22 May Connecticut Legislative Update
Connecticut House Bill 7141
The Connecticut legislature recently amended its laws related to mortgage servicing, effective July 1, 2018.
No mortgage servicer shall, directly or indirectly:
- Employ any scheme, device or artifice to defraud or mislead borrowers or mortgagees or to defraud any person;
- Engage in any unfair or deceptive practice toward any person or misrepresent or omit any material information in connection with the servicing of the residential mortgage loan, including, but not limited to, misrepresenting the amount, nature or terms of any fee or payment due or claimed to be due on a residential mortgage loan, the terms and conditions of the servicing agreement or the borrower’s obligations under the residential mortgage loan;
- Obtain property by fraud or misrepresentation;
- Recklessly apply residential mortgage loan payments or knowingly misapply residential mortgage loan payments to the outstanding balance of a residential mortgage loan;
- Recklessly apply payments or knowingly misapply payments to escrow accounts;
- Place hazard, homeowners or flood insurance on the mortgaged property when the mortgage servicer knew or should have known that the borrower has an effective policy for such insurance;
- Fail to comply with requests for payoff statements or reinstatement payment statements;
- Knowingly or recklessly provide inaccurate information to a credit bureau that results in harm to a borrower’s creditworthiness;
- Fail to report both the favorable and unfavorable payment history of the borrower to a nationally recognized consumer credit bureau at least annually if the mortgage servicer regularly reports information to a credit bureau;
- Collect private mortgage insurance beyond the date for which private mortgage insurance is required;
- Fail to issue a release of mortgage as required by law;
- Fail to provide written notice to a borrower upon taking action to place hazard, homeowners or flood insurance on the mortgaged property, including a clear and conspicuous statement of the procedures by which the borrower may demonstrate that he or she has the required insurance coverage and by which the mortgage servicer will terminate the insurance coverage placed by it and refund or cancel any insurance premiums and related fees paid by or charged to the borrower;
- Place hazard, homeowners or flood insurance on a mortgaged property, or require a borrower to obtain or maintain such insurance, in excess of the replacement cost of the improvements on the mortgaged property as established by the property insurer;
- Fail to provide to the borrower a refund of unearned premiums paid by a borrower or charged to the borrower for hazard, homeowners or flood insurance placed by a mortgagee or the mortgage servicer if the borrower provides reasonable proof that the borrower has obtained coverage such that the forced placement insurance is no longer necessary and the property is insured. If the borrower provides reasonable proof that no lapse in coverage occurred such that the forced placement was not necessary, the mortgage servicer must promptly refund the entire premium;
- Require any amount of funds to be remitted by means more costly to the borrower than a bank or certified check or attorney’s check from an attorney’s account to be paid by the borrower;
- Refuse to communicate with an authorized representative of the borrower who provides a written authorization signed by the borrower, provided the mortgage servicer may adopt procedures reasonably related to verifying that the representative is in fact authorized to act on behalf of the borrower;
- Conduct any mortgage servicing without holding a valid license as, or assist or aid and abet any person in the conduct of business without a valid license as required;
- Negligently make any false statement or knowingly and willfully make any omission of a material fact in connection with any information or reports filed with a governmental agency or the system or in connection with any investigation conducted by the Connecticut Banking Commissioner or another governmental agency; or
- Collect, charge, attempt to collect or charge or use or propose any agreement purporting to collect or charge any prohibited fee.
Mortgage servicers must establish, enforce and maintain policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the above provisions, and qualifying individual or branch managers for such mortgage servicer must enforce such policies and procedures. No violation will be found unless the mortgage servicer, qualifying individual or branch manager’s failure to establish, enforce or maintain policies and procedures resulted in conduct in violation of the above provisions or rules or regulations adopted under these provisions or any other state or federal law, including the rules and regulations thereunder, applicable to any business authorized or conducted under the mortgage servicing laws.