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CFPB Seeks to Address PACE Financing Rules

On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing.

The rule will address the direction given to the bureau on PACE financing under the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA) that was signed into law in May 2018, CFPB said in a statement.

“Today’s action is the next step in the Bureau’s efforts to implement the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act as expeditiously as possible,” said Kathleen L. Kraninger, Director, CFPB. “I look forward to reviewing the comments in response to the questions we are asking to facilitate the required rulemaking.”

Through the ANPR, the consumer watchdog is seeking information on written materials associated with PACE financing transactions, current standards and practices in PACE financing originations, civil liability under Truth in Lending Act (TILA) for violations of the Ability to Repay (ATR) requirements related to PACE financing as well as rescission and borrower delinquency and default, unique features of PACE, and potential implications of regulating PACE financing under TILA.

According to the ANPR, PACE financing has been defined in the EGRRCPA as “financing to cover the costs of home improvements that result in a tax assessment on the real property of the consumer.” The law also directs CFPB to prescribe regulations that achieve two purposes on PACE financing, the CFPB said.

The first objective is to carry out the purpose of TILA’s existing ATR requirements even for PACE financing. The existing ATR requirements prohibit creditors from making a residential mortgage loan unless they make a “reasonable and good faith determination” based on verified and documented information on the consumer’s ability to repay that mortgage. The ATR requirement is “to assure that consumers are offered and receive residential mortgage loans on terms that reasonably reflect their ability to repay the loans and that are understandable and not unfair, deceptive, or abusive.”

The second objective, according to the CFPB relates to the regulations implementing EGRRCPA’s section 307 must apply TILA’s general civil liability provision for violations of the ATR rules that will apply to PACE financing. “That provision sets forth damages for TILA violations generally, as well as specific penalties for violations of the current ATR requirements.”

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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