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Modifications to the California Homeowner Bill of Rights

On January 1, 2018, certain provisions of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (“HBOR”) expired.  But contrary to what many assumed, the January 1, 2018 expiration date did not apply to all of the HBOR’s provisions, and many provisions have been replaced by new regulations.  We’ve prepared the below summary of some of the substantial changes to the law and how they will affect HBOR litigation in the future.

  • The new HBOR removes many of the distinctions between servicers conducting more/less than 175 annual foreclosures.  In most but not all respects, all servicers are treated the same going forward.
  • Changes in the private right of action/relief.
    • The HBOR still has a private cause of action, but only for material violations of section 2923.5 (pre-NOD notice requirements), 2923.7 (single point of contact), 2924.11 (dual tracking), and 2924.17 (accuracy of NOD declaration; substantiate right to foreclose).
    • Injunctive relief is available prior to the recording of a trustee’s deed.  After a trustee’s deed is recorded, a servicer may be liable for actual economic damage and the greater of treble or actual damages for material violations that are intentional or reckless.  Attorney’s fees are still available if the borrower prevails.
    • However, mortgage servicers who have engaged in “multiple and repeated uncorrected violations” of section 2924.17 are no longer liable for a $7,500 penalty.
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Wow! The Fed responds to comments from Community Banks on Basel III

While the final Basel III capital rules have not been published at the time of this post, it was clear from this morning’s comments at the meeting of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System that community banks have been heard. Highlights from the meeting include the following positions of the Federal Reserve on the Basel III rules.

  •  AOCI – Non-internationally active financial institutions (i.e., all community banks) will be allowed a one-time option to opt out of the inclusion of accumulated other comprehensive income in Tier 1 regulatory capital. This opt-out option will ease the potential burden on community banks from incorporating fluctuations in the value of their available for sale securities portfolio in their regulatory capital calculations. We view this as a big win for community banks.
  • Mortgage Loan Risk-Weighting – Many community banks expressed a great deal of concern with the proposed risk weighting of residential mortgage loans, which was based on loan-to-value ratios and certain other features, including whether or not the loan had a balloon feature. In response to those comments, the final Basel III rule will contain no changes to the current risk weighting of residential mortgage loans. While this is a nice win for banks and borrowers, the separate qualified mortgage rules will likely impact mortgage lending in the future.
  • Trust Preferred Securities – The final Basel III rules will grandfather the eligibility of trust preferred securities to qualify as Tier 1 capital for bank holding companies with less than $15 billion in total consolidated assets. This change will obviate the need for many community banks to raise capital through the issuance of common equity to replace the Tier 1 capital previously provided by the issuance of trust preferred securities.

While the written rule will undoubtedly contain a great deal of additional clarifications, the early comments from the meeting of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System indicate that the rally of community banks against certain aspects of the Basel III rules was very successful. We will publish more analysis as we digest the final rules.

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