Legislative Issues

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Legislative Issues.

March 27, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Bill Introduced to Stop Congress From Raiding Fannie and Freddie

Industry groups have rallied around a bill introduced to stop what a bipartisan group of senators call a “back door tax,” by raising guaranty fees. Sens. Mike Crapo, R-ID, and Mark Warner, D-VA, introduced the bill in Congress last week. The bill, S. 752, stipulates that a congressionally mandated increase of guarantey fees imposed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac business can only be used for deficit reduction. The goal is to prevent Congress from using Fannie and Freddie to fund unrelated spending. They also want to establish a scorekeeping rule to ensure that any increases in guaranty fees of the GSEs won’t be used to...


March 27, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

House Bill Would Delay Basel MSR Requirements

A House bill with bipartisan support would delay Basel III capital requirements relating to mortgage servicing rights for all but the largest banks. The House Financial Services Committee this week approved, 49-9, H.R. 1408, the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act. Introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO, the bill would require federal banking regulators to study the appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for ...


March 27, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

House Democrats Reintroduce Mortgage Finance Reform Bill

A bill to replace the Federal Housing Finance Agency with a beefed up Ginnie Mae and set Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on a path to liquidation has been reintroduced in the House. The Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act was first introduced in July 2014 to wind down Fannie and Freddie over a five-year timeframe. Reps. John Delaney, D-MD, John Carney, D-DE, and Jim Himes, D-CT, are the lead sponsors of the measure. They said the bill takes the best ideas from both parties to create a housing finance system that combines the strengths of the private and public sectors.The congressmen agreed that things need to be done differently.


March 27, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Democrats Propose Plan to Wind Down Fannie and Freddie, Expand Ginnie Role in Conventional Market

Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee have introduced legislation that would provide private and government risk-share coverage to all mortgages, create a single MBS and decommission Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Introduced by Reps. Jim Himes, D-CT, John Delaney, D-MD, and John Carney, D-DE, the bill would require Ginnie Mae to run an MBS program that combines private capital with government re-insurance in lieu of the current federal ...


March 23, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Briefs

CFPB Updates TRID Documentation. Last week, the CFPB put out some updates to the implementation materials for its integrated disclosure rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The updated material lines up with the rule that was published Feb. 19, 2015, that modifies the 2013 TILA/RESPA integrated disclosure rule (TRID). This rule extends the timing requirement for revised disclosures when consumers lock a rate or extend a rate lock after the Loan Estimate is provided and permits certain language related to construction loans for transactions involving new construction on the LE. Additionally, the bureau is making non-substantive corrections, including citation and cross-reference updates and wording changes for clarification purposes, to various provisions of ...


March 20, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Servicing Transfer Could Be in Spending Bill, Not in Reform Bill

The FHA’s request for authority to require specialized subservicing in certain circumstances could be included in an appropriations bill rather than in housing-related legislation, according to Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, ranking minority member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD and other Related Agencies. Reed raised the possibility during a recent hearing on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FY 2016 budget proposal. Among other things, the FHA has been seeking authority from Congress to require, in individual cases, inexperienced lender/servicers to transfer the function to a specialized servicer to better assist borrowers and reduce losses to the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Allowing the FHA to require transfer of servicing will help more distressed homeowners stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure, said ...


March 9, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Mortgage Industry Reps Lay Out CFPB Reforms Expected on Hill

There might be the usual hard line posturing on the part of both major political parties in the U.S. Congress on display when it comes to legislation related to the CFPB. But behind the scenes, top industry officials have no intention of letting up on the pressure they are trying to bring to bear on lawmakers to pass as many practical changes to bureau rulemakings as possible. “In the next two weeks, there will be several bills introduced dealing with less controversial but important elements of regulatory reform that we think will have bipartisan support,” said one mortgage industry executive in Washington, DC. Bills are expected to include provisions such as providing “qualified mortgage” status for many portfolio loans, with ...


March 5, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MIs Call for Supplemental or Deeper Credit Enhancements to Reduce Taxpayers’ Risk Exposure

Congress should encourage stronger credit enhancements and greater use of risk sharing to limit government exposure to mortgage losses, according to industry representatives. Testifying before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, Rohit Gupta, president and chief executive of Genworth Mortgage Insurance, said the industry is not only highly capitalized and strongly regulated, but has a proven countercyclical credit enhancement that reduces taxpayer exposure. “We are...


February 27, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Regulatory Changes Suggested To Keep Fannie and Freddie Intact

With it looking more likely that the GSEs could survive in some form, a critic of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has proposed changes he suggests would address most of the flaws he sees in the companies. Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said he offered the suggestions “in the spirit of lively debate.” He suggested that the federal government should open GSE charters to competition, allowing any firm that can meet the requirements to receive a GSE charter. Calabria said GSEs should have a capital requirement of at least 8.0 percent. Capital of 4.0 percent to 5.0 percent would have covered the losses Fannie and Freddie experienced in 2007, according ...


February 27, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

FOMC Plans to Let Mortgage Securities Run Off; Meanwhile, the Status Quo Prevails on Interest Rates

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated this week that the central bank ultimately plans on holding few, if any, mortgage-related securities on its balance sheet. It seems unlikely there will be much in the way of actual sales of agency MBS by the Fed, which leaves run-off as the method of choice to drain the central bank’s portfolio. Delivering her semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony this week on Capitol Hill, the Fed chief said the FOMC intends to adjust its monetary policy during its normalization process mostly by changing its target range for the federal funds rate and not by actively managing its balance sheet. “The primary means of raising the federal funds rate will be to increase the rate of interest paid on excess reserves,” Yellen said. She also noted...


February 26, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Imposing Administrative Fee on Lenders is Necessary To Improve FHA Loan Quality, Strengthen Process

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro defended a key provision in the administration’s FY 2016 budget proposal that would allow the FHA to assess lenders an administrative fee to fund improvements in the loan origination and servicing processes. At a HUD budget hearing this week before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD and Related Agencies, Castro said the proposed fee would be used for risk management and technological improvements and in establishing quality-assurance policies to help lenders originate more FHA loans without fear of regulatory action or litigation. Castro responded...


February 26, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Republicans Likely to Use Different Strategies To Restructure CFPB vs. Changing Bureau Rules

As Republican leaders in Congress stake out hard-line positions on structural changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Democrats are responding by digging in their heels, raising the prospects of more gridlock. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, recently stated his desire to pull the CFPB within the orbit of the congressional appropriations process. He is also interested in changing the leadership structure of the bureau from a single director to a governing board. Ranking Member Jeff Merkley, D-OR, and other Democrats are opposed...


February 20, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA to Issue Final ‘Qualified Mortgage’ Rule in May

The Department of Veterans Affairs expects to have a finalized Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule by May to help clear up some issues that have arisen since the agency issued an interim final rule last spring. The VA issued the interim QM rule for comment on May 9, 2014, to define which VA loans will have QM status under the ability-to-repay (ATR) rule. Issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the ATR rule provided temporary QM status to loans eligible for FHA insurance and guaranties by the VA and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service. Eligible government-backed loans must be 30-year fixed-rate with no interest-only, negative amortization or balloon features. Total points and fees must not exceed 3 percent of the total loan amount for loans of $100,000 or more. Loans that meet the definition of a temporary VA-eligible QM are considered as in compliance with the ATR rule. They are designated as “safe harbor QMs,” provided they are not ...


February 20, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

CFPB Takes Action Against Deceptive Advertising

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently sued a reverse mortgage lender and issued consent decrees against two other mortgage companies for misleading consumers with false advertising about FHA-insured mortgage products. The CFPB filed suit against All Financial Services (AFS), a Maryland-based reverse mortgage lender, in the federal district court in Baltimore alleging that the lender disseminated misleading ads for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans between November 2011 and December 2012. In addition, AFS allegedly failed to maintain copies of the ads as required by the CFPB under its reverse mortgage regulations. According to court filings, the CFPB alleges that the lender/broker mailed out ads using materials and language that seemed to indicate that it was a federal entity or an affiliate of a government entity. All AFS ads appeared as if they were ...


February 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Actions Lay Foundation For Legislative GSE Reform

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt has repeatedly said that GSE reform should be left to Congress. However, industry analysts suggest that the FHFA’s actions under Watt are helping to build a foundation for legislation. Michael Stegman, counselor to the Treasury Department for housing finance policy, said the FHFA’s actions are helping to create bipartisan consensus for provisions to be included in GSE reform. He pointed to the common securitization platform, risk-sharing transactions and capital standards for private mortgage insurers. Stegman said the FHFA’s actions are just a starter, particularly because Watt’s actions could be reversed by the next director of the FHFA. The Treasury official was among the speakers who addressed the current state of the GSEs at ...


February 13, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

RMBS Working Group Head Defends Justice Dept. Settlements From Accusations of Misappropriation

Were Bank of America, Citi and Chase manipulated into making donations to Democrat-leaning housing advocacy groups as part of their recent mortgage settlements with the Department of Justice? That seemed to be the implicit question underlying the grilling of a key Justice Department official by Republican members of a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing this week that focused on the donations the three mega-banks were directed to make to housing counseling groups as part of their $36.6 billion settlement with the DOJ. “The concern is...


Poll

With the recent dip in interest rates, how do you feel about loan volumes this year?

We see loan production ending 2015 flat compared to 2014.

36%

We’re optimistic that our originations will rise by 10 to 20 percent year over year.

44%

We’re really optimistic: We expect production to increase by 20 percent or better from last year.

12%

We’re not so bullish. Originations for us may actually fall.

8%

Housing Pulse