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CFPB Releases Report Highlighting Junk Fees in Mortgage Servicing
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Go-To Guide:

  • On April 24, 2024, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published supervisory highlights describing ongoing concerns regarding “junk fees” in mortgage servicing.
  • Mortgage servicers face scrutiny over various violations, from improper late fees to deceptive practices, signaling the need for enhanced compliance measures to protect consumers and uphold regulatory standards.

On April 24, 2024, the CFPB unveiled its latest edition of Supervisory Highlights, shedding light on its ongoing battle against what it deems as “junk fees” imposed by mortgage servicers.

The report highlights the CFPB’s ongoing concerns regarding the assessment of what it deems as “exploitative illegal fees” by mortgage servicers. Examiners from the agency identify various instances where mortgage servicers continue to levy such fees, ranging from unnecessary property inspection charges to improper late fees.

“Homeowners cannot just simply switch providers if their mortgage servicer charges them illegal junk fees,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra in a separate press release. “Since mortgage borrowers are captive to a company they never chose to do business with, we are working hard to detect and deter violations of law.”

Supervisory Highlights

The Supervisory Highlights publication offers insights from a series of mortgage servicing examinations conducted between April 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023. In these assessments, examiners identified several violations committed by mortgage servicers, including the following:

  • Unfair charges for property inspections prohibited by investor guidelines. Examiners found servicers charging property inspection fees on Fannie Mae loans against Fannie Mae guidelines. Despite guidelines prohibiting inspections under certain conditions, such as recent borrower contact or full payment made within 30 days, servicers levied fees on numerous borrowers.
  • Unfair late fee overcharges. Examiners found servicers imposing unauthorized late fees, constituting unfair practices. These fees either exceeded agreed amounts or were charged despite consumers being under loss mitigation agreements.
  • Failing to waive existing fees. Examiners found servicers engaging in unfair practices by imposing unauthorized fees on homeowners, surpassing the loan agreement terms, and charging late fees despite borrowers having loss mitigation agreements to prevent them. Additionally, these servicers violated Regulation X by offering streamlined COVID-19 loan modifications but failing to waive existing fees after borrowers accepted the modifications.
  • Failing to provide adequate description of fees. Examiners found that servicers did not provide a “brief description of certain fees and charges” on periodic statements as required by Regulation Z; instead, they used the generic term “service fee.”
  • Failing to make timely disbursements from escrow accounts. Examiners found servicers violated Regulation X by failing to make timely escrow disbursements, resulting in penalties for some borrowers, as payments did not reach the payees initially and were resent months later.
  • Deceptive loss mitigation eligibility notices. Examiners discovered that servicers engaged in deceptive practices by sending notices to consumers falsely indicating approval for streamlined loss mitigation options before determining their eligibility, leading some consumers to believe they had been approved and thus affecting their financial decisions.
  • Deceptive delinquency notices. Examiners found servicers sent deceptive notices to certain consumers, falsely indicating missed payments and prompting unnecessary loss mitigation applications, leading consumers to believe the notices were accurate.
  • Loss mitigation violations. Examiners found servicers violated Regulation X by sending acknowledgment notices lacking specification on completeness of borrowers’ loss mitigation applications and failing to provide timely notices regarding loss mitigation options, prompting the need for enhanced policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
  • Live contact and early intervention violations. Examiners discovered servicers failed to establish timely “live contact” with delinquent borrowers as required by Regulation X and neglected to send required written early intervention notices.
  • Failing to retain records on mortgage loan accounts. Examiners found servicers in violation of Regulation X for failing to maintain records of actions taken on mortgage accounts for at least one year after discharge or transfer to another servicer, as well as for inadequate documentation.


This supervisory report reaffirms the CFPB’s commitment to addressing what it perceives as illegal junk fees, emphasizing its ongoing dedication to prioritizing this issue across diverse consumer financial markets. Recent regulatory actions, as reported in a March 2024 GT Alert, include the announcement of a final rule aimed at significantly reducing credit card late fees and proposed measures to save consumers billions of dollars in overdraft fees annually, highlighting the CFPB’s proactive approach in addressing these challenges.

Mortgage servicers should remain vigilant in comprehending the issues highlighted by the CFPB as violations and consider refining their policies to ensure compliance with regulations such as Regulation X and Z.

We have provided ongoing analysis and commentary on this issue as it has developed.

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