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For the first time since 2013, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) – a body of federal and state regulators including the CFPB – just released an updated "Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!" applicable to data collected in 2018 and due for reporting March 1, 2019. With this 2018 edition, the Guide now reflects the substantial changes to Regulation C made by the CFPB in October 2015, as well as the technical corrections and clarifying amendments made by the CFPB in August 2017. As Venable previously reported, the CFPB's October 2015 final rule implemented numerous changes to Regulation C affecting who must report, how to report, and what must be reported.

The 2018 Guide focuses on providing summaries of which institutions must report; the transactions and data points that must be reported; and the deadlines for recording, reporting, and disclosing data. The Guide's appendices include additional resources from the CFPB, such as:
  • A chart overview of data requirements, including when and how to report "Not Applicable";
  • A "HMDA Small Entity Compliance Guide";
  • A chart summarizing when collecting and reporting of information about race and ethnicity can be done on an aggregate or disaggregated basis; and
  • Charts diagramming which institutions and transactions are subject to HMDA reporting.

The Guide states that it "does not provide detailed information about the HMDA submission process, or file, data, and edit specifications," and that information on those topics is available elsewhere such as the CFPB website. Indeed, the CFPB in February just released a slightly updated version of its 2018 Filing Instructions Guide and launched the 2018 Loan/Application Register (LAR) Formatting Tool. The tool is intended to help financial institutions with small volumes of covered loans and applications create an electronic file that can be submitted to the CFPB's HMDA platform.

Notably, these updates all come in the wake of the newly led CFPB's announcement in December 2017 that the CFPB "intends to engage in a rulemaking to reconsider various aspects of the 2015 HMDA rule such as the institutional and transactional coverage tests and the rule's discretionary data points." The announcement further stated that, due to the systems and operational challenges of complying with the new rules, the CFPB "does not intend to require data resubmission unless data errors are material or assess penalties with respect to errors for data collected in 2018 and reported in 2019," and "any supervisory examinations of 2018 HMDA data will be diagnostic, to help institutions identify compliance weaknesses, and [the CFPB] will credit good-faith compliance efforts." Other federal regulators such as the FDIC, OCC, FRB, and NCUA also announced that they will take this compliance approach.

Thus, while the future of HMDA requirements remains uncertain subject to further rulemaking, financial institutions are in the meantime required to make a "good-faith" effort at compliance and avoid "material" data errors. Accordingly, financial institutions should carefully review the new guidance released in February by the FFIEC and the CFPB.