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6500 - Consumer Protection

Section 226.20 Subsequent Disclosure Requirements

20(a)  Refinancings.

1.  Definition.  A refinancing is a new transaction requiring a complete new set of disclosures. Whether a refinancing has occurred is determined by reference to whether the original obligation has been satisfied or extinguished and replaced by a new obligation, based on the parties' contract and applicable law. The refinancing may involve the consolidation of several existing obligations, disbursement of new money to the consumer or on the consumer's behalf, or the rescheduling of payments under an existing obligation. In any form, the new obligation must completely replace the prior one.

•  Changes in the terms of an existing obligation, such as the deferral of individual installments, will not constitute a refinancing unless accomplished by the cancellation of that obligation and the substitution of a new obligation.

•  A substitution of agreements that meets the refinancing definition will require new disclosures, even if the substitution does not substantially alter the prior credit terms.

2.  Exceptions.  A transaction is subject to § 226.20(a) only if it meets the general definition of a refinancing. Section 226.20(a)(1) through (5) lists five events that are not treated as refinancings, even if they are accomplished by cancellation of the old obligation and substitution of a new one.

3.  Variable rate.

i.  If a variable-rate feature was properly disclosed under the regulation, a rate change in accord with those disclosures is not a refinancing. For example, no new disclosures are required when the variable-rate feature is invoked on a renewable balloon-payment mortgage that was previously disclosed as a variable-rate transaction.

ii.  Even if it is not accomplished by the cancellation of the old obligation and substitution of a new one, a new transaction subject to new disclosures results if the creditor either:

A.  Increases the rate based on a variable-rate feature that was not previously disclosed; or

B.  Adds a variable-rate feature to the obligation. A creditor does not add a variable-rate feature by changing the index of a variable-rate transaction to a comparable index, whether the change replaces the existing index or substitutes an index for one that no longer exists.

iii.  If either of the events in paragraph 20(a)3.ii.A. or ii.B. occurs in a transaction secured by a principal dwelling with a term longer than one year, the disclosures required under § 226.19(b) also must be given at that time.

4.  Unearned finance charge.  In a transaction involving precomputed finance charges, the creditor must include in the finance charge on the refinanced obligation any unearned portion of the original finance charge that is not rebated to the consumer or credited against the underlying obligation. For example, in a transaction with an add-on finance charge, a creditor advances new money to a consumer in a fashion that extinguishes the original obligation and replaces it with a new one. The creditor neither refunds the unearned finance charge on the original obligation to the consumer nor credits it to the remaining balance on the old obligation. Under these circumstances, the unearned finance charge must be included in the finance charge on the new obligation and reflected in the annual percentage rate disclosed on refinancing. Accrued but unpaid finance charges are included in the amount financed in the new obligation.

5.  Coverage.  Section 226.20(a) applies only to refinancings undertaken by the original creditor or a holder or servicer of the original obligation. A "refinancing" by any other person is a new transaction under the regulation, not a refinancing under this section.

Paragraph 20(a)(1).

1.  Renewal.  This exception applies both to obligations with a single payment of principal and interest and to obligations with periodic payments of interest and a final payment of principal. In determining whether a new obligation replacing an old one is a renewal of the original terms or a refinancing, the creditor may consider it a renewal even if:

•  Accrued unpaid interest is added to the principal balance.

•  Changes are made in the terms of renewal resulting from the factors listed in § 226.17(c)(3).

•  The principal at renewal is reduced by a curtailment of the obligation.

Paragraph 20(a)(2).

1.  Annual percentage rate reduction.  A reduction in the annual percentage rate with a corresponding change in the payment schedule is not a refinancing. If the annual percentage rate is subsequently increased (even though it remains below its original level) and the increase is effected in such a way that the old obligation is satisfied and replaced, new disclosures must then be made.

2.  Corresponding change.  A corresponding change in the payment schedule to implement a lower annual percentage rate would be a shortening of the maturity, or a reduction in the payment amount or the number of payments of an obligation. The exception in § 226.20(a)(2) does not apply if the maturity is lengthened, or if the payment amount or number of payments is increased beyond that remaining on the existing transaction.

Paragraph 20(a)(3).

1.  Court agreements.  This exception includes, for example, agreements such as reaffirmations of debts discharged in bankruptcy, settlement agreements, and post-judgment agreements. (See the commentary to § 226.2(a)(14) for a discussion of court-approved agreements that are not considered "credit.")

Paragraph 20(a)(4).

1.  Workout agreements.  A workout agreement is not a refinancing unless the annual percentage rate is increased or additional credit is advanced beyond amounts already accrued plus insurance premiums.

Paragraph 20(a)(5).

1.  Insurance renewal.  The renewal of optional insurance added to an existing credit transaction is not a refinancing, assuming that appropriate Truth in Lending disclosures were provided for the initial purchase of the insurance.

20(b)  Assumptions.

1.  General definition.  An assumption as defined in section 226.20(b) is a new transaction and new disclosures must be made to the subsequent consumer. An assumption under the regulation requires the following three elements:

•  A residential mortgage transaction.

•  An express acceptance of the subsequent consumer by the creditor.

•  A written agreement.

The assumption of a nonexempt consumer credit obligation requires no disclosures unless all three elements are present. For example, an automobile dealer need not provide Truth in Lending disclosures to a customer who assumes an existing obligation secured by an automobile. However, a residential mortgage transaction with the elements described in § 226.20(b) is an assumption that calls for new disclosures; the disclosures must be given whether or not the assumption is accompanied by changes in the terms of the obligation. (See comment 2(a)(24)-5 for a discussion of assumptions that are not considered residential mortgage transactions.)

2.  Existing residential mortgage transaction.  A transaction may be a residential mortgage transaction as to one consumer and not to the other consumer. In that case, the creditor must look to the assuming consumer in determining whether a residential mortgage transaction exists. To illustrate:

•  The original consumer obtained a mortgage to purchase a home for vacation purposes. The loan was not a residential mortgage transaction as to that consumer. The mortgage is assumed by a consumer who will use the home as a principal dwelling. As to that consumer, the loan is a residential mortgage transaction. For purposes of § 226.20(b), the assumed loan is an ""existing residential mortgage transaction'' requiring disclosures, if the other criteria for an assumption are met.

3.  Express agreement.  "Expressly agrees" means that the creditor's agreement must relate specifically to the new debtor and must unequivocally accept that debtor as a primary obligor. The following events are not construed to be express agreements between the creditor and the subsequent consumer:

•  Approval of creditworthiness.

•  Notification of a change in records.

•  Mailing of a coupon book to the subsequent consumer.

•  Acceptance of payments from the new consumer.

4.  Retention of original consumer.  The retention of the original consumer as an obligor in some capacity does not prevent the change from being an assumption, provided the new consumer becomes a primary obligor. But the mere addition of a guarantor to an obligation for which the original consumer remains primarily liable does not give rise to an assumption. However, if neither party is designated as the primary obligor but the creditor accepts payment from the subsequent consumer, an assumption exists for purposes of § 226.20(b).

5.  Status of parties.  Section 226.20(b) applies only if the previous debtor was a consumer and the obligation is assumed by another consumer. It does not apply, for example, when an individual takes over the obligation of a corporation.

6.  Disclosures.  For transactions that are assumptions within this provision, the creditor must make disclosures based on the "remaining obligation." For example:

•  The amount financed is the remaining principal balance plus any arrearages or other accrued charges from the original transaction.

•  If the finance charge is computed from time to time by application of a percentage rate to an unpaid balance, in determining the amount of the finance charge and the annual percentage rate to be disclosed, the creditor should disregard any prepaid finance charges paid by the original obligor, but must include in the finance charge any prepaid finance charge imposed in connection with the assumption.

•  If the creditor requires the assuming consumer to pay any charges as a condition of the assumption, those sums are prepaid finance charges as to that consumer, unless exempt from the finance charge under § 226.4.

If a transaction involves add-on or discount finance charges, the creditor may make abbreviated disclosures, as outlined in § 226.20(b)(1) through (5). Creditors providing disclosures pursuant to this section for assumptions of variable-rate transactions secured by the consumer's principal dwelling with a term longer than one year need not provide new disclosures under § 226.18(f)(2)(ii) or § 226.19(b). In such transactions, a creditor may disclose the variable-rate feature solely in accordance with § 226.18(f)(1).

7.  Abbreviated disclosures.  The abbreviated disclosures permitted for assumptions of transactions involving add-on or discount finance charges must be made clearly and conspicuously in writing in a form that the consumer may keep. However, the creditor need not comply with the segregation requirement of § 226.17(a)(1). The terms "annual percentage rate" and "total of payments," when disclosed according to section 226.20(b)(4) and (5), are not subject to the description requirements of section 226.18(e) and (h). The term "annual percentage rate" disclosed under section 226.20(b)(4) need not be more conspicuous than other disclosures.

20(c) Variable-rate adjustments.

1.  Timing of adjustment notices. This section requires a creditor (or a subsequent holder) to provide certain disclosures in cases where an adjustment to the interest rate is made in a variable-rate transaction subject to § 226.19(b). There are two timing rules, depending on whether payment changes accompany interest rate changes. A creditor is required to provide at least one notice each year during which interest rate adjustments have occurred without accompanying payment adjustments. For payment adjustments, a creditor must deliver or place in the mail notices to borrowers at least 25, but not more than 120, calendar days before a payment at a new level is due. The timing rules also apply to the notice required to be given in connection with the adjustment to the rate and payment that follows conversion of a transaction subject to § 226.19(b) to a fixed-rate transaction. (In cases where an open-end account is converted to a closed-end transaction subject to § 226.19(b), the requirements of this section do not apply until adjustments are made following conversion.)

2.  Exceptions. Section 226.20(c) does not apply to "shared-equity", "shared-appreciation," or "price level adjusted" or similar mortgages.

3.  Basis of disclosures. The disclosures required under this section shall reflect the terms of the parties legal obligation, as required under § 226.17(c)(1).

Paragraph 20(c)(1).

1.  Current and prior interest rates. The requirements under this paragraph are satisfied by disclosing the interest rate used to compute the new adjusted payment amount ("current rate") and the adjusted interest rate that was disclosed in the last adjustment notice, as well as all other interest rates applied to the transaction in the period since the last notice ("prior rates"). (If there has been no prior adjustment notice, the prior rates are the interest rate applicable to the transaction at consummation, as well as all other interest rates applied to the transaction in the period since consummation.) If no payment adjustment has been made in a year, the current rate is the new adjusted interest rate for the transaction, and the prior rates are the adjusted interest rate applicable to the loan at the time of the last adjustment notice, and all other rates applied to the transaction in the period between the current and last adjustment notices. In disclosing all other rates applied to the transaction during the period between notices, a creditor may disclose a range of the highest and lowest rates applied during that period.

Paragraph 20(c)(2).

1.  Current and prior index values. This section requires disclosure of the index or formula values used to compute the current and prior interest rates disclosed in § 226.20(c)(1). The creditor need not disclose the margin used in computing the rates. If the prior interest rate was not based on an index or formula value, the creditor also need not disclose the value of the index that would otherwise have been used to compute the prior interest rate.

Paragraph 20(c)(3).

1.  Unapplied index increases. The requirement that the consumer receive information about the extent to which the creditor has foregone any increase in the interest rate is applicable only to those transactions permitting interest rate carryover. The amount of increase that is foregone at an adjustment is the amount that, subject to rate caps, can be applied to future adjustments independently to increase, or offset decreases in, the rate that is determined according to the index or formula.

Paragraph 20(c)(4).

1.  Contractual effects of the adjustment. The contractual effects of an interest rate adjustment must be disclosed including the payment due after the adjustment is made whether or not the payment has been adjusted. A contractual effect of a rate adjustment would include, for example, disclosure of any change in the term or maturity of the loan if the change resulted from the rate adjustment. In transactions where paying the periodic payments will not fully amortize the outstanding balance at the end of the loan term and where the final payment will equal the periodic payment plus the remaining unpaid balance, the amount of the adjusted payment must be disclosed if such payment has changed as a result of the rate adjustment. A statement of the loan balance also is required. The balance required to be disclosed is the balance on which the new adjusted payment is based. If no payment adjustment is disclosed in the notice, the balance disclosed should be the loan balance on which the payment disclosed under § 226.20(c)(5) is based, if applicable, or the balance at the time the disclosure is prepared.

Paragraph 20(c)(5).

1.  Fully-amortizing payment.   This paragraph requires a disclosure only when negative amortization occurs as a result of the adjustment. A disclosure is not required simply because a loan calls for nonamortizing or partially amortizing payments. For example, in a transaction with a five-year term and payments based on a longer amortization schedule, and where the final payment will equal the periodic payment plus the remaining unpaid balance, the creditor would not have to disclose the payment necessary to fully amortize the loan in the remainder of the five-year term. A disclosure is required, however, if the payment disclosed under § 226.20(c)(4) is not sufficient to prevent negative amortization in the loan. The adjustment notice must state the payment required to prevent negative amortization. (This paragraph does not apply if the payment disclosed in § 226.20(c)(4) is sufficient to prevent negative amortization in the loan but the final payment will be a different amount due to rounding.)

Statute:  None.

Other sections:  § 226.2.

Previous regulation:  § 226.8(j) through ( l), and interpretation §§ 226.807, 226.811, 226.814, and 226.817.

1981 changes:  While the previous regulation treated virtually any change in terms as a refinancing requiring new disclosures, this regulation limits refinancings to transactions in which the entire original obligation is extinguished and replaced by a new one. Redisclosure is no longer required for deferrals or extensions.

The assumption provision retains the substance of § 226.8(k) and Interpretation § 226.807 of the previous regulation, but limits its scope to residential mortgage transactions.

Section 226.21--Treatment of Credit Balances.

1.  Credit balance.  A credit balance arises whenever the creditor receives or holds funds in an account in excess of the total balance due from the consumer on that account. A balance might result, for example, from the debtor's paying off a loan by transmitting funds in excess of the total balance owed on the account, or from the early payoff of a loan entitling the consumer to a rebate of insurance premiums and finance charges. However, § 226.21 does not determine whether the creditor in fact owes or holds sums for the consumer. For example, if a creditor has no obligation to rebate any portion of precomputed finance charges on prepayment, the consumer's early payoff would not create a credit balance with respect to those charges. Similarly, nothing in this provision interferes with any rights the creditor may have under the contract or under state law with respect to set-off, cross collateralization, or similar provisions.

2.  Total balance due.  The phrase "total balance due" refers to the total outstanding balance. Thus, this provision does not apply where the consumer has simply paid an amount in excess of the payment due for a given period.

3.  Timing of refund.  The creditor may also fulfill its obligation under this section by:

• Refunding any credit balance to the consumer immediately.

• Refunding any credit balance prior to a written request from the consumer.

• Making a good faith effort to refund any credit balance before six months have passed. If that attempt is unsuccessful, the creditor need not try again to refund the credit balance at the end of the six-month period.

Paragraph 21(b).

1.  Written requests--standing orders.  The creditor is not required to honor standing orders requesting refunds of any credit balance that may be created on the consumer's account.

Paragraph 21(c).

1.  Good faith effort to refund.  The creditor must take positive steps to return any credit balance that has remained in the account for over six months. This includes, if necessary, attempts to trace the consumer through the consumer's last known address or telephone number, or both.

2.  Good faith effort unsuccessful.  Section 226.21 imposes no further duties on the creditor if a good faith effort to return the balance is unsuccessful. The ultimate disposition of the credit balance (or any credit balance of $1 or less) is to be determined under other applicable law.


Statute:  § 165.

Other sections:  None.

Previous regulation:  None.

1981 changes:  This section implements § 165 of the act, which was expanded by the 1980 statutory amendments to apply to closed-end as well as open-end credit.

Section 226.22--Determination of the Annual Percentage Rate.

22(a) Accuracy of the annual percentage rate.

Paragraph 22(a)(1).

1.  Calculation method.  The regulation recognizes both the actuarial method and the United States Rule Method (U.S. Rule) as measures of an exact annual percentage rate. Both methods yield the same annual percentage rate when payment intervals are equal. They differ in their treatment of unpaid accrued interest.

2.  Actuarial method.  When no payment is made, or when the payment is insufficient to pay the accumulated finance charge, the actuarial method requires that the unpaid finance charge be added to the amount financed and thereby capitalized. Interest is computed on interest since in succeeding periods the interest rate is applied to the unpaid balance including the unpaid finance charge. Appendix J provides instructions and examples for calculating the annual percentage rate using the actuarial method.

3.  U.S. Rule.  The U.S. Rule produces no compounding of interest in that any unpaid accrued interest is accumulated separately and is not added to principal. In addition, under the U.S. Rule, no interest calculation is made until a payment is received.

4.  Basis for calculations.  When a transaction involves "step rates" or "split rates"--that is, different rates applied at different times or to different portions of the principal balance--a single composite annual percentage rate must be calculated and disclosed for the entire transaction. Assume, for example, a step-rate transaction in which a $10,000 loan is repayable in 5 years at 10 percent interest for the first 2 years, 12 percent for years 3 and 4, and 14 percent for year 5. The monthly payments are $210.71 during the first 2 years of the term, $220.25 for years 3 and 4, and $222.59 for year 5. The composite annual percentage rate, using a calculator with a "discounted cash flow analysis" or "internal rate or return" function, is 10.75 percent.

5.  Good faith reliance on faulty calculation tools.  Footnote 45d absolves a creditor of liability for an error in the annual percentage rate or finance charge that resulted from a corresponding error in a calculation tool used in good faith by the creditor. Whether or not the creditor's use of the tool was in good faith must be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the creditor must in any case have taken reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the tool, including any instructions, before using it. Generally, the footnote is available only for errors directly attributable to the calculation tool itself, including software programs; it is not intended to absolve a creditor of liability for its own errors, or for errors arising from improper use of the tool, from incorrect data entry, or from misapplication of the law.

Paragraph 22(a)(2).

1.  Regular transactions.  The annual percentage rate for a regular transaction is considered accurate if it varies in either direction by not more than 1/8 of 1 percentage point from the actual annual percentage rate. For example, when the exact annual percentage rate is determined to be 101/8%, a disclosed annual percentage rate from 10% to 101/4%, or the decimal equivalent, is deemed to comply with the regulation.

Paragraph 22(a)(3).

1.  Irregular transactions.  The annual percentage rate for an irregular transaction is considered accurate if it varies in either direction by not more than 1/4 of 1 percentage point from the actual annual percentage rate. This tolerance is intended for more complex transactions that do not call for a single advance and a regular series of equal payments at equal intervals. The 1/4 of 1 percentage point tolerance may be used, for example, in a construction loan where advances are made as construction progresses, or in a transaction where payments vary to reflect the consumer's seasonal income. It may also be used in transactions with graduated payment schedules where the contract commits the consumer to several series of payments in different amounts. It does not apply, however, to loans with variable rate features where the initial disclosures are based on a regular amortization schedule over the life of the loan, even though payments may later change because of the variable rate feature.

22(a)(4) Mortgage loans.

1.  Example. If a creditor improperly omits a $75 fee from the finance charge on a regular transaction, the understated finance charge is considered accurate under § 226.18(d)(1), and the annual percentage rate corresponding to that understated finance charge also is considered accurate even if it falls outside the tolerance of 1/8 of 1 percentage point provided under § 226.22(a)(2). Because a $75 error was made, an annual percentage rate corresponding to a $100 understatement of the finance charge would not be considered accurate.

22(a)(5) Additional tolerance for mortgage loans.

1.  Example. This paragraph contains an additional tolerance for a disclosed annual percentage rate that is incorrect but is closer to the actual annual percentage rate than the rate that would be considered accurate under the tolerance in § 226.22(a)(4). To illustrate: in an irregular transaction subject to a 1/4 of 1 percentage point tolerance, if the actual annual percentage rate is 9.00 percent and a $75 omission from the finance charge corresponds to a rate of 8.50 percent that is considered accurate under § 226.22(a)(4), a disclosed APR of 8.65 percent is within the tolerance in § 226.22(a)(5). In this example of an understated finance charge, a disclosed annual percentage rate below 8.50 or above 9.25 percent will not be considered accurate.

22(b) Computation tools.

Paragraph 22(b)(1).

1.  Board tables.  Volumes I and II of the Board's Annual Percentage Rate Tables provide a means of calculating annual percentage rates for regular and irregular transactions, respectively. An annual percentage rate computed in accordance with the instructions in the tables is deemed to comply with the regulation, even where use of the tables produces a rate that falls outside the general standard of accuracy. To illustrate:

• Volume I may be used for single advance transactions with completely regular payment schedules or with payment schedules that are regular except for an odd first payment, odd first period or odd final payment. When used for a transaction with a large final balloon payment, volume I may produce a rate that is considerably higher than the exact rate produced using a computer program based directly on appendix J. However, the volume I rate--produced using certain adjustments in that volume--is considered to be in compliance.

Paragraph 22(b)(2).

1.  Other calculation tools.  Creditors need not use the Board tables in calculating the annual percentage rates. Any computation tools may be used, so long as they produce annual percentage rates within 1/8 or 1/4 of 1 percentage point, as applicable, of the precise actuarial or U.S. Rule annual percentage rate.

22(c) Single add-on rate transactions.

1.  General rule.  Creditors applying a single add-on rate to all transactions up to 60 months in length may disclose the same annual percentage rate for all those transactions, although the actual annual percentage rate varies according to the length of the transaction. Creditors utilizing this provision must show the highest of those rates. For example:

• An add-on rate of 10 percent converted to an annual percentage rate produces the following actual annual percentage rates at various maturities: at three months, 14.94 percent; at 21 months, 18.18 percent; and at 60 months, 17.27 percent. The creditor must disclose an annual percentage rate of 18.18 percent (the highest annual percentage rate) for any transaction up to five years, even though that rate is precise only for a transaction of 21 months.

22(d) Certain transactions involving ranges of balances.

1.  General rule.  Creditors applying a fixed dollar finance charge to all balances within a specified range of balances may understate the annual percentage rate by up to eight percent of that rate, by disclosing for all those balances the annual percentage rate computed on the median balance within that range. For example:

• If a finance charge of $9 applies to all balances between $91 and $100, an annual percentage rate of 10 percent (the rate on the median balance) may be disclosed as the annual percentage rate for all balances, even though a $9 finance charge applied to the lowest balance ($91) would actually produce an annual percentage rate of 10.7 percent.


Statute:  Section 107.

Other sections:  § 226.17(c)(4) and appendix J.

Previous regulation: § 226.5(b) through (e).

1981 changes:  The section now provides a larger tolerance (1/4 of 1 percentage point) for irregular transactions.

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Last updated December 3, 2009

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