Section 1024.36 of Regulation requires a borrower or the representative of the borrower to serve a Request for Information or a Notice of Error on any special address that has been designated by the mortgage servicer. Section 1024.36(b) provides that if a servicer establishes such an address as provided for by the Regulations then the “borrower must use” that address “in accordance with the procedures” set forth in the Regulations. This is therefore a mandatory “service of process rule” and if the exclusive address is not used by the borrower then any subsequent civil action to enforce any violation of Regulation will be dismissed due to insufficiency of service of process. The Official Comments to 1024.36(b), published below, make this very clear:
36(b) Contact information for borrowers to request information.
1. Exclusive address not required. A servicer is not required to designate a specific address that a borrower must use to request information. If a servicer does not designate a specific address that a borrower must use to request information, a servicer must respond to an information request received by any office of the servicer.
2. Notice of an exclusive address. A notice establishing an address that a borrower must use to request information may be included with a different disclosure, such as a notice of transfer. The notice is subject to the clear and conspicuous requirement in § 1024.32(a)(1). If a servicer establishes an address that a borrower must use to request information, a servicer must provide that address to the borrower in the following contexts:
i. The written notice designating the specific address, required pursuant to § 1024.35(c) and § 1024.36(b).
ii. Any periodic statement or coupon book required pursuant to 12 CFR 1026.41.
iii. Any website the servicer maintains in connection with the servicing of the loan.
iv. Any notice required pursuant to §§ 1024.39 or .41 that includes contact information for assistance.
3. Multiple offices. A servicer may designate multiple office addresses for receiving information requests. However, a servicer is required to comply with the requirements of § 1024.36 with respect to an information request received at any such address regardless of whether that specific address was provided to a specific borrower requesting information. For example, a servicer may designate an address to receive information requests for borrowers located in California and a separate address to receive information requests for borrowers located in Texas. If a borrower located in California requests information through the address used by the servicer for borrowers located in Texas, the servicer is still considered to have received an information request and must comply with the requirements of § 1024.36.
4. Internet intake of information requests. A servicer may, but need not, establish a process for receiving information requests through email, website form, or other online intake methods. Any such online intake process shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any process for receiving information requests by mail. The process or processes established by the servicer for receiving information requests through an online intake method shall be the exclusive online intake process or processes for receiving information requests. A servicer is not required to provide a separate notice to a borrower to establish a specific online intake process as an exclusive online process for receiving information requests.