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HUD SAFE Act Final Rule

Article by Richard Triplett

On June 30, 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the long-awaited final rule under the Secure and Fair Enforcement Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act). Despite the fact that all states, jurisdictions and territories, including DC, PR, Guam and Virgin Islands, already have laws and regulations in place under the SAFE Act – as well as the Banking Agencies for Financial Institutions – HUD is responsible for setting minimum standards for licensing via this rule, requirements for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLSR), and was originally slated for oversight responsibility. As of July 21, 2011, the responsibility for oversight will fall under the authority of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) due to the Dodd-Frank Act. HUD received 5,132 comments in response to the proposed rule.

In crafting each state version of the SAFE Act, and with many state level exceptions, the states mostly followed the model SAFE Act legislation developed jointly by NMLSR, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR). All states must meet the minimum standards set forth in this rule and also have the right to enact additional laws and rules for its own purposes. It is expected that there will be additional state law and regulation amendments following publication of this rule.

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