Consumer finance agency finalizes rules to protect mortgage borrowers from runarounds, fees

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 2:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 2:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have finalized rules aimed at protecting homeowners from unexpected fees and shoddy service by companies that collect their monthly mortgage payments.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday it will permanently require mortgage servicing companies to provide clear monthly billing statements, warn borrowers before interest rate hikes and actively help them avoid foreclosure.

The rules are stricter in some respects than a proposal outlined by the agency in August. For example, companies may not proceed with the foreclosure process while they work with borrowers on steps that could prevent foreclosure. Under the current rules, borrowers can lose their homes to foreclosure while they are in the process of seeking lower monthly payments.

The rules are part of a sweeping overhaul of mortgage rules by the agency.

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