Welcome to the CMA's News Site. Here you'll find great updates on legal and regulatory issues that you need to be aware of.
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  • Wednesday, August 26, 2015 10:36 AM | Anonymous

    GREAT NEWS! CMA Members will receive a discount through Dares for their 2016 Continuing Education class! Members will be emailed the promo code so be sure your membership is up to date!


    LIVE CE Course for 2016 Renewal


    This course satisfies the requirements set forth by the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act for a comprehensive 8-hour continuing education course for mortgage loan originators. CT SAFE Comprehensive: Relevant Practices for the MLO covers topics required by the SAFE Act: (3hrs) of federal law, (2hrs) of ethics (which shall include fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues), and (2 hrs) of non-traditional mortgage lending, includes (1 hr) of Connecticut Law. (NMLS approved course ID# 5393)

    Course fee includes textbook and NMLS course upload fees. 
    Total cost: $169.00

    • NMLS’ agreement with the FBI that permits NMLS to hold and reuse existing prints prohibits the use of fingerprint records that are more than three years old.  
    • For additional information on the criminal background requirements and procedures, as well as educational requirementsfor each state click here: NMLS RESOURCE CENTER

    8 Hour CT SAFE Comprehensive:

    Relevant Practices for the MLO

    CT licensed MLOs are now required to take 1 hour of CT law for renewal.  


    Taking this course fulfills the national 8-hour requirement and the CT 1 hour.  
    Surrounding states may have additional requirements.

    No need to take 8 + 1 hours for your CT license <<--

    Bring your questions to this face-to-face, LIVE and in-person continuing education experience. 


    Attorney Wendy Bernard has more than 20 years experience in the mortgage banking industry, inclusive of 10 years experience as regulatory compliance counsel to lenders, brokers and mortgage loan originators. Advises clients on matters pertaining to Federal and State banking law and regulation, licensing and qualification under the S.A.F.E. Act, and develop strategies for a vast array of mortgage banking/brokering transactions to ensure compliance.


    The course is co-taught by Carl Bulgini.  Carl is co-founder of Fenwick Mortgage and has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years.  He has been writing courses and instructing for The Dares Institute since 2005, and has wide experience in lecturing and instructing pre-licensing and CE in the finance, mortgage and real estate professions.


    Dates and locations:

    Tuesday: 9/15/2015 - Luigi's Restaurant, Old Saybrook

    Thursday: 9/24/2015 - Office Suites of Darien

    Thursday: 10/15/2015 - Rocky Hill, CTCPA Education Center

    Tuesday: 10/20/2015 -  Holiday Inn, Danbury

    Tuesday: 10/27/2015 - Best Western, North Haven

    Click here to choose your session and register 

    Online course does not include the CT law portion

    TDI The Dares Institute

    PO Box 4259

    Stamford, CT  06907



  • Tuesday, October 07, 2014 1:00 PM | Anonymous


    A Report from NAMB National

    September 13-15, 2014

    By Wendy Bernard


    What happened in Vegas at NAMB West was so exciting that it can’t stay in Vegas, but instead must be shared every single CMA Member! Now, I must confess this was my first time to Vegas and in addition to the conference, the town was buzzing because it was the scheduled weekend for the Floyd Mayweather fight; but what was really thrilling was the over 2000 attendees and to be a part of the positive energy that permeated the conference, demonstrating that mortgage professionals are here to stay and are clearly among the most resilient people in business today.   It was terrific to walk through the exhibit hall and reconnect with NAMB members, lenders and brokers alike celebrating NAMB’s 40 Years as a professional advocate for the mortgage industry.

    In addition to attending NAMB council and delegate meetings, I learned a great deal from many industry visionaries discussing key topics in many of the standing room only break-out sessions.  These sessions ran the gamut from Realtors® discussing innovative networking and collaboration strategies (RESPA Compliant of course); compliance professionals discussing the need to establish robust Compliance Management Systems (CMS) and how brokers can comply with the new regulations in a manner that makes sense for the size and scope of their company and respective operations; tips on running a successful mortgage company in challenging market conditions; opportunities in the non-QM mortgage marketplace; tips, secrets and techniques of successful mortgage loan originators, including expansion in online marketing and strategic relationships with borrowers and referral sources; and that was just day one!

    I also learned that the average mortgage professional is 55 years old with over 20 years in the business.   NAMB is focused on building on the new energy of the industry to bring in the new generation of mortgage professionals to continue to innovate and revolutionize the industry.  Recruiting concepts included best use of social media and gamification to expand opportunities for a new generation of mortgage professional.

    Being a compliance attorney, I was also thrilled to hear directly from the CFPB on issues such as the new GFE/TILA integration rules, as well as the mini-correspondence business model.  One take-away to industry was that the CFPB is not seeking to dismantle opportunities under the mini-correspondent model, but instead cautions brokers to understand its full operational and compliance requirements if considering the mini-correspondence business model.  Incidentally, the CFPB’s representative was Brian Webster, Originations Program Manager and former mortgage loan originator.  Jim Dunkerly, President of FirstFunding also described the ways in which wholesale lenders support the broker community and confirmed the CFPB’s support for both the broker and mini-correspondent channels.  Overall, NAMB National was a positive experience and everyone seemed to agree that it was indeed an extraordinary event.

    I am grateful to have represented the Connecticut Chapter of NAMB, the Connecticut Mortgage Association (CMA).  I encourage you to join the voices that advocate for your business.  Don’t stay home and complain, fight for the business you believe in.  Participate and be a part of the change you want in the industry.  As we say in the CMA, the more members…the louder the voice!


    Wendy Bernard is the Organization Counsel for The Connecticut Association of Mortgage Professionals, a Director of Compliance at Lenders Compliance Group, and the Managing Partner at The Bernard Law Group. For more information contact Wendy Bernard at or 203-805-4521.


  • Thursday, September 04, 2014 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The Consumer Credit Report:  To Share or Not to Share?

    Article By: Wendy Bernard | CMA Board Member


    That is certainly a question I here all the time, and the answer is a definite “maybe”.

    So you pulled credit for a mortgage applicant and the client wants to see her credit report.  Do you:

    • A.      Say, “I would love to show it to you but it’s against the law to do so.”

    • B.      Say, “I would love to show it to you but it’s against my company policy to do so.”

    • C.      Say, “Sure, I would be happy to show you your credit report!”…and then provide the report directly to the client.

    If you answered “A”: Well, “A” is definitely the wrong answer, but I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard that response.  The sharing of a consumer credit report with the subject of the report is covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.) (FCRA).  For example, when a consumer is denied credit, Section 607 (c) of FCRA specifically states that, “A consumer reporting agency may not prohibit a user of a consumer report furnished by the agency on a consumer from disclosing the contents of the report to the consumer,…”  The 2011 Federal Trade Commission’s Staff Report (FTC’s Staff Report), “40 Years of Experience with the Fair Credit Reporting Act”, clarifies as follows: User May Disclose Report to Consumer: The FCRA does not prohibit a consumer report user from providing a copy of the report, or otherwise disclosing it or any item or items of information in it (or any score based on the information), to the consumer who is the subject of the report.  The FTC’s Staff Report also states that “A consumer report user does not become a CRA by regularly giving a copy of the report, or otherwise disclosing it, to the consumer who is the subject of the report (or the consumer’s representative), because it is not disclosing the information to a “third party.”

    If you answered “B”: then you must defer to your company’s policy.  The sharing of the credit report with the consumer who is the subject of the report under FCRA is permissive, and not mandatory.  Notice, the operative word in the first paragraph above is “May”.   In other words, while FCRA permits you to share the credit report with the consumer as described in this writing, FCRA does not mandate such sharing.  FCRA also does not require a user of consumer reports to explain the report to the consumer, or to disclose credit scores after the loan has closed, or to provide more than one credit related disclosure per loan transaction.  FCRA does mandate disclosure of certain credit related information to the consumer, such as the credit score used by the lender in its approval, declination, counteroffer or risk based pricing decision. 

    If you answered “C”: your sharing of the credit report with your client is permitted under FCRA and the FTC’s Staff Report and the consumer will certainly appreciate the gesture.  However, you must defer to your company’s policies regarding disclosure, handling and protection of the consumer’s credit report.   Remember, companies are held accountable for their respective compliance rules and must establish compliance management systems that reflect their interpretation and understanding of the laws and regulations governing their business practices.  Furthermore, sharing of the consumer’s credit report with third parties is strictly prohibited except with those with a permissible purpose under FCRA.   FCRA was enacted to (1) prevent the misuse of sensitive consumer information by limiting recipients to those who have a legitimate need for it; (2) improve the accuracy and integrity of consumer reports; and (3) promote the efficiency of the nation’s banking and consumer credit systems.” (FTC’s Staff Report). FCRA is enforced by the FTC, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and State law.

    This information is provided for informational purposes for CMA members and does not constitute legal advice to any party in any manner.  Wendy Bernard is Counsel to the CMA; Managing Partner at The Bernard Law Group: Director of Compliance at Lenders Compliance Group; contact Wendy at 203.805.4521 or



  • Tuesday, August 05, 2014 2:50 PM | Anonymous



     Article By: Kenneth Campbell


    I was recently asked by CMA to participate in a Delegate Council conference call with NAMB officers. The purpose of the call was to represent Connecticut on the call and hear progress reports on the committee chairs areas of responsibility, goals, and progress towards those goals.

     The call was 90 minutes and I was blown away by the amount of effort these volunteers contribute to their NAMB duties. Most interesting to me was the Government Affairs committee report, chaired by Rick Bettencourt of Massachusetts.

    The big  topic with Government Affairs is their relationship with the CFPB. The good news is that there is one! 

    The call in which I participated occurred on July 18 and the week before, several NAMB officers had a meeting with CFPB representatives. The CFPB is interested in hearing from the brokerage community, and they agreed to schedule another meeting with NAMB officers in 60 to 90 days and to allow 5 hours for that meeting!

    The major issue of discussion at the July meeting was the 3% rule. CFPB made no commitment to review the rule but at least they listened. This is a major change in attitude that those of you who witnessed the implementation of the LO Compensation rule will recognize.

    Also discussed were two areas that the CFPB is reviewing. This is not to say that a rule change is imminent; only that they are looking at these issues. There was a public comment period that ended in early July and NAMB submitted comments.

    The two areas are cost to cure penalties for violating the 3% of loan costs rule and cost to cure penalties for exceeding the 43% DTI limit. Apparently, there have been instances where, in a post close audit, those numbers have exceeded the allowable limits. I asked Rick under what circumstances does the calculation of a 43% DTI exceed that level at a future date? His response was that income calculations, for example, might be calculated differently by two different underwriters or there might be a simple mathematical error in a calculation.  (I’m not sure how that happens with today’s electronic LOS applications, but that’s what he said.) As I said at the outset, the fact that the CFPB is looking at these things should not lead to the conclusion that there is a new rule coming down the pike.

    The take away from this is that NAMB is working hard to influence the CFPB.  You would not be reading this column if you are not somehow related to this industry and I’m sure you also recognize it is in your best interests to have this kind of visibility.  Together with the CMA lobbyist in Hartford, both groups are representing you in their respective governmental seats. If you are not a member of either, consider joining. One of the first questions we are asked by government representatives is how many members do you have? They want to know the size of the constituency they are talking to (substitute the word “size” with “votes.”) Both NAMB and CMA would like to give the biggest number that they can.





  • Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:09 AM | Anonymous
    By National Mortgage News

    Home prices will increase at a much slower rate in 2014 as investors become less aggressive and more homeowners put their houses up for sale, according to Bank of the West chief economist Scott Anderson.
    The chief economist says a lot of potential sellers have been watching the run-up in prices and are waiting for the right time to sell their homes. “If they see that softening in home prices, I think you will see more potential sellers jump into the market,” says Anderson. “That would make for a more balanced market.”

    Anderson’s forecast calls for the S&P Case-Shiller home price index to rise 2.8% in 2014 compared to 13% this year.

    He noted that institutional and individual investors will still be in the market in 2014. But the “bargains are gone and the inventory of foreclosed homes is very limited.” So they won’t be as aggressive in bidding up prices.

    Meanwhile, the housing recovery still has momentum despite the headwinds of affordability and tight credit. “We have been digesting the home price and interest rate increases fairly well,” the former Wells Fargo economist said in an interview.

    Based in San Francisco, Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas.

    Click here to view the article. 

  • Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:03 AM | Anonymous
    National Mortgage Professional Magazine

    Data through September 2013, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that the U.S. National Home Price Index rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2013 and 11.2 percent over the last four quarters. In September 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites gained 0.7 percent month-over-month and 13.3 percent year-over-year. While 13 of 20 cities posted higher year-over-year growth rates, 19 cities had lower monthly returns in September than August.

    “The second and third quarters of 2013 were very good for home prices,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The National Index is up 11.2 percent year-over-year, the strongest figure since the boom peaked in 2006. The 10-City and 20-City Composites year-over-year growth at 13.3 percent was their highest annual numbers since February 2006."

    The chart below depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded an 11.2 percent gain in the third quarter of 2013 over the third quarter of 2012. In September 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 13.3 percent.

    “Twelve cities posted double-digit annual returns. Regionally, the West continues to lead with Las Vegas gaining 29.1 percent year-over-year followed by San Francisco at 25.7 percent, Los Angeles at 21.8 percent and San Diego at 20.9 percent," said Blitzer. "San Francisco and Los Angeles showed their highest annual returns since March 2001 and December 2005. Although Chicago has not reached double-digit growth, the city recorded its highest year-over-year gain since November 2005."

    The chart below shows the index levels for the U.S. National Home Price Index, as well as its annual returns. As of the third quarter of 2013, average home prices across the U.S. are back to their levels posted in the second quarter of 2004. At the end of the third quarter of 2013, the National Index was up 3.2  over the second quarter of 2013 and 11.2% above the third quarter of 2012.

    Nineteen cities decelerated month-over-month from August to September. Las Vegas and Tampa showed the most weakness with their rates declining by 1.6 percentage points. Las Vegas went from a +2.9 percent monthly return in August to +1.3 percent in September while Tampa decreased from +1.8 percent to +0.2 percent. Charlotte was the only city to post a negative monthly return for September, its first since November 2012. Detroit managed to take the lead with a monthly increase of 1.5 percent, but still remains the only city below its January 2000 level.

    Looking at the September annual rates of change, 13 cities showed improvement versus their August year-over-year returns. Cleveland accelerated the most (from +3.7 percent in August to +5.0 percent in September), but it remains the second worst performing city with only New York trailing at +4.3 percent.

    Twelve MSAs showed double-digit increases with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco posting gains of over 20 percent. Las Vegas posted an impressive year-over-year increase of 29.1 percent in September, marginally down from 29.2 percent in August.

    "The strong price gains in the West are sparking questions and concerns about the possibility of another bubble. However the talk is focused on fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the party and buy. Moreover, other data suggest a market beginning to shift to slower growth rather than one about to accelerate. Existing home sales weakened in the most recent report, home construction remains far below the boom levels of six or seven years ago and interest rates are expected to be higher a year from now.

    "Housing continues to emerge from the financial crisis: the proportion of homes in foreclosure is declining and consumers’ balance sheets are strengthening. The longer run question is whether household formation continues to recover and if home ownership will return to the peak levels seen in 2004."

    Click here to view the article. 

  • Tuesday, August 13, 2013 9:21 AM | Anonymous

    By Elizabeth Dexheimer


    Prices for single-family homes climbed in 87 percent of U.S. cities in the second quarter as the national housing recovery accelerated amid competition for a limited number of properties on the market.

    The median transaction price rose from a year earlier in 142 of 163 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. A year earlier, 75 percent of regions had gains.

    Values are increasing as homebuyers, encouraged by improving employment, compete for a tight supply of listed properties. At the end of the second quarter, 2.19 million previously owned homes were available for sale, 7.6 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to the Realtors group.

    “There continue to be more buyers than sellers, and that is placing pressure on home prices, with multiple bids common in some areas of the country,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in the report.

    The median price for an existing single-family home was $203,500 nationally in the second quarter, up 12 percent from a year earlier. That was the biggest gain since the fourth quarter of 2005, according to the Realtors group.

    Cities with tight supplies of homes for sale had the strongest price growth, the Realtors said. Eight markets were added to the report in the quarter.

  • Tuesday, August 13, 2013 9:04 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy Bernard

    Under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, (SAFE Act)as amended by and Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), a person must be licensed before engaging in the business of a mortgage loan originator.  The Dodd-Frank Act defines a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) as "an individual who (1) takes a residential mortgage loan application and (2) offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan for compensation or gain."


    Under the banking law of Connecticut, Section 36a-489(13) '"Loan processor or underwriter" is a person who performs "clerical or support duties" defined in relevant part as "...the receipt, collection, distribution and analysis of information common for the processing or underwriting of a residential mortgage loan,...communication with a consumer to obtain the information necessary for the processing or underwriting of a loan to the extent that such communication does not include offering or negotiating loan rates or terms or counseling consumers about residential mortgage loan rates or terms;"

    A processor or underwriter is exempted from the definition of MLO and licensing under the SAFE Act and Connecticut law, if the processor or underwriter performs "administrative or clerical tasks" only, and is a W2 employee subject to the supervision and control of a licensed mortgage originator [broker, correspondent lender or lender]. In addition, W2 employee processors and underwriters do not need to be licensed as long as they process or underwrite loans originated by the employer, and at the employer's direction and supervision.


    In Connecticut, independent contractor underwriters and processors must be licensed and cannot engage in loan processing or underwriting activities unless they obtain and maintain a processor or underwriter license as required under Connecticut law. If a mortgage company elects to use an independent processor (1099 contractor), the company should verify that the contract processor has met his or her obligations for compliance with the SAFE Act and the banking laws of Connecticut.

    In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued reminders to financial institutions such as mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers, to establish procedures designed to ensure that any third party with which the institution has arrangements related to mortgage loan origination has policies and procedures to comply with the SAFE Act and SAFE Act regulation.
    Wendy Bernard is counsel to the Conn. Mortgage Association and principal of Bernard Law Group based in Middlebury.
  • Tuesday, August 13, 2013 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    By Robert Ottone

    National Mortgage Professional Magazine

    “For most of the country, delinquencies and foreclosures have returned to more normal historical levels. Most states are at or only slightly above longer-term averages and some of the worst-hit states are showing improvement,” said Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Chief Economist and SVP of Research and Economics Jay Brinkmann. “For example, while 10 percent of the mortgages in Florida are somewhere in the process of foreclosure, this is down considerably from the high of 14.5 percent two years ago.”

    The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 5.88 percent, a decrease of 51 basis points from last quarter, and a decrease of 143 basis points from the second quarter of last year. However, as with last quarter’s results, the improvement in the seriously delinquent percentages may be slightly less than stated because at least one large specialty servicer that has received a number of loan transfers does not participate in the MBA survey.

    The combined percentage of loans at least one payment past due or in foreclosure was at its lowest level in five years, decreasing to 10.13 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, 17 basis points lower than last quarter and 149 basis points lower than the same quarter one year ago.

    During the MBA’s latest conference call, emphasis was put on the northeast, with New York, New Jersey and others showing spikes in foreclosure rates and starts. While there weren’t any specific reasons given for the sudden increase in foreclosure rates and starts, Brinkmann alluded to the possible connection to Hurricane Sandy, as it hasn’t even been a year since the hurricane made landfall in the northeast, dealing severe damage to coastal regions and scaring people away from homes along the coast.

    “While overall economic growth and jobs creation have been less than robust, the improvements have not been consistent across the country or all sectors," Brinkmann said. "The result is that those states with the weakest economic growth and the most sclerotic foreclosure systems have seen the slowest improvements in delinquency and foreclosure rates."

  • Tuesday, July 16, 2013 10:27 AM | Anonymous
    By: Housingwire

    A sharply positive turn in U.S. household formation has caused a rising demand for all types of housing over the last two years, including multifamily and single-family rental and ownership, according to data from a number of analysts.

    "We believe steady, if unremarkable, monthly job growth is creating a similar household formation environment for 2013 which should support our positive housing outlook," the analysts said in a report on housing demand.

    "You’re just seeing a lot more people getting reengaged," said Sterne Agee analyst Jay McCanless. "Housing demand, whether its rental or ownership, is a positive indicator," he added. 

    The research note claims conditions are ripe for household formations undefined children moving out of their parents’ home or a college graduate renting their first apartment. They added that job growth is the primary driver for household formation and that the steady job growth of the past three years has created a fertile backdrop for new household formation. 

    Additionally, they noted that household formation has rebounded since it bottomed in 2009 and 2010. In these two years, household formation dipped to the mid-to-high 300k range compared to a 65-year average of 1.2 million. 

    With annual household growth of 1.1 million and 2.4 million in 2011 and 2012, respectively, we believe there will be a consequential increase in the level of housing demand. 

    For more than two years, housing permits, housing starts, resales and new single-family sales have been on the rise. "Assuming job growth remains at or above the current pace," write the analysts, "we expect these trends to continue."

    Multifamily has exhibited higher growth rates than single-family thus far in the upturn, as HousingWire reported at the beginning of the month.

    "We’ve seen multifamily permit growth outstrip single-family permit growth," said McCanless. 

    The analysts note that they expect this trend to shift as the cycle progress, but it has not happened quite yet. 

    For the past three years, job growth, especially in the private sector, has been chugging along. 

    "That’s a very important point that tends to get lost in the shuffle undefined private employers have continued to hire and grow their businesses," said McCanless. 

    "We believe two sub-indicators in the monthly nonfarm payrolls report are worth monitoring," the report reads. 

    First, the analysts noted, the U-15/A-6 index measures the percentage of unemployed workers, the percentage of people working part-time that would like to be working full time and the percentage of eligible workers out of work for more than 12 months. 

    Secondly, the analysts monitor the progress of monthly nonfarm private job creation. "Both indicators have been trending positively since 2010, and as a result, we believe future growth in household formations and housing demand are likely," the report said. 

    McCanless sees housing starts remaining positive at least through 2015.

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