Investor's wiki

Ability to Repay

Ability to Repay

What Is the Ability to Repay?

The ability to repay alludes to a person's financial capacity to follow through with a debt. In particular, the phrase "ability to repay" was utilized in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It depicts the requirement that mortgage originators prove that potential borrowers can bear the cost of the mortgage. This provision of Dodd-Frank is in many cases called the ability-to-repay rule, and "ability to repay" is once in a while abbreviated as ATR.

Under Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has jurisdiction to make new rules and regulations for the mortgage industry. As indicated by these rules, the loan originators must glance at a borrower's total current income and existing debt. They need to ensure that the existing debt, plus the potential mortgage debt and related expenses, don't surpass a stated percentage of the borrower's income.

History of the Ability-to-Repay Rule

The ability-to-repay rule was incorporated as a response to the mortgage crisis in 2008. Before then, at that point, lenders could give mortgages to homebuyers whose incomes didn't show the ability to pay the month to month mortgage payments. That prompted the housing bubble of the 2000s and the mortgage crisis. Eventually, a large number of homes confronted foreclosure simultaneously. Under the new mortgage regulations stipulated by the CFPB, people who are not held to the ability-to-repay standard during the origination interaction might have a defense against foreclosure.

The ability-to-pay rule is a cornerstone of financial stability, as per a paper in The Georgetown Law Journal. Without it, loan-to-value limits are adequately not to curb property bubbles. Despite the fact that loan-to-value limits are important to obliging risk, the denominator — the value — will turn out to be misleadingly raised during a bubble and will just fall after the bust is in progress, covering the raised default risk at origination and giving false confidence that mortgage risk is contained. The mortgage crisis showed that the inability to repay worsens default risk, the paper expressed, alongside the subsequent further depression in housing prices.

Requirements of Ability to Repay

The CFPB indicates eight factors that decide if a borrower exhibits the ability to repay. In view of these standards, the lender comes to a reasonable and pure intentions conclusion about the borrower's ability to repay the loan.

The factors used to decide the ability to repay incorporate the borrower's current income and assets. They may likewise incorporate sensibly expected income. The borrower must likewise give verification of this income and their employment status.

Other than income, lenders must think about a borrower's current liabilities. That incorporates any remaining debts that they are as yet paying, as well as child support and other regularly scheduled payments. A lender will likewise check a borrower's credit history.

Beforehand, lenders were approached to consider a borrower's debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to make a last determination. However, as of December 2020, the DTI requirements of the ability-to-repay rule have been killed and supplanted with a price-based approach, with the CFPB taking note of that a loan's price is a strong indicator of a consumer's ability to repay.

The transition to take out DTI requirements came in part in light of industry analysis of an existing exemption from DTI rules for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Just in light of the fact that borrowers can get loans under more straightforward rules doesn't mean that they ought to. Generally high home prices in 2020 and the large number of liquidations connected with the 2008 financial crisis recommend alert.

Exemptions for the Ability-to-Repay Rule

A few types of mortgages are exempt from the ability-to-repay rule. A portion of these loans incorporate timeshare plans, home equity lines of credit, bridge loans, a construction phase of under a year, and reverse mortgages.

Loans backed by government-sponsored endeavors (GSEs), like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are exempt from debt-to-income requirements. This exemption is called the GSE patch or the qualified mortgage (QM) patch. As per the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the patch applied to 25% or a greater amount of GSE loans as of mid 2020. In any case, the patch will lapse on July 1, 2021, or the date when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exit conservatorship, whichever happens first. The new rules in regards to ability to pay will supplant the existing patch.


  • Factors considered in the ability to repay incorporate the borrower's income, assets, employment status, liabilities, credit history, and the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
  • The ability to repay is one's ability to repay debts and obligations.
  • The ability-to-repay rule is the part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that limits loans to borrowers who are probably going to experience issues repaying them.
  • As of mid 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was planning to wipe out the debt-to-income requirements.