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Posts published by “Ralph T. Wutscher”

Ralph Wutscher's practice focuses primarily on representing consumer and commercial financial services companies, including depository and non-depository mortgage lenders and servicers, as well as mortgage loan investors, financial asset buyers and sellers, loss mitigation companies, third-party debt collectors, and other financial services providers. He represents the lending and financial services industry as a litigator, and as regulatory compliance counsel. For more information, see https://mauricewutscher.com/attorneys/ralph-t-wutscher/

Jury Finds Mortgage Lender, CEO Liable for Almost $93 Million in FHA Fraud Case in Texas

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found a mortgage lender and its president and CEO liable for almost $93 million in connection with alleged violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), before application of the trebling and per violation penalties afforded under the statutes. The alleged violations occurred in connection with the lender’s participation in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program. A copy of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) press release is available at:  Link to Press…

FCC Denies MBA’s Petition to Exempt ‘Servicing Calls’ from TCPA

The Federal Communications Commission recently denied the national Mortgage Bankers Association’s petition for exemption from the “prior express consent” requirement of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for certain mortgage servicing calls and texts. A copy of the FCC’s Order denying the petition is available at:  Link to FCC Order. As you may recall, the TCPA and the FCC’s implementing rules prohibit autodialed calls and texts “to wireless telephone numbers and other specified recipients except when made: (1) for an emergency purpose; (2) solely to collect a ‘debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States’; (3) with the prior express…

CFPB Uses UDAAP in FDCPA-Like $28.5M Consent Order Against Depository Institution

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently entered into a $28.5 million Consent Order with a depository institution for alleged violations of the “unfair, deceptive, or abusive” acts or practices provisions of 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531 and 5536 relating to the depository institution’s collection of its delinquent accounts. A copy of the Consent Order is available at:  Link to Consent Order. Among other things, the alleged “unfair, deceptive, or abusive” acts or practices included: ▪ Threatening legal action the depository institution did not intend to take. As you may recall, it is a violation of the federal Fair Debt…

Consumer Financial Services Conference Set for Sept. 15-16, Early Registration Ends July 30

July 26, 2016 — The Annual Consumer Financial Services Conference organized by The Conference on Consumer Finance Law will be held Sept. 15-16 at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The early registration discount ends July 30. The conference will include presentations on the latest developments in consumer financial services law, including mortgage lending and servicing, bankruptcy and debt collection. Several Maurice Wutscher attorneys will speak at the conference. Donald Maurice will discuss attorney ethics and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Eric Rosenkoetter will speak on state regulation of the debt buying industry. Conference attendees will also hear…

FCC Rules TCPA Does Not Apply to Official Calls Made by Feds or Federal Contractors

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently clarified “that the TCPA does not apply to calls made by or on behalf of the federal government in the conduct of official government business, except when a call made by a contractor does not comply with the government’s instructions.” A copy of the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling 16-72 is available at:  Link to Declaratory Ruling. As you may recall from our prior update, Congress amended the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 to allow autodialed calls “made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the…

CFPB Issues Supervisory Report Addressing ‘Unfair’ Coding Errors, Other Issues

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued its “Supervisory Highlights – Issue 12, Summer 2016” report, focusing attention on automobile origination, debt collection, mortgage origination, small dollar lending, fair lending, and remedial actions, reflecting supervisory activity generally completed between January 2016 and April 2016. The CFPB reported deficiencies in Compliance Management Systems and other software-related systems in various industries.  The Bureau also emphasized the ECOA “special purpose credit programs” found at various lenders, noting that it “generally takes a favorable view of conscientious efforts that institutions may undertake to develop special purpose credit programs to promote extensions of…

SCOTUS Denies Cert in 2nd Cir. Case Holding Debt Collector Could Not Charge Usurious Fees, Interest Allowed for Bank Originator

As you may recall from our prior updates, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently reversed a district court’s ruling that federal National Bank Act preemption applicable to the loan originator allowed a non-bank consumer debt buyer to charge interest in excess of state usury limits. In so ruling, the Second Circuit noted that, “[a]lthough it is possible that usury laws might decrease the amount a national bank could charge for its consumer debt in certain states (i.e., those with firm usury limits, like New York), such an effect would not ‘significantly interfere’ with the exercise of…

NY Enacts Law Affecting Mandatory Foreclosure Settlement Conferences, Pre-Foreclosure Maintenance of Vacant Properties

On June 23, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed S8159 into law, which among other things contains provisions relating to: Mandatory settlement conferences in residential foreclosures. The new law modifies New York’s mandatory settlement conference provisions for residential mortgage foreclosures to among other things allow courts to sanction mortgagees up to $25,000 and award attorney fees in favor of the borrower for non-compliance, clarifies that the failure to offer or accept an offer is not sufficient to establish lack of good faith participation, and allows borrowers who participate in settlement conferences to have defaults vacated. A pre-foreclosure duty for mortgagees to…

CFPB Report Emphasizes Servicer Loss Mitigation Errors, Technology Systems, Training Deficiencies

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued its “Supervisory Highlights – Mortgage Servicing – Special Edition” (Issue 11), addressing examination issues reportedly found as to loss mitigation acknowledgement notices, loss mitigation offers and related communications, loan modification denial notices, servicer policies and procedures, and servicing transfers. Of note, the Supervisory Highlights also addresses the CFPB’s approach to mortgage servicing examinations, including as to recent changes to the mortgage servicing chapter of the CFPB Supervision and Examination Manual. A copy of report is available at: Link to Report. The CFPB summarized its findings as follows: Outdated and deficient servicing…

FCC Issues NPRM as to Calls ‘Made Solely to Collect a Debt Owed to or Guaranteed by the United States’

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding recent amendments to the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), seeking comment on among other things: (1) which calls are covered by the phrase “solely to collect” under the amendments; (2) the meaning of the phrase “a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States” in the amendments; (3) how the FCC should restrict the number and duration of covered calls; (4) whether consumers should have a right to stop covered calls at any point the consumer wishes; and (5) whether callers should be required…

Consumer Financial Services Conference Slated for Sept. 15-16 in Chicago

The Annual Consumer Financial Services Conference organized by The Conference on Consumer Finance Law will be held Sept. 15-16 at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The conference will include presentations on the latest developments in consumer financial services law, including mortgage lending and servicing, bankruptcy and debt collection. Twelve CLE credits will be provided, including one hour of Ethics. The fee is $495 for those who register before July 31. For more information, click here.

CFPB Reopens Comment Period on ‘Periodic Statements in Bankruptcy’ Mortgage Servicing Amendments

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently reopened the comment period for its proposed amendments to the mortgage servicing related rules under RESPA and TILA that generally would require servicers to provide modified periodic statements to consumers who have filed for bankruptcy. The full announcement is available at:  Link to Announcement. As you may recall, in December 2014, the CFPB published for notice and comment a proposed rule that among other things would require mortgage servicers to provide certain modified periodic statements to consumers in bankruptcy (subject to specific exceptions), with different disclosures and notices required for different types of…