Legislative Issues

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

July 3, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Redlining Becomes New Focus in Fair Lending

A more subtle version of looking at redlining is becoming a major focus in fair-lending analysis, according to industry experts participating in a recent webinar sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act was created in 1974 largely as a tool to fight discriminatory redlining, a practice named for maps that some lenders developed that literally outlined in red the parts of the market where they would not do business. HMDA’s focus on mapping…

June 18, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Agency Jumbo Market Up Sharply in Early 2015 Refinance Boom, Non-Agency Grows More Slowly

An estimated $95.9 billion of mortgages bigger than the traditional agency loan limit were produced during the first quarter of 2015, a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis reveals. Jumbo production – all single-unit mortgages with loan amounts exceeding $417,000 – was up 7.9 percent from the fourth quarter. That was slightly off the pace set in overall mortgage originations, which rose 12.9 percent from the previous quarter. Conforming-jumbo production was...[Includes three data tables]

June 15, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Worth Noting

Industry Groups Urge Restructuring of CFPB. Wading into risky political territory, a number of industry groups last week urged Congress to support H.R. 1266, legislation that would revamp the governing structure of the CFPB. Submitting a statement for the record to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, the industry groups said consumers and the industry would be better served by changing the CFPB governance structure from a single director to a bipartisan five-person commission as used by other federal agencies. “The CFPB has tremendous authority to supervise a multi-trillion dollar industry, which as we have learned, can have incredible ramifications on our economy,” the statement said. “As such, it is imperative the CFPB remain stable ...

June 15, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Congressional Democrats Revive Defeated Reg-Relief Provisions

Democratic leadership in the Senate and the House have introduced the Community Lender Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 as an alternative to the GOP-sponsored regulatory relief bill approved by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Most of the provisions in the Democrat legislation were proposed as amendments to the Senate bill and rejected by the Republican majority. The Democrat bill would grant qualified-mortgage status for loans held in portfolio, but only for smaller financial institutions. Banks and credit unions with less than $2 billion in consolidated assets which originate fewer than 2,000 mortgages per year could make loans that exceed the 43 percent debt-to-income ratio under the QM standard and still receive safe harbor status ...

June 12, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA to Propose New Condo Policy To Ensure Compliance with HERA

The FHA plans to issue a proposed rule in the fall that would allow it to insure single-family condominium units in multifamily projects, according to the agency’s regulatory agenda for the second half of 2015. The proposed rule would cover condo units that are attached, detached, semi-detached or manufactured. It would apply as well to undivided interests in the common areas and facilities that serve the project. The proposed change would clarify and ensure lender compliance with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. HERA moved FHA’s authority to insure single-family condominiums from Section 234 to Section 203 of the National Housing Act. However, because Section 203 does not provide the same authority for FHA, rulemaking became necessary. HERA also granted FHA the authority to issue administrative notices to convey condominium policy guidance until a ...

June 12, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Bipartisan Group of Senators Press FHFA for Clearer Roadmap of GSE Risk Transfers, More Transparency

The Federal Housing Finance Agency needs to be more forthright about its plans to expand the credit-risk transfer activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. In a letter sent to FHFA Director Mel Watt this week, the six senators said the agency’s public guidance on the program “lacks specificity, metrics and long-term direction.” Watt and other FHFA officials have talked about risk transfers by the two government-sponsored enterprises, but most of the description of the program is somewhat vaguely outlined in the agency’s strategic plan and the so-called 2015 scorecard. The bipartisan group, which includes Sens. Mark Warner, D-VA, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, urged...

June 11, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Groups Appeal to Congress Again for Formal ‘Hold-Harmless’ TRID Enforcement Period

Nearly a score of industry trade groups sent a letter this week to the leadership of the House Financial Services Committee, urging them to pass legislation to provide a reasonable hold-harmless period for enforcement of the CFPB’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) regulation for lenders trying to do their best to comply. “We appreciate that the bureau indicated it will be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that make good-faith efforts to comply,” the 19 groups said in a letter to Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-CA. “At the same time, the industry needs...

June 5, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Housing Finance Reform Talks Focus on Credit, Private Capital

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA, agree that housing reform needs to happen, but while Royce emphasized the need to get private capital back in the system, Castro focused on the issue of credit access. Royce and Castro were speakers during a June 3 housing finance forum in Washington sponsored by the National Journal. Castro said part of the challenge for Democrats and Republicans in both Houses is the issue of access to credit. “How do you ensure that in the system there’s a good amount of access of credit to people of moderate means just like people of strong means,” said Castro.

June 4, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Hill Dems Resurrect Reg Relief Bill

Democrats in the Senate and the House this week re-introduced a regulatory relief bill that would grant qualified-mortgage status for loans held in portfolio, but only for smaller financial institutions. Banks and credit unions with less than $2 billion in consolidated assets which originate fewer than 2,000 mortgage loans per year could make loans that exceed the 43 percent debt-to-income ratio under the QM standard and still receive the QM safe harbor so long as the loan is held in portfolio, according to a summary of the draft. Depository institutions with less than $10 billion in assets would get...

June 4, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Says It Will be ‘Sensitive’ to Lenders on TRID Compliance, Suggesting Some Enforcement Leniency

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicated this week that it will be somewhat accommodating to mortgage lenders when it comes to enforcing the pending integrated disclosure rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The agency confirmed in a blog post that it delivered a letter to members of Congress stating that its oversight of the TRID rule “will be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that have been squarely focused on making good-faith efforts to come into compliance with the rule on time.” The agency also said...

June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Regulatory Relief: Lenders, Don’t Get Too Excited Just Yet

Lenders are so amped up about the CFPB’s pending integrated disclosure rule and the host of other mortgage-related and other financial services regulations from the bureau that they can be forgiven for getting excited about the prospect of regulatory relief from sympathizers in Congress. However, the bill that made its way out of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015, introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, is really just the first serious episode of what will likely be a series of mini-dramas to come in the weeks and months ahead. So lenders shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet, some observers suggest. “It’s a starter,” said Bob Davis, head of mortgage markets ...

June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Reg Relief Bill Aims to Expand QM Status, Tweaks Other Rules

The Republican version of regulatory relief legislation that passed out of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee recently revises a handful of CFPB rulemakings in a number of key areas, most notably in liberalizing the criteria for qualified mortgage status under the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule. However, the lender/creditor would have to hold the loan in portfolio from its inception, or any acquirer of the loan must continue to hold it in portfolio. Additionally, the mortgage cannot have been acquired through securitization, nor can it have certain forbidden features, like negative amortization, interest-only provisions, or a loan term in excess of 30 years. Further, the lender would be required to document the borrower’s income, employment, assets and credit history...

June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Congress Intensifies Pressure on CFPB Over TRID Enforcement

More than 250 members of the House of Representatives have signed onto a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, urging he institute a “grace period” of enforcement with the bureau’s pending integrated disclosure rule that takes effect Aug. 1, 2015. The lawmakers have joined the mortgage lending industry in calling for an ease on tight enforcement of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule from the Aug. 1 effective date through the end of the year. “[T]his complicated and extensive rule is likely to cause challenges during implementation, which is currently scheduled for Aug. 1, 2015, that could negatively impact consumers,” said the lawmakers. “As you know, the housing market is highly seasonal, with August, September and October ...

May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

GAO Suggests Merger of FHA, RHS To Eliminate Overlaps, Cut Costs

Congress is considering streamlining the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s single- and multifamily housing programs as lawmakers expressed concern about reports of inefficiency, inflexible underwriting and weak risk management. In an oversight hearing conducted recently by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, lawmakers also considered a suggestion to merge the USDA’s Rural Housing Service and FHA single-family mortgage insurance programs because of overlapping functions and certain similarities in their borrower profiles. “The process of dealing with RHS is a nightmare,” said Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), vice chairman of the committee. “It is 2015 but we have a housing program that operates like it is 1975.” Complaints against the RHS include little or no accountability across government programs, significant lack of ...

May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Clarifies Treatment of Same- Sex Home-Loan Applications

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a policy clarifying that VA lenders must treat veterans in same-sex or opposite-sex marriages equally and fairly when processing and underwriting their home-loan applications. The policy is effective immediately. Under the new policy announced on May 19, the VA will process all claims and applications involving same-sex marriages in the same manner as claims and applications based on opposite-sex marriages, “without any additional scrutiny or development.” Language on VA forms, web pages and other VA communication materials will be revised to ensure that all veterans, VA program administrators and personnel are aware of the equal-treatment policy. The new instructions require VA lenders to accept a claimant’s or an applicant’s assertion of ...

May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Court Denies Relator Standing in Whistleblower Suit Against Bank

Whistleblowers that bring a False Claim Act claim against an FHA lender based on previous publicly disclosed information have no standing, according to a recent federal district court ruling. Judge Jack Zouhary of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio dismissed an FCA lawsuit against U.S. Bank because the whistleblower had neither direct nor independent knowledge of the bank’s alleged false claims – two basic requirements for standing in a whistleblower suit. The Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), an Ohio-based legal aid group, filed an FCA lawsuit against U.S. Bank for allegedly disregarding and violating FHA regulations. The group accused the bank of filing false claims and collecting payments without evaluating loss mitigation alternatives before foreclosing on properties. According to ABLE, it had consulted with “many people,” whose mortgage loans were ...

May 29, 2015 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Some Agreement in Congress on Portfolio QMs

A broad regulatory relief bill pushed by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, passed the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs last week on a 12-10 party-line vote. While Democrats oppose portions of the bill, they are seeking changes to standards for qualified mortgages similar to those proposed by Shelby. The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 would establish a qualified-mortgage safe harbor for certain loans held in portfolio. The main difference between ...

May 28, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Shelby Regulatory Relief Bill Just a Start; Further Changes Needed Before Full Senate Takes Up Vote

Mortgage-related issues will likely play a central role in the end product of financial regulatory relief legislation working its way through the U.S. Senate. For now, though, the measure passed by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee last week is really an opening gambit, as congressional staffers confer over technical details and lawmakers horse trade and arm twist. “It’s a starter,” said Bob Davis, head of mortgage markets and the senior lobbyist at the American Bankers Association, speaking of the bill sponsored by committee chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015. “The Shelby bill will be...


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