42 USC 4012a - Flood insurance purchase and compliance requirements and escrow accounts

(a) Amount and term of coverage 
After the expiration of sixty days following December 31, 1973, no Federal officer or agency shall approve any financial assistance for acquisition or construction purposes for use in any area that has been identified by the Director as an area having special flood hazards and in which the sale of flood insurance has been made available under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.], unless the building or mobile home and any personal property to which such financial assistance relates is covered by flood insurance in an amount at least equal to its development or project cost (less estimated land cost) or to the maximum limit of coverage made available with respect to the particular type of property under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, whichever is less: Provided, That if the financial assistance provided is in the form of a loan or an insurance or guaranty of a loan, the amount of flood insurance required need not exceed the outstanding principal balance of the loan and need not be required beyond the term of the loan. The requirement of maintaining flood insurance shall apply during the life of the property, regardless of transfer of ownership of such property.
(b) Requirement for mortgage loans 

(1) Regulated lending institutions 
Each Federal entity for lending regulation (after consultation and coordination with the Financial Institutions Examination Council established under the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act of 1974 [12 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.]) shall by regulation direct regulated lending institutions not to make, increase, extend, or renew any loan secured by improved real estate or a mobile home located or to be located in an area that has been identified by the Director as an area having special flood hazards and in which flood insurance has been made available under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.], unless the building or mobile home and any personal property securing such loan is covered for the term of the loan by flood insurance in an amount at least equal to the outstanding principal balance of the loan or the maximum limit of coverage made available under the Act with respect to the particular type of property, whichever is less.
(2) Federal agency lenders 
A Federal agency lender may not make, increase, extend, or renew any loan secured by improved real estate or a mobile home located or to be located in an area that has been identified by the Director as an area having special flood hazards and in which flood insurance has been made available under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, unless the building or mobile home and any personal property securing such loan is covered for the term of the loan by flood insurance in the amount provided in paragraph (1). Each Federal agency lender shall issue any regulations necessary to carry out this paragraph. Such regulations shall be consistent with and substantially identical to the regulations issued under paragraph (1).

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(3) Government-sponsored enterprises for housing 
The Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation shall implement procedures reasonably designed to ensure that, for any loan that is
(A) secured by improved real estate or a mobile home located in an area that has been identified, at the time of the origination of the loan or at any time during the term of the loan, by the Director as an area having special flood hazards and in which flood insurance is available under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, and
(B) purchased by such entity,

the building or mobile home and any personal property securing the loan is covered for the term of the loan by flood insurance in the amount provided in paragraph (1).

(4) Applicability 

(A) Existing coverage 
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), paragraph (1) shall apply on September 23, 1994.
(B) New coverage 
Paragraphs (2) and (3) shall apply only with respect to any loan made, increased, extended, or renewed after the expiration of the 1-year period beginning on September 23, 1994. Paragraph (1) shall apply with respect to any loan made, increased, extended, or renewed by any lender supervised by the Farm Credit Administration only after the expiration of the period under this subparagraph.
(C) Continued effect of regulations 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, the regulations to carry out paragraph (1), as in effect immediately before September 23, 1994, shall continue to apply until the regulations issued to carry out paragraph (1) as amended by section 522(a) of Public Law 103325 take effect.
(c) Exceptions to purchase requirements 

(1) State-owned property 
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, flood insurance shall not be required on any State-owned property that is covered under an adequate State policy of self-insurance satisfactory to the Director. The Director shall publish and periodically revise the list of States to which this subsection applies.
(2) Small loans 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to any loan having

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(A) an original outstanding principal balance of $5,000 or less; and
(B) a repayment term of 1 year or less.
(d) Escrow of flood insurance payments 

(1) Regulated lending institutions 
Each Federal entity for lending regulation (after consultation and coordination with the Financial Institutions Examination Council) shall by regulation require that, if a regulated lending institution requires the escrowing of taxes, insurance premiums, fees, or any other charges for a loan secured by residential improved real estate or a mobile home, then all premiums and fees for flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.] for the real estate or mobile home shall be paid to the regulated lending institution or other servicer for the loan in a manner sufficient to make payments as due for the duration of the loan. Upon receipt of the premiums, the regulated lending institution or servicer of the loan shall deposit the premiums in an escrow account on behalf of the borrower. Upon receipt of a notice from the Director or the provider of the insurance that insurance premiums are due, the regulated lending institution or servicer shall pay from the escrow account to the provider of the insurance the amount of insurance premiums owed.
(2) Federal agency lenders 
Each Federal agency lender shall by regulation require and provide for escrow and payment of any flood insurance premiums and fees relating to residential improved real estate and mobile homes securing loans made by the Federal agency lender under the circumstances and in the manner provided under paragraph (1). Any regulations issued under this paragraph shall be consistent with and substantially identical to the regulations issued under paragraph (1).
(3) Applicability of RESPA 
Escrow accounts established pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of section 10 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 [12 U.S.C. 2609].
(4) “Residential improved real estate” defined 
For purposes of this subsection, the term residential improved real estate means improved real estate for which the improvement is a residential building.
(5) Applicability 
This subsection shall apply only with respect to any loan made, increased, extended, or renewed after the expiration of the 1-year period beginning on September 23, 1994.
(e) Placement of flood insurance by lender 

(1) Notification to borrower of lack of coverage 
If, at the time of origination or at any time during the term of a loan secured by improved real estate or by a mobile home located in an area that has been identified by the Director (at the time of the origination of the loan or at any time during the term of the loan) as an area having special flood hazards and in which flood insurance is available under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.], the lender or servicer for the loan determines that the building or mobile home and any personal property securing the loan is not covered by flood insurance or is covered by such insurance in an amount less than the amount required for the property pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (b) of this section, the lender or servicer shall notify the borrower under the loan that the borrower should obtain, at the borrowers expense, an amount of flood insurance for the building or mobile home and such personal property that is not less than the amount under subsection (b)(1) of this section, for the term of the loan.
(2) Purchase of coverage on behalf of borrower 
If the borrower fails to purchase such flood insurance within 45 days after notification under paragraph (1), the lender or servicer for the loan shall purchase the insurance on behalf of the borrower and may charge the borrower for the cost of premiums and fees incurred by the lender or servicer for the loan in purchasing the insurance.
(3) Review of determination regarding required purchase 

(A) In general 
The borrower and lender for a loan secured by improved real estate or a mobile home may jointly request the Director to review a determination of whether the building or mobile home is located in an area having special flood hazards. Such request shall be supported by technical information relating to the improved real estate or mobile home. Not later than 45 days after the Director receives the request, the Director shall review the determination and provide to the borrower and the lender with a letter stating whether or not the building or mobile home is in an area having special flood hazards. The determination of the Director shall be final.
(B) Effect of determination 
Any person to whom a borrower provides a letter issued by the Director pursuant to subparagraph (A), stating that the building or mobile home securing the loan of the borrower is not in an area having special flood hazards, shall have no obligation under this title[1] to require the purchase of flood insurance for such building or mobile home during the period determined by the Director, which shall be specified in the letter and shall begin on the date on which such letter is provided.
(C) Effect of failure to respond 
If a request under subparagraph (A) is made in connection with the origination of a loan and the Director fails to provide a letter under subparagraph (A) before the later of
(i)  the expiration of the 45-day period under such subparagraph, or
(ii)  the closing of the loan, no person shall have an obligation under this title[1] to require the purchase of flood insurance for the building or mobile home securing the loan until such letter is provided.
(4) Applicability 
This subsection shall apply to all loans outstanding on or after September 23, 1994.
(f) Civil monetary penalties for failure to require flood insurance or notify 

(1) Civil monetary penalties against regulated lenders 
Any regulated lending institution that is found to have a pattern or practice of committing violations under paragraph (2) shall be assessed a civil penalty by the appropriate Federal entity for lending regulation in the amount provided under paragraph (5).
(2) Lender violations 
The violations referred to in paragraph (1) shall include
(A) making, increasing, extending, or renewing loans in violation of
(i) the regulations issued pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;
(ii) the escrow requirements under subsection (d) of this section; or
(iii) the notice requirements under section 1364 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4104a]; or
(B) failure to provide notice or purchase flood insurance coverage in violation of subsection (e) of this section.
(3) Civil monetary penalties against GSE’s 

(A) In general 
If the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is found by the Director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to have a pattern or practice of purchasing loans in violation of the procedures established pursuant to subsection (b)(3) of this section, the Director of such Office shall assess a civil penalty against such enterprise in the amount provided under paragraph (5) of this subsection.
(B) “Enterprise” defined 
For purposes of this subsection, the term enterprise means the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
(4) Notice and hearing 
A penalty under this subsection may be issued only after notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the record.
(5) Amount 
A civil monetary penalty under this subsection may not exceed $350 for each violation under paragraph (2) or paragraph (3). The total amount of penalties assessed under this subsection against any single regulated lending institution or enterprise during any calendar year may not exceed $100,000.
(6) Lender compliance 
Notwithstanding any State or local law, for purposes of this subsection, any regulated lending institution that purchases flood insurance or renews a contract for flood insurance on behalf of or as an agent of a borrower of a loan for which flood insurance is required shall be considered to have complied with the regulations issued under subsection (b) of this section.
(7) Effect of transfer on liability 
Any sale or other transfer of a loan by a regulated lending institution that has committed a violation under paragraph (1), that occurs subsequent to the violation, shall not affect the liability of the transferring lender with respect to any penalty under this subsection. A lender shall not be liable for any violations relating to a loan committed by another regulated lending institution that previously held the loan.
(8) Deposit of penalties 
Any penalties collected under this subsection shall be paid into the National Flood Mitigation Fund under section 1367 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4104d].
(9) Additional penalties 
Any penalty under this subsection shall be in addition to any civil remedy or criminal penalty otherwise available.
(10) Statute of limitations 
No penalty may be imposed under this subsection after the expiration of the 4-year period beginning on the date of the occurrence of the violation for which the penalty is authorized under this subsection.
(g) Other actions to remedy pattern of noncompliance 

(1) Authority of Federal entities for lending regulation 
A Federal entity for lending regulation may require a regulated lending institution to take such remedial actions as are necessary to ensure that the regulated lending institution complies with the requirements of the national flood insurance program if the Federal agency for lending regulation makes a determination under paragraph (2) regarding the regulated lending institution.
(2) Determination of violations 
A determination under this paragraph shall be a finding that
(A) the regulated lending institution has engaged in a pattern and practice of noncompliance in violation of the regulations issued pursuant to subsection (b), (d), or (e) of this section or the notice requirements under section 1364 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 [42 U.S.C. 4104a]; and
(B) the regulated lending institution has not demonstrated measurable improvement in compliance despite the assessment of civil monetary penalties under subsection (f) of this section.
(h) Fee for determining location 
Notwithstanding any other Federal or State law, any person who makes a loan secured by improved real estate or a mobile home or any servicer for such a loan may charge a reasonable fee for the costs of determining whether the building or mobile home securing the loan is located in an area having special flood hazards, but only in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) Borrower fee 
The borrower under such a loan may be charged the fee, but only if the determination
(A) is made pursuant to the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of the loan that is initiated by the borrower;
(B) is made pursuant to a revision or updating under section 1360 (f)2 [42 U.S.C. 4101 (f)] of the floodplain areas and flood-risk zones or publication of a notice or compendia under subsection (h) or (i) of section 1360[2] [42 U.S.C. 4101 (h), (i)] that affects the area in which the improved real estate or mobile home securing the loan is located or that, in the determination of the Director, may reasonably be considered to require a determination under this subsection; or
(C) results in the purchase of flood insurance coverage pursuant to the requirement under subsection (e)(2) of this section.
(2) Purchaser or transferee fee 
The purchaser or transferee of such a loan may be charged the fee in the case of sale or transfer of the loan.
[1] See References in Text note below.
[2] So in original. Probably should be followed by “of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968”.