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CFPB Establishes Application Process to Designate Add'l Areas as “Rural”
Thursday, March 3, 2016 6:20 AM

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday announced an application process for areas not currently deemed “rural” to receive that designation under federal consumer financial law. Under this process, those now outside rural counties or census blocks can apply to be designated as rural and may be eligible for specific exemptions and provisions for certain mortgage lenders. The CFPB will accept applications starting March 31, 2016.

“This step will allow the Bureau to consider whether there are smaller institutions that merit a designation as ‘rural’ lenders but do not qualify under current guidelines,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The Bureau is taking quick action to fulfill our responsibility to Congress and implement the law.”

To request a rural designation by the CFPB, applicants need to identify the area and the state in which it is located. As set out in the application process, they must then provide information that will allow the CFPB to evaluate the application under the parameters of the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities (HELP) Act, passed by Congress in December 2015.

The application process will be open through Dec. 4, 2017.

The HELP Act also amended the Truth in Lending Act and authorized the CFPB to expand eligibility among small rural creditors to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages and for exemptions from the required escrow account for higher-priced mortgage loans. The CFPB will soon issue another notice concerning those amendments.

View the notice submitted the Federal Register.