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Throughout 2015, Board staff continued to work to oversee and implement the enforcement actions against 16 mortgage loan servicers that were issued by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) between April 2011 and April 2012. At the time of the enforcement actions, along with other requirements, the two regulators directed servicers to retain independent consultants to conduct comprehensive reviews of foreclosure activity to determine whether eligible4 borrowers suffered financial injury because of servicer errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies. The file review initiated by the independent consultants, combined with a significant borrower outreach process, was referred to as the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR).
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All servicers were required to submit reports detailing the consumer-relief actions they had taken to satisfy these requirements. The foreclosure prevention assistance actions reported included loan modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, debt cancellation, and lien extinguishment. In order to receive credit toward the servicer's total foreclosure prevention obligation, the actions submitted must be validated by the regulators. As of December 31, 2015, a third party is in the process of completing this validation and ensuring that the foreclosure-prevention assistance amounts meet the requirements of the amendments to the enforcement actions.
Given the complexity of this area of supervision, the Federal Reserve seeks to provide clarity on its perspectives and processes to the industry and the public. Fair Lending and UDAP Enforcement staff meet regularly with consumer advocates, supervised institutions, and industry representatives to discuss fair lending and UDAP issues and receive feedback. Through this outreach, the Board is able to address emerging fair lending and UDAP issues and promote sound fair lending and UDAP compliance. For example, in 2015, the Board sponsored a free interagency webinar on fair lending supervision through Compliance Outlook Live, which was attended by more than 6,000 registrants, most of which were community banks.8 In addition, DCCA staff participate in numerous meetings, conferences, and trainings sponsored by consumer advocates, industry representatives, and interagency groups.
The enactment of two statutes, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, requires the federal financial institution supervisory agencies to update certain provisions of the federal flood insurance regulations. To that end, the Board and four other federal agencies issued a final rule in July 2015 to incorporate provisions regarding the escrow of flood insurance payments, and the forced placement of flood insurance (see "Consumer Laws and Regulations" later in this section). To assist lenders in understanding and complying with these new regulations, the Federal Reserve hosted in October 2015 an interagency webinar, attended by over 5,000 participants, entitled "Interagency Flood Insurance Regulation Update." The agencies continue work to finalize additional regulations to implement provisions of these statutes related to lenders' acceptance of private flood insurance.
In July 2015, the Board, along with the Farm Credit Administration, the FDIC, the NCUA, and the OCC jointly issued a final rule to amend regulations pertaining to loans secured by residential improved real estate or mobile homes located in special flood hazard areas.20 The rule implements provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters Act) relating to forced placement of flood insurance and provisions of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) relating to escrowing flood insurance payments and the exemption of certain detached structures from the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement. HFIAA amends the escrow provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act.