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General Laws

Section 4. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the amount of the finance charge in connection with any consumer credit transaction shall be determined as the sum of all charges, payable directly or indirectly by the person to whom the credit is extended, and imposed directly or indirectly by the creditor as an incident to the extension of credit. The finance charge does not include charges of a type payable in a comparable cash transaction.

Charges which are included in the finance charge include any of the following types of charge or similar charge which are applicable.

(1) Interest, time price differential, and any amount payable under a point, discount, or other system of additional charges.

(2) Service or carrying charge.

(3) Loan fee, finder’s fee, or similar charge.

(4) Fee for an investigation or credit report.

(5) Premium or other charge for any guarantee or insurance protecting the creditor against the obligor’s default or other credit loss.

(6) Borrower-paid mortgage broker fees, including fees paid to the broker or to the lender for delivery to the broker, whether such fees are paid in cash or financed.

(b) Charges or premiums for credit life, accident, health, or involuntary unemployment insurance written in connection with any consumer credit transaction shall be included in the finance charge unless:

(1) the coverage of the debtor by the insurance is not a factor in the approval by the creditor of the extension of credit, and this fact is clearly disclosed in writing to the person applying for or obtaining the extension of credit; and

(2) in order to obtain the insurance in connection with the extension of credit, the person to whom the credit is extended must give specific affirmative written indication of his desire to do so after written disclosure to him of the cost thereof.

(c) Charges or premiums for insurance, written in connection with any consumer credit transaction, against loss of or damage to property or against liability arising out of the ownership or use of property, shall be included in the finance charge unless a clear and specific statement in writing is furnished by the creditor to the person to whom the credit is extended, setting forth the cost of the insurance if obtained from or through the creditor, and stating that the person to whom the credit is extended may choose the person through which the insurance is to be obtained.

(d) If any of the following items is itemized and disclosed in accordance with the regulations of the commissioner in connection with any transaction, then the creditor need not include that item in the computation of the finance charge with respect to that transaction:

(1) Fees and charges prescribed by law which actually are or will be paid to public officials for determining the existence of or for perfecting or releasing or satisfying any security related to the credit transaction.

(2) The premium payable for any insurance in lieu of perfecting any security interest otherwise required by the creditor in connection with the transaction, if the premium does not exceed the fees and charges described in clause (1) of this subsection which would otherwise be payable.

(3) Any tax levied on security instruments or on documents evidencing indebtedness if the payment of such taxes is a precondition for recording the instrument securing the evidence of indebtedness.

(e) The following items, when charged in connection with any extension of credit secured by an interest in real property, shall not be included in the computation of the finance charge with respect to that transaction:

(1) Fees or premiums for title examination, title insurance, or similar purposes.

(2) Fees for the preparation of loan-related documents.

(3) Escrows for future payments of taxes and insurance.

(4) Fees for notarizing deeds and other documents.

(5) Appraisal fees, including fees related to any pest infestation or flood hazard inspections conducted prior to closing.

(6) Credit reports.

(7) Fees and amounts imposed by third party closing agents including settlement agents, attorneys and escrow and title companies, if the creditor does not require the imposition of such fees and amounts or the services provided and does not retain said fees and amounts.

(f) In connection with credit transactions not under an open end credit plan that are secured by real property or a dwelling, the disclosure of the finance charge and other disclosures affected by any finance charge—

(1) shall be treated as being accurate for the purposes of this chapter if the amount disclosed as the finance charge—

(a) does not vary from the actual finance charge by more than one hundred dollars; or

(b) is greater than the amount required to be disclosed under this chapter; and

(2) shall be treated as being accurate for the purposes of section ten if:—

(a) except as provided in subsection (b), the amount disclosed as the finance charge does not vary from the actual finance charge by more than an amount equal to one-half of one percent of the total amount of credit extended; or

(b) in the case of a transaction, other than a mortgage referred to in section 1602(aa) of 15 USC 1601 et seq., which:

(i) is a refinancing of the principal balance due and any accrued and unpaid finance charges of a residential mortgage transaction as defined in section one of this chapter, or is any subsequent refinancing of such a transaction; and

(ii) does not provide any new consolidation or new advance if the amount disclosed as the finance charge does not vary from the actual finance charge by more than an amount equal to one percent of the total amount of credit extended.

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