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Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Author: Ed Mierzwinski

Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

202-461-3821

Started on staff: 1977
B.A., M.S., University of Connecticut

Ed oversees U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program, helping to lead national efforts to improve consumer credit reporting laws, identity theft protections, product safety regulations and more. Ed is co-founder and continuing leader of the coalition, Americans For Financial Reform, which fought for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, including as its centerpiece the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was awarded the Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award in 2006, Privacy International's Brandeis Award in 2003, and numerous annual "Top Lobbyist" awards from The Hill and other outlets. Ed lives in Virginia, and on weekends he enjoys biking with friends on the many local bicycle trails.

It's a big week for homebuyers and homeowners. CFPB has issued new rules and also rolled out new tools for consumers to take advantage of the rule protections.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rich Cordray appears on The Daily Show tonight Wednesday, 8 January to talk about the CFPB's new mortgage lending and servicing rules that take effect Friday. The new rules give you new rights and better protections. He also spoke to realtors yesterday and will brief housing counselors at a training in Phoenix on Friday.

Director Cordray has often stated that the CFPB wants to give homebuyers and homeowners a marketplace with "No debt traps, no surprises and no run-arounds." That's the intent of the rules.

The rules (pdf summary) address both home-buying and homeownership issues (mortgage servicing, the threat of foreclosure, etc.) and should go a long way toward preventing another mortgage meltdown, like the one that occurred in a largely unregulated mortgage marketplace and led to tragic outcomes for millions of homeowners followed by the collapse of our economy back in 2007-2008.

Highlights:

  • Consumers will get more information and more protection when shopping for a loan and during home ownership.
  • Lenders will be required to make a “good faith, reasonable effort” to make sure you can repay your loan.
  • Loan officers and brokers will now have to follow rules that protect consumers from conflicts of interest.
  • Consumers will receive periodic mortgage statement that put important information about monthly payments in one place.
  • Servicers must, under certain circumstances, reach out to borrowers having trouble making mortgage payments and help them apply for the options available to them to avoid foreclosure.

The CFPB has also set up a new web page with many self-help tools to help homebuyers and homeowners protect themselves.

  • File a mortgage complaint
  • Find a housing counselor in their area
  • Get answers to mortgage-related questions
  • Read tips for homebuyers and homeowners
  • Download a guide for housing counselors

Most elements of the new rules were required by the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The CFPB worked hard to get them completed on time. CFPB has invested a great deal of resources into developing tools to help homeowners, too.

Finally, CFPB has also rolled out a "Fact vs. Fiction" fact sheet (PDF) countering a lot of mis-information about the new Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage rules. Excerpt:

5. Fiction: The new rule requires 20 percent or 30 percent down payments for new mortgages, which will price many borrowers out of the market.
Fact: The Ability-to-Repay Rule and Qualified Mortgage guidelines do not establish a minimum down payment.

Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Author: Ed Mierzwinski

Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

202-461-3821

Started on staff: 1977
B.A., M.S., University of Connecticut

Ed oversees U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program, helping to lead national efforts to improve consumer credit reporting laws, identity theft protections, product safety regulations and more. Ed is co-founder and continuing leader of the coalition, Americans For Financial Reform, which fought for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, including as its centerpiece the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was awarded the Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award in 2006, Privacy International's Brandeis Award in 2003, and numerous annual "Top Lobbyist" awards from The Hill and other outlets. Ed lives in Virginia, and on weekends he enjoys biking with friends on the many local bicycle trails.