24-1.1E. Restrictions and limitations on high-cost home loans.

(a) Definitions. - The following definitions apply for the purposes of this section:

(1) "Affiliate" means any company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company, as set forth in the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.), as amended from time to time.

(2) "Annual percentage rate" means the annual percentage rate for the loan calculated according to the provisions of the federal Truth-in-Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1601, et seq.), and the regulations promulgated thereunder by the Federal Reserve Board (as said Act and regulations are amended from time to time).

(3) "Bona fide loan discount points" means loan discount points knowingly paid by the borrower for the purpose of reducing, and which in fact result in a bona fide reduction of, the interest rate or time-price differential applicable to the loan, provided the amount of the interest rate reduction purchased by the discount points is reasonably consistent with established industry norms and practices for secondary mortgage market transactions.

(4) A "high-cost home loan" means a loan other than a reverse mortgage transaction in which:

a. The principal amount of the loan (or, in the case of an open-end credit plan, the borrower's initial maximum credit limit) does not exceed the lesser of (i) the conforming loan size limit for a single-family dwelling as established from time to time by Fannie Mae, or (ii) three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000);

b. The borrower is a natural person;

c. The debt is incurred by the borrower primarily for personal, family, or household purposes;

d. The loan is secured by either (i) a security interest in a manufactured home (as defined in G.S. 143-147(7) ) which is or will be occupied by the borrower as the borrower's principal dwelling, or (ii) a mortgage or deed of trust on real estate upon which there is located or there is to be located a structure or structures designed principally for occupancy of from one to four families which is or will be occupied by the borrower as the borrower's principal dwelling; and

e. The terms of the loan exceed one or more of the thresholds as defined in subdivision (6) of this section.

(4a) "Mortgage broker" is as defined in G.S. 53-243.01.

(5) "Points and fees" is defined as provided in this subdivision.

a. The term includes all of the following:

1. All items paid by a borrower at or before closing and that are required to be disclosed under sections 226.4(a) and 226.4(b) of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as amended from time to time, except interest or the time-price differential. However, the meaning of the term "points and fees" shall not include any up-front fees collected and paid to the Federal Housing Administration, the Veterans' Administration, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture to insure or guarantee a home loan.

2. All charges paid by a borrower at or before closing and that are for items listed under section 226.4(c)(7) of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as amended from time to time, but only if the lender receives direct or indirect compensation in connection with the charge or the charge is paid to an affiliate of the lender; otherwise, the charges are not included within the meaning of the phrase "points and fees".

3. To the extent not otherwise included in sub-subdivision a.1. or a.2. of this subdivision, all compensation paid from any source to a mortgage broker, including compensation paid to a mortgage broker in a table-funded transaction. A bona fide sale of a loan in the secondary mortgage market shall not be considered a table-funded transaction, and a table-funded transaction shall not be considered a secondary market transaction.

4. The maximum prepayment fees and penalties which may be charged or collected under the terms of the loan documents.

b. Notwithstanding the remaining provisions of this subdivision, the term does not include (i) taxes, filing fees, recording and other charges and fees paid or to be paid to public officials for determining the existence of or for perfecting, releasing, or satisfying a security interest; and (ii) fees paid to a person other than a lender or an affiliate of the lender or to the mortgage broker or an affiliate of the mortgage broker for the following: fees for tax payment services; fees for flood certification; fees for pest infestation and flood determinations; appraisal fees; fees for inspections performed prior to closing; credit reports; surveys; attorneys' fees (if the borrower has the right to select the attorney from an approved list or otherwise); notary fees; escrow charges, so long as not otherwise included under sub-subdivision a. of this subdivision; title insurance premiums; and premiums for insurance against loss or damage to property, including hazard insurance and flood insurance premiums, provided that the conditions in section 226.4(d)(2) of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations are met.

c. For open-end credit plans, the term includes those points and fees described in sub-subdivisions a.1. through a.3. of this subdivision, plus (i) the minimum additional fees the borrower would be required to pay to draw down an amount equal to the total loan amount, and (ii) the maximum prepayment fees and penalties which may be charged or collected under the terms of the loan documents.

(5a) A "table-funded transaction" is a loan transaction closed by a mortgage broker in the mortgage broker's own name with funds advanced by a person other than the mortgage broker in which the loan is assigned contemporaneously or within one business day of the funding of the loan to the person that advanced the funds.

(6) "Thresholds" means:

a. Without regard to whether the loan transaction is or may be a "residential mortgage transaction" (as the term "residential mortgage transaction" is defined in section 226.2(a)(24) of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as amended from time to time), the annual percentage rate of the loan at the time the loan is consummated is such that the loan is considered a "mortgage" under section 152 of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (Pub. Law 103-25, [15 U.S.C. 1602(aa)]), as the same may be amended from time to time, and regulations adopted pursuant thereto by the Federal Reserve Board, including section 226.32 of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as the same may be amended from time to time;

b. The total points and fees, as defined in G.S. 24-1.1E(a)(5), exceed five percent (5%) of the total loan amount if the total loan amount is twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) or more, or (ii) the lesser of eight percent (8%) of the total loan amount or one thousand dollars ($1,000), if the total loan amount is less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000); provided, the following discount points and prepayment fees and penalties shall be excluded from the calculation of the total points and fees payable by the borrower:

1. Up to and including two bona fide loan discount points payable by the borrower in connection with the loan transaction, but only if the interest rate from which the loan's interest rate will be discounted does not exceed by more than one percentage point (1%) the required net yield for a 90-day standard mandatory delivery commitment for a reasonably comparable loan from either Fannie Mae or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, whichever is greater;

2. Up to and including one bona fide loan discount point payable by the borrower in connection with the loan transaction, but only if the interest rate from which the loan's interest rate will be discounted does not exceed by more than two percentage points (2%) the required net yield for a 90-day standard mandatory delivery commitment for a reasonably comparable loan from either Fannie Mae or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, whichever is greater;

3. For a closed-end loan, prepayment fees and penalties which may be charged or collected under the terms of the loan documents which do not exceed one percent (1%) of the amount prepaid, provided the loan documents do not permit the lender to charge or collect any prepayment fees or penalties more than 30 months after the loan closing;

4. For an open-end credit plan, prepayment fees and penalties which may be charged or collected under the terms of the loan documents which do not exceed one percent (1%) of the amount prepaid, provided the loan documents do not permit the lender to charge or collect any prepayment fees or penalties more than (i) 30 months after the loan closing if the borrower has no right or option under the loan documents to repay all or any portion of the outstanding balance of the open-end credit plan at a fixed interest rate over a specified period of time or, (ii) if the borrower has a right or option under the loan documents to repay all or any portion of the outstanding balance of the open-end credit plan at a fixed interest rate over a specified period of time, 30 months after the date the borrower voluntarily exercises that right or option; or

c. If the loan is a closed-end loan, the loan documents permit the lender to charge or collect prepayment fees or penalties more than 30 months after the loan closing or which exceed, in the aggregate, more than two percent (2%) of the amount prepaid. If the loan is an open-end credit plan, the loan documents permit the lender to charge or collect prepayment fees or penalties (i) more than 30 months after the loan closing if the borrower has no right or option under the loan documents to repay all or any portion of the outstanding balance of the open-end credit plan at a fixed interest rate over a specified period of time or, (ii) if the borrower has a right or option under the loan documents to repay all or any portion of the outstanding balance of the open-end credit plan at a fixed interest rate over a specified period of time, more than 30 months after the date the borrower voluntarily exercises that right or option, or (iii) which exceed, in the aggregate, more than two percent (2%) of the amount prepaid.

(7) For a closed-end loan, "total loan amount" has the same meaning as the term "total loan amount" as used in section 226.32 of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and shall be calculated in accordance with the Federal Reserve Board's Official Staff Commentary thereto. For an open-end credit plan, "total loan amount" means the borrower's initial maximum credit limit.

(b) Limitations. - A high-cost home loan shall be subject to the following limitations:

(1) No call provision. - No high-cost home loan may contain a provision which permits the lender, in its sole discretion, to accelerate the indebtedness. This provision does not apply when repayment of the loan has been accelerated by default, pursuant to a due-on-sale provision, or pursuant to some other provision of the loan documents unrelated to the payment schedule.

(2) No balloon payment. - No high-cost home loan may contain a scheduled payment that is more than twice as large as the average of earlier scheduled payments. This provision does not apply when the payment schedule is adjusted to the seasonal or irregular income of the borrower.

(3) No negative amortization. - No high-cost home loan may contain a payment schedule with regular periodic payments that cause the principal balance to increase.

(4) No increased interest rate. - No high-cost home loan may contain a provision which increases the interest rate after default. This provision does not apply to interest rate changes in a variable rate loan otherwise consistent with the provisions of the loan documents, provided the change in the interest rate is not triggered by the event of default or the acceleration of the indebtedness.

(5) No advance payments. - No high-cost home loan may include terms under which more than two periodic payments required under the loan are consolidated and paid in advance from the loan proceeds provided to the borrower.

(6) No modification or deferral fees. - A lender may not charge a borrower any fees to modify, renew, extend, or amend a high-cost home loan or to defer any payment due under the terms of a high-cost home loan.

(c) Prohibited Acts and Practices. - The following acts and practices are prohibited in the making of a high-cost home loan:

(1) No lending without home-ownership counseling. - A lender may not make a high-cost home loan without first receiving certification from a counselor approved by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency that the borrower has received counseling on the advisability of the loan transaction and the appropriate loan for the borrower.

(2) No lending without due regard to repayment ability. - As used in this subsection, the term "obligor" refers to each borrower, co-borrower, cosigner, or guarantor obligated to repay a loan. A lender may not make a high-cost home loan unless the lender reasonably believes at the time the loan is consummated that one or more of the obligors, when considered individually or collectively, will be able to make the scheduled payments to repay the obligation based upon a consideration of their current and expected income, current obligations, employment status, and other financial resources (other than the borrower's equity in the dwelling which secures repayment of the loan). An obligor shall be presumed to be able to make the scheduled payments to repay the obligation if, at the time the loan is consummated, the obligor's total monthly debts, including amounts owed under the loan, do not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the obligor's monthly gross income as verified by the credit application, the obligor's financial statement, a credit report, financial information provided to the lender by or on behalf of the obligor, or any other reasonable means; provided, no presumption of inability to make the scheduled payments to repay the obligation shall arise solely from the fact that, at the time the loan is consummated, the obligor's total monthly debts (including amounts owed under the loan) exceed fifty percent (50%) of the obligor's monthly gross income.

(3) No financing of fees or charges. - In making a high-cost home loan, a lender may not directly or indirectly finance:

a. Any prepayment fees or penalties payable by the borrower in a refinancing transaction if the lender or an affiliate of the lender is the noteholder of the note being refinanced;

b. Any points and fees; or

c. Any other charges payable to third parties.

(4) No benefit from refinancing existing high-cost home loan with new high-cost home loan. - A lender may not charge a borrower points and fees in connection with a high-cost home loan if the proceeds of the high-cost home loan are used to refinance an existing high-cost home loan held by the same lender as noteholder.

(5) Restrictions on home-improvement contracts. - A lender may not pay a contractor under a home-improvement contract from the proceeds of a high-cost home loan other than (i) by an instrument payable to the borrower or jointly to the borrower and the contractor, or (ii) at the election of the borrower, through a third-party escrow agent in accordance with terms established in a written agreement signed by the borrower, the lender, and the contractor prior to the disbursement.

(6) No shifting of liability. - A lender is prohibited from shifting any loss, liability, or claim of any kind to the closing agent or closing attorney for any violation of this section.

(d) Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices. - Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, the making of a high-cost home loan which violates any provisions of subsection (b) or (c) of this section is hereby declared usurious in violation of the provisions of this Chapter and unlawful as an unfair or deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce in violation of the provisions of G.S. 75-1.1. The provisions of this section shall apply to any person who in bad faith attempts to avoid the application of this section by (i) the structuring of a loan transaction as an open-end credit plan for the purpose and with the intent of evading the provisions of this section when the loan would have been a high-cost home loan if the loan had been structured as a closed-end loan, or (ii) dividing any loan transaction into separate parts for the purpose and with the intent of evading the provisions of this section, or (iii) any other such subterfuge. The Attorney General, the Commissioner of Banks, or any party to a high-cost home loan may enforce the provisions of this section. Any person seeking damages or penalties under the provisions of this section may recover damages under either this Chapter or Chapter 75, but not both.

(e) Corrections and Unintentional Violations. - A lender in a high-cost home loan who, when acting in good faith, fails to comply with subsections (b) or (c) of this section, will not be deemed to have violated this section if the lender establishes that either:

(1) Within 30 days of the loan closing and prior to the institution of any action under this section, the borrower is notified of the compliance failure, appropriate restitution is made, and whatever adjustments are necessary are made to the loan to either, at the choice of the borrower, (i) make the high-cost home loan satisfy the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, or (ii) change the terms of the loan in a manner beneficial to the borrower so that the loan will no longer be considered a high-cost home loan subject to the provisions of this section; or

(2) The compliance failure was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid such errors, and within 60 days after the discovery of the compliance failure and prior to the institution of any action under this section or the receipt of written notice of the compliance failure, the borrower is notified of the compliance failure, appropriate restitution is made, and whatever adjustments are necessary are made to the loan to either, at the choice of the borrower, (i) make the high-cost home loan satisfy the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, or (ii) change the terms of the loan in a manner beneficial to the borrower so that the loan will no longer be considered a high-cost home loan subject to the provisions of this section. Examples of a bona fide error include clerical, calculation, computer malfunction and programming, and printing errors. An error of legal judgment with respect to a person's obligations under this section is not a bona fide error.

(f) Severability. - The provisions of this section shall be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision is declared to be invalid or is preempted by federal law or regulation, the validity of the remainder of this section shall not be affected thereby. If any provision of this section is declared to be inapplicable to any specific category, type, or kind of points and fees, the provisions of this section shall nonetheless continue to apply with respect to all other points and fees.

(g) A mortgage broker who brokers a high-cost home loan that violates any provisions of subsection (b) or (c) of this section shall be jointly and severally liable with the lender. (1999-332, s. 2; 2000-140, s. 40.1; 2001-487, s. 14(a); 2003-401, s. 3; 2007-352, ss. 1-3; 2008-227, s. 2; 2008-228, s. 15; 2009-457, s. 1; 2010-168, ss. 7, 8; 2013-399, ss. 1, 2.)