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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published the 2018 list of rural and underserved counties and a separate 2018 list that includes only rural counties. The Bureau has also updated the rural and underserved areas tool on its website for 2018. The lists and the tool help creditors determine whether a property is located in a rural or underserved area for purposes of applying certain regulatory provisions related to mortgage loans. A creditor that makes a first-lien mortgage loan secured by a property located in a rural or underserved area during 2018 meets the requirements to be a creditor that operates in rural or underserved areas during 2019 and for loan applications received before April 1, 2020.

The 2018 lists can be found here. The rural and underserved areas tool can be found here.

Rural and underserved counties list

We have several rules that refer to our “rural or underserved” and “rural” counties lists. Each year we publish new lists for use the next year.

Some entities that do business in rural or underserved counties are exempt from certain regulatory requirements of the Truth in Lending Act.

In addition to these lists, lenders should also use our Rural or Underserved Areas Tool to provide a safe harbor determination that a property is located in a rural or underserved area as defined in 12 CFR 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A) and (B). The tool is more comprehensive than the lists because the lists reflect rural status only at the county level; the tool includes both locations that are rural because they lie in rural (non-urban) census blocks and locations that are rural because they lie in rural counties.

These lists 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. 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.

Rural and underserved areas tool

This tool is maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) to help creditors determine which properties are located in a “rural” or “underserved” area as defined in 12 CFR 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A) and (B). A creditor may rely on this tool to provide a safe harbor determination that a property is located in a rural or underserved area. However, the tool is not applicable to the exemption from the § 1026.35(c)(4) requirement for an additional appraisal, which is based on “rural county” and not “rural area.” The CFPB publishes a list of counties that are entirely rural to facilitate compliance with the exemption in § 1026.35(c)(4)(vii)(H).

This information is provided from the CFPB web site and published announcements.