning October 1, paper applications for new licenses and renewals (for most license types) will no longer by accepted.  Instead, applicants must use the Online Services Portal.

The move to online licensing significantly speeds up the licensing process by automating tasks that formerly required more than one person or department to intervene.

When to Use Online Licensing Services

Beginning in October, the Online Services Portal should be used to:

  • Apply for a new license
  • Renew an existing license
  • Request a change of sponsorship
  • Terminate sponsorship
  • Update or make changes to licensee information

What About the 45-Day Sponsor Permit Card?

The new online workflow eliminates the need for a temporary sponsor permit card. As a result, this document will no longer be accepted by the DRE. Instead, Leasing Agents, Brokers, and Managing Brokers must use the Online Services Portal to request that their license be sponsored by a Managing Broker or licensed organization. Using this new system, a change of sponsorship can be completed within days.

Special Notice Regarding Branch Renewals

Last month, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB5210 into law, which eliminated the requirement for licensed real estate businesses to obtain an additional license for each of their branch office locations. This change will reduce costs and administration for real estate brokerages.

However, it will take some time for the DRE to fully implement this change and put in place an alternate process to ensure the DRE remains aware of locations where a brokerage conducts business with consumers. In the interim, these licensees must renew their branch license, but the DRE will waive the fee typically required for renewal. Branch license renewals are due by October 31, 2018 and may be renewed online here.

In Closing

Most licensees are having a positive experience with the new systems and online features, but as with any new process, there will be some quirks and problems to overcome. For example, we’ve already seen that the Online Services Portal lacks key features required by larger organizations, such as the ability to delegate access to non-licensed users who are responsible for license administration within the organization. Thankfully, the DRE has been very responsive to feedback and ideas. They are acting fast to fix bugs and make long-term improvements through ongoing investment in the technology.

If you have ideas for updates or new features for the Online Services Portal, let us know. We frequently participate in IDFPR meetings, sharing feedback we’ve received. You can comment on this blog post or send us feedback through the Contact Us form on our website.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

Insurance Ethics Webinars Now Approved and Available

business hand typing on a laptop keyboard with Webinar homepage on the computer screen learning internet website web page concept.After nearly a decade of asking, Illinois insurance producers can finally complete their 3-hour ethics continuing education requirement via webinar. The bill allowing for ethics webinars was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on August 14, 2018, and the Department of Insurance began approving webinars from course providers (including Real Estate Institute) a few weeks ago.

Although the new law provides a new method of ethics course delivery for insurance producers, the change is not applicable to public adjusters. According to the DOI, licensed Illinois public adjusters must still earn 3 hours of ethics credit by attending a live, in-person class.

The law also creates an education advisory council that will be charged with making recommendations to the state about insurance courses, curriculum and instructor qualifications.

To view Real Estate Institute’s extensive schedule of ethics webinars and in-person classes, click here.

Three Things That Every Illinois Real Estate Broker Should Remember About Disclosing Their Status as a Licensee

Real estate brokers help to create successful transactions for their clients, but they often participate in their own transactions, too. This may include buying or leasing a primary residence, the purchase or sale of investment property, etc.

When an Illinois licensed real estate broker engages in a transaction, there are special disclosure requirements that can be easily overlooked. In general, these requirements are in place to ensure that the other party in a transaction is aware of the licensee’s status – because the licensee is perceived to have more knowledge and therefore may be able to take advantage of the other party.

Failure to disclose that you are a licensee is a violation of license law that may expose you to penalties up to and including revocation of your license.

Key Requirements

  • Disclosure must be made to all parties when a licensee is selling, leasing or purchasing any interest in real property.
  • Disclosure must be made in writing.
    • You may do so when you first meet or interact with the other party or include the disclosure as part of your written offer.
    • If you include the disclosure on a contract that you submit, avoid adding a small note next to your signature (on the last page). In the past, the IDFPR has suggested that licensees add the required text in large/clear print at the top of the contract to ensure that the receiving party sees it before they review and sign the contract.
  • Disclosure requirements apply to the following parties:
    • Sole owners.
    • Joint tenants and tenants by the entirety.
    • Land trusts.
    • General partners in a partnership.
    • Officers, directors, majority shareholders and controlling shareholders of a corporation.
    • Managers or majority or controlling members of a limited liability company.
    • Anyone else with a direct or indirect interest in the subject property.

Business Entities

It’s noteworthy that licensees often get into trouble when a business entity is involved in the transaction. It’s critical to remember that brokers must disclose their status even when they are not personally a party to the contract. For example, Happy Investments LLC may be the buyer, but if Lucy Licensee is a manager of that LLC, she must still make the required disclosure.

Final Advice

Lastly, although it’s not required by law, it never hurts to also communicate orally to help ensure the other party has received your notice. You may even consider asking for a written acknowledgement of the disclosure.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

Changes to Illinois Mortgage Advertising Rules – Effective Immediately

Tunnel of media, images, photographs. Tv, multimedia broadcast.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed into law the bill known as SB 2615, which amends the Residential Mortgage License Act of 1987 and makes minor changes to advertising requirements. The bill, which passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature unanimously, removes the need for mortgage companies licensed by the IDFPR to use the phrase “Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee” in all advertisements.

As of August 10, 2018, mortgage advertisements in Illinois “must reference the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System’s Consumer Access Website” (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). In addition, all mortgage advertisements must now include the company’s NMLS unique identifier.

Now is a good time for companies to do a thorough review of their advertising policies and procedures to ensure continued compliance with state and federal advertising requirements. As always, MLOs are reminded that social media pages and posts promoting their employment are considered advertisements and must be compliant with all relevant laws. (We’ll discuss this further in our comprehensive CE class this year.)

Thanks to the folks at the Greater Midwest Lenders Association (www.GMLAonline.org) for spearheading this legislative effort to standardize Illinois advertising law with those found in many other states.

Peter


Real Estate Institute offers top-rated Mortgage Loan Originator Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in all three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online, Self-Study. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators covering topics you need to know to navigate today’s ever-changing lending landscape.

Four IDFPR Website Features Every Sponsoring Broker Should Use

Computer_Phone_Notebook_IDFPROver the past few years, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has taken big steps to offer more information and services at its website. The resulting features offer some efficiencies that most real estate sponsoring brokers haven’t yet discovered. Here are four features you should use:

  1. This easy-to-use lookup tool enables consumers, licensees, and others to check the status of a professional license. For sponsoring brokers, it offers these important features:

    • Check to see whether your personal or business license is in good standing. (Look for an “ACTIVE” status.)
    • View a list of all licensees (e.g., Managing Brokers, Brokers, Leasing Agents) who the sponsoring broker currently sponsors. (See the list of “subordinate” licensees.)
    • Using the above list, you can confirm that the sponsored licensees have an “ACTIVE” status. TIP: It’s especially important to do so at the start of a renewal period. It’s not uncommon for licensees to overlook the renewal … and you need to be sure that they are currently licensed to practice.

  2. Use this feature to print an official copy of your license(s). This is especially important for sponsoring brokers, who are still required to display a copy of the license for each sponsored licensee or have licenses available for viewing upon request.

  3. Using the Online Services Portal, individuals and businesses can apply for a new license. This currently includes:

    • Leasing Agent, Broker, and Managing Broker license candidates who recently passed the state exam
    • Pre-License and Continuing Education Instructor candidates
    • Real Estate Businesses, including Corporations and LLCs
    • Real Estate Branch Offices

    New licensee candidates should be encouraged to use this system, which offers faster processing and online payment of the license fee(s).

  4. This is a big one. Now, sponsoring and sponsored licensees can request a change of sponsor without relying on paper forms. This means that it’s no longer necessary to use the 45-day sponsor card and mail in the corresponding form and fees to the state.

    To use this feature, you must create an account and login to the Online Services Portal . Once logged in, click the Online Services menu, then Licensure Options.
    Online Services Menu

    Using this feature to initiate a change of sponsor request will trigger an automated, online process. The terminating sponsoring broker, new sponsoring broker and licensees will all be notified of the request by e-mail. Below is an example of the message a sponsoring broker might receive.

    Four IDFPR Website Features Every Sponsoring Broker Should Use - E-Mail

    The affected licensees will have three days to respond affirmatively. If the required approvals are not provided, the request will be cancelled.

    TIP: Be sure to have your e-mail address on file with the IDFPR. You can provide or update that here.

Follow Real Estate Institute’s blog to be notified when we post more tips and other important information about the regulation of Illinois real estate licensees.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in Illinois real estate education for 25 years. Our students have consistently outperformed other state exam candidates. A reputation for highly rated instructors and superior customer service explains why we have over 150,000 alumni nationwide.

 

Reg Relief a Reality – Now What?

Blue_Sky_CloudsOn May 24, the President signed the Senate bill known as the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155). You may have read a previous article I wrote that summarized the key points in this piece of legislation. However it’s worthwhile to reexamine them here before using a proven scientific method to predict what will happen next in the world of mortgage regulation.

Keep in mind that, while there are some significant provisions in this bill that benefit both consumers and the mortgage industry, the regulatory structure and disclosure regimes you’re used to at the federal level have not been affected. The CFPB is still the CFPB (albeit with a radically different approach to its mission under Acting Director Mulvaney), TRID is still TRID and the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is still 42.

So, without further ado, here are the five parts of this much larger bill that are likely to affect originators and mortgage compliance professionals.

  1. Transitional MLO licensing. Without a doubt, this is the most important change for anyone on the front lines of our business, and one that the Mortgage Bankers Association has been advocating since the SAFE Act went into effect. The provision gives MLOs who work for depositories a 120-day window to originate loans after transitioning to a nonbank while securing their state license, meaning they would not need to lose valuable work time and income fulfilling the licensing provisions before speaking to consumers. This same 120-day grace period will also apply to currently licensed originators who wish to obtain a license in another state. 
  2. A small bank exemption from expanded HMDA reporting. Banks that originate fewer than 500 HELOCs and closed-end mortgages in a year have been exempted from reporting the expanded HMDA data points that went into effect with originations after January 1, 2018. Despite what you may have heard, this does NOT exempt these institutions from Regulation C altogether, merely from reporting the new data points such as disaggregated demographic information. This provision does not make any changes for other institutions, including nonbanks. 
  3. Eliminating the need for an additional 3-day waiting period when the APR decreases. Before you jump for joy at this one, the legislative language applies directly only to High-Cost mortgage loans. Although given the current leadership at the Bureau, it is likely to clarify through regulation or official interpretation that the same provision applies to loans that are not High-Cost as well (the Bureau has taken that position informally since TRID was enacted).

  4. Allowing consumers to freeze their credit reports without cost. This provision is a direct result of the massive Equifax data breach that shook the country in 2017. While credit freezes (that stop anyone from accessing a consumer’s credit file) have been around since the passage of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, there has been a cost associated with them. Removing this cost will likely lead to more consumers placing freezes on their reports (and more MLOs needing to ask clients to unfreeze them to proceed with an application). Under the law, the bureaus are also required to inform consumers that these no-cost freezes are available.

  5. Providing Qualified Mortgage protection to bank portfolio loans. Depository institutions with assets under $10 billion receive QM protection on loans that they retain in portfolio without needing to follow all the documentation requirements in Appendix Q of the Qualified Mortgage rule. Before you start reliving 2007 however, keep in mind that such loans will still require verification of applicant income and assets, comply with prepayment penalty restrictions in the QM rule and not carry any interest-only or negative amortization features.

Where do we go from here?

While Congress is likely done with financial regulatory issues (at least for this session), the CFPB is, of course, under no pre-midterm election pressure. In fact, they’re scheduled to reexamine the QM Rule in 2018 due to the mandatory five-year review period specified in the Dodd-Frank Act. We know through various speaking engagements by Acting Director Mulvaney that this process is likely to lead to significant changes to the rule, although the scope and extent of those changes are not yet known. One of the areas of the rule that seems ripe for change is the 43% Debt-to-Income requirement exemption given to loans eligible for sale to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Remember, this exception is temporary and is currently scheduled to sunset in January 2021. Thus, if not extended or made permanent, Fannie and Freddie loans would begin to be subject to the 43% DTI cap for QMs at that time. This could have a big effect on the marketplace by moving otherwise qualified loans out of the conventional conforming space and into FHA (adding risk to taxpayers), so look for this to be one of the focal points in an amended QM rule.

While we’re on the topic of regulation, remember the United States has a dual regulatory system where both federal and state governments have a say in regulating many financial services entities. It’s very likely that, as the CFPB pulls back on certain regulations, some states will move to continue or tighten them. Thus, compliance managers and MLOs alike need to remain focused on statehouses across the country for potential changes affecting rules in states in which they are licensed. This is especially true if there are leadership changes at the state level as a result of the off-year election results in November.

See you next month!


Peter



Real Estate Institute offers top-rated Mortgage Loan Originator Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in all three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online, Self-Study. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators covering topics you need to know to navigate today’s ever-changing lending landscape.