The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released the official “rural or underserved” and “rural” counties lists for the industry to go off of in 2017.
The exclusive list of counties is a big deal since it can significantly alter the way mortgages are originated. The CFPB noted that some entities that do business in rural or underserved counties are exempt from certain regulatory requirements of the Truth in Lending Act.
For example, back in September of 2015, the CFPB finalized several changes to its mortgage rules to expand access to credit to small creditors, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
Steve VanSickler, chief credit officer of Silver State Schools Credit Union, one of the credit unions impacted by the changes, explained at the time that the new laws help significantly with the burden of proof in a courtroom.
According to the CFPB, “Rural counties are generally defined by using the United State Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service’s urban influence codes, and underserved counties are defined by reference to data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.”
The lists also include the following U.S. territories as rural areas in their entireties: Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The CFPB stated that these territories comprise areas that the U.S. Census Bureau treats as counties and that are neither metropolitan statistical areas or micropolitan statistical areas adjacent to metropolitan statistical areas.