The North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks (NCCOB) issues this bulletin to remind all lenders and brokers that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits kickbacks and referral fees and describes the risks posed by entering into marketing services agreements (MSAs).
Section 8(a) of RESPA prohibits the giving or accepting of “any fee, kickback or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.” RESPA does not include a de minimis amount of value, so costs considered nominal are not excludable from this regulation.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued the below Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) discussing RESPA and Regulation X compliance and Marketing Services Agreements, and the NCCOB encourages its licensees to review the FAQs to ensure compliance with RESPA and any MSAs with providers, including but not limited to real estate agents or brokers.
**post amended to reflect the October 7, 2020 rescission by the CFPB of the 2015-05 Compliance Bulletin.
The pandemic has renewed conversations about remote work in the Mortgage Industry. Although N.C. General Statute §§ 53-244.030(4) and (26) do not allow a principal office or branch office to be located at an individual’s home or residence, they do not prohibit a mortgage loan originator from working remotely. However, licensees are reminded that business records and files must be maintained at a principal office or licensed branch. The licensee, and its employees, remain responsible for safeguarding all consumer information and ensuring effective oversight of business activities.
All mortgage licensees and registrants must request renewal through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) between November 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, if they wish to retain their license to conduct business in North Carolina through 2021.
Leading up to renewal, licensees should review their NMLS record to ensure there are no outstanding license items. Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) must complete eight (8) hours of continuing education and should review their fingerprint expiration date on the NMLS Composite View screen. Fingerprints expire after three (3) years.
During the renewal request, MLOs will need to authorize a new credit report and criminal background check. NMLS can use the existing fingerprints on file if they are not expired. FBI regulations require individuals to provide new fingerprints when requesting a new criminal background check if previously submitted fingerprints are more than three (3) years old. Since there may be pandemic-related delays, MLOs should take action as soon as possible to update fingerprints if they will be expiring prior to their renewal request. If expired fingerprints are on file, a renewal request CANNOT be submitted through the NMLS system by North Carolina MLOs.
****The North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks is issuing a correction regarding timeline extensions for reporting. The MCR Q1 2020 and NCCOB Online Mortgage Data Upload reports are extended from May 15, 2020 to JUNE 14, 2020.***
The North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks (NCCOB) recognizes the serious impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on consumers and the operations of many licensees. To provide flexibility with administrative burdens, the NCCOB is extending the 2020 Q1 reporting deadlines for regulated mortgage entities that cannot meet the original deadlines for the following reports:
- MCR Q1 2020 report is extended from May 15, 2020 to June 14, 2020
- MCR Standard Financial Condition and Financial Statement deadlines are extended from 90 days from the end of the company’s fiscal year to 120 days from the end of the company’s fiscal year
- NCCOB Online Mortgage Data Upload is extended from May 15, 2020 to June 14, 2020
License items in the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) will be updated to reflect these extensions. The NCCOB encourages licensees to meet the reporting deadlines whenever possible.
Temporary Authority to Operate is part of a new section added to the federal SAFE Act by the passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (12 USC § 5117). The new provision streamlines the license application process for federally registered mortgage loan originators (MLOs) seeking state licensure and state-licensed MLOs seeking licensure in another state. It will allow qualified MLOs who are changing employment temporary authority to originate loans while completing certain state-specific requirements. Temporary Authority to Operate takes effect November 24, 2019. With this change, North Carolina will continue to offer transitional MLO licenses in limited circumstances. For additional information on the MLO qualifications and other specifications of the provision, please visit the following link to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry Resource Center: https://nationwidelicensingsystem.org/slr/common/Pages/Temporary-Authority-to-Operate.aspx