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U.S. Consumer Bureau to Propose Rules on Mortgage Points, Fees

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will propose new rules “this summer” aimed at simplifying how lenders market mortgages with so-called points and fees, the agency said in an e-mailed statements.

“Mortgages today often come with so many different types of fees and points that it can be hard to compare offers,” Richard Cordray, the bureau’s director, said in the statement. “We want to bring greater transparency to the market so consumers can clearly see their options and choose the loan that is right for them.”

The agency will propose the rules this summer, seek public comment, and complete them by January, it said.

Borrowers can pay points, expressed as a percentage of a loan amount, up front in return for a lower interest rate. For example, a borrower might pay 1 point, or $1,000, on a $100,000 loan, and get a rate of 3.75 percent instead of 4 percent.

The new rules would require lenders to actually deliver the interest rate reduction if points are paid, the agency said. Lenders who do offer points that result in a lower interest rate would also be required to put forward a no-point loan so borrowers can compare competing offers.

The bureau would also ban origination fees, known as “origination points,” that vary with the size of the loan, on the grounds that they are too easily confused with discount points. Lenders would still be able to charge flat origination fees.

The agency, created by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, will also propose rules on what qualifications, training and background are necessary for mortgage originators.

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