Almost 75% of mortgage industry executives told a Washington mortgage think tank that CFPB regulations cause their firms the most compliance anxiety.

The executives participated in The Collingwood Group’s monthly survey of leading industry executives and released in a monthly Mortgage Industry Outlook Report.

Many of the respondents told the firm they felt the agency’s rules were too focused on “fault finding” and levying fines, and less focused on actually helping borrowers. The firm quoted one executive as saying, “I think all the regulations combined have unintended consequences.” Another questioned, “how do you model the risk and severity of a class-action lawsuit for a compliance violation, when all parties acted in good faith, and the issue was an unintentional oversight?”

Other respondents said there wasn’t one specific CFBP rule that was causing problems, but rather the volume of regulatory changes that made compliance difficult.

Among their concerns were constant changes to, or reinterpretations of, the rules. Executives observed that frequent changes kept them continually off-balance and trying to catch up. Waves of new rules meant the firms have to recreate processes continually, the respondents said.

Respondents also observed that too many of the agency’s rules are too vague and not prescriptive enough, making it more difficult for firms to be sure when they were in compliance. Multiple and often conflicting requirements among regulatory agencies intensify that effect, executives said.  And, regulatory burden increases the cost of mortgage lending for the firms and subsequently for consumers, the executives said.

The respondents said their business prospects would be unchanged over the next six months, with 34% saying they expected their business to be “a little better” and 22% expecting it to be “a little worse.” The firm commented on how few of the executives appeared to think a Republican victory in mid-term elections would necessarily improve their regulatory environment.

Collingwood reported 185 executives participated in the survey, but reported that 69% of respondents either made mortgage loans or serviced them.