Compliance Q&A


Condo Projects

Q: Given today’s volatile mortgage rates, what is the correct date to use to determine the average prime offer rate in order to run proper compliance tests for APR purposes?

Answer: 

The relevant date to use to determine the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction is the date on which the interest rate was set by the financial institution for the final time before final action is taken (i.e., the application was approved but not accepted or the covered loan was originated).

i. Rate-lock agreement. If an interest rate is set pursuant to a “lock-in” agreement between the financial institution and the borrower, then the date on which the agreement fixes the interest rate is the date the rate was set. Except as provided in comment 4(a)(12)-5.ii, if a rate is reset after a lock-in agreement is executed (for example, because the borrower exercises a float-down option or the agreement expires), then the relevant date is the date the financial institution exercises discretion in setting the rate for the final time before final action is taken. The same rule applies when a rate-lock agreement is extended and the rate is reset at the same rate, regardless of whether market rates have increased, decreased, or remained the same since the initial rate was set. If no lock-in agreement is executed, then the relevant date is the date on which the institution sets the rate for the final time before final action is taken.

ii. Change in loan program. If a financial institution issues a rate-lock commitment under one loan program, the borrower subsequently changes to another program that is subject to different pricing terms, and the financial institution changes the rate promised to the borrower under the rate-lock commitment accordingly, the rate-set date is the date of the program change. However, if the financial institution changes the promised rate to the rate that would have been available to the borrower under the new program on the date of the original rate-lock commitment, then that is the date the rate is set, provided the financial institution consistently follows that practice in all such cases or the original rate-lock agreement so provided. For example, assume that a borrower locks a rate of 2.5 percent on June 1 for a 30-year, variable-rate loan with a five-year, fixed-rate introductory period. On June 15, the borrower decides to switch to a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, and the rate available to the borrower for that product on June 15 is 4.0 percent. On June 1, the 30-year, fixed-rate loan would have been available to the borrower at a rate of 3.5 percent. If the financial institution offers the borrower the 3.5 percent rate (i.e., the rate that would have been available to the borrower for the fixed-rate product on June 1, the date of the original rate-lock) because the original agreement so provided or because the financial institution consistently follows that practice for borrowers who change loan programs, then the financial institution should use June 1 as the rate-set date. In all other cases, the financial institution should use June 15 as the rate-set date.

iii. Brokered loans. When a financial institution has reporting responsibility for an application for a covered loan that it received from a broker, as discussed in comment 4(a)-2 (e.g., because the financial institution makes a credit decision prior to closing or account opening), the rate-set date is the last date the financial institution set the rate with the broker, not the date the broker set the borrower’s rate.

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