The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday published a compliance guide for small banks and mortgage lenders to better understand and comply with a rule that requires lenders to ensure borrowers have the ability to repay a loan as well as creates a separate class of loans known as "qualified mortgages."

The 45-page guide describes minimum standards lenders must use to determine that consumers have the ability to repay a mortgage and meet the "qualified mortgage" requirements. The rule goes into effect in January 2014.

The guide explains the ways in which a lender can receive either a safe harbor from litigation or a rebuttable presumption of compliance with the rule. It discusses the grounds for rebutting the presumption for higher-priced mortgages, principally whether the consumer’s income, debts and loan payments leave the borrower with sufficient income to live on.

The purpose of the guide is to provide an "easy-to-use summary" of the rule highlighting specific issues that small lenders might find helpful, the CFPB says. The guide is a requirement of the Small Business Regulator Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

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