Legislative Issues

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

July 24, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD: Other Lenders Will Fill in If Chase Bolts FHA; But Agency Working on Ways to Mitigate Lender Concerns

If JPMorgan Chase were to exit the FHA program, plenty of other residential lenders would pick up the slack, according to officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who in a press briefing this week indicated the agency is hardly worried about such a development. “There are plenty of other lenders,” said one senior HUD official. “Their [JPM’s] volume has dropped. Quicken is now number one.” During an earnings call last week, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon questioned...

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

House Democrats’ Bill Features Amped-Up GNMA

Ginnie Mae would play a greater role in a private-market partnership model envisioned in proposed housing finance reform legislation introduced recently by House Democrats. However, many in the industry doubt whether a Democrat-sponsored reform bill will pass in this Congress. Sponsored by Reps. John Delaney (MD), John Carney (DE) and Jim Himes (CT), the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act would put Ginnie Mae in charge of all single- and multifamily mortgage-backed securities with government backing. Among other things, H.R. 5055 would create a new Ginnie Mae MBS for conventional mortgages backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government with minimum support from the private sector. Under the proposed model, private entities would assume up to 5 percent of the first-loss capital on the MBS. The remaining 95 percent would be shared between ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

House Democrat Bill Would Put Ginnie in Charge of All Government-Backed MBS. No Chance This Year

A significantly bigger Ginnie Mae would be placed in charge of all MBS issued with a government backing while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be wound down and stripped of their government sponsorship under a bill filed last week by House Democrats. The legislation – the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, H.R. 5055, sponsored by House Democrats John Delaney (MD), John Carney (DE) and Jim Himes (CT) – has zero chance of gaining traction this year. It would create a new Ginnie Mae MBS backed by conventional mortgages that would have the full faith and credit of the federal government while tapping private capital to absorb some of the risk. The new structure under the Delaney-Carney-Himes bill would create...

July 17, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Democrats’ ‘Middle Ground’ Bill Lauded by Industry But Lawmakers Tired of Mortgage Reform

A new “middle ground” legislative proposal that would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a beefed-up Ginnie Mae is getting high marks from industry observers, but lawmakers on both sides of Capitol Hill have no more appetite for housing finance reform this year. The Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, H.R. 5055, sponsored by House Democrats John Delaney (MD), John Carney (DE) and Jim Himes (CT), would create a new Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed security for conventional mortgages. It would have the full faith and credit of the federal government while tapping private sector capital to absorb some of the risk. H.R. 5055 has...

July 11, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA: ‘No Change’ in Opposition To Eminent Domain to Seize Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency remains committed under new management to deploy regulatory countermeasures against municipalities that move forward with proposed efforts to seize underwater mortgages via local eminent domain powers, agency officials say. After a quiet period when it appeared this issue was going away, eminent domain initiatives are cropping up again, including a recent push by a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to get the city to partner with Richmond, CA.

July 11, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

House Dem Trio Files ‘Middle Ground’ GSE Reform Legislation

A GSE reform bill filed late this week by a trio of House Democrats is less a last ditch effort to push their measure across the finish line this year than a bid to have the first word in next year’s debate over housing finance reform, note industry observers. The Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, H.R. 5055, by Reps. John Delaney (MD), John Carney (DE), and Jim Himes (CT), follows through on their January draft proposal to seek a “middle ground” between the existing, politically untenable legislative proposals.

July 7, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Worth Noting

Bankers Keep up the Push for CFPB-Related Legislation. The American Bankers Association is making a member push to drum up on Capitol Hill for three pieces of legislation designed to ease the regulatory burden for bankers, H.R. 2673, H.R. 4521 and H.R. 4466. H.R. 2673, the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, would treat as a qualified mortgage any residential mortgage loan made by a creditor so long as it is held in portfolio. H.R. 4521, the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act of 2014, would expand the CFPB’s small servicers exception to include servicers of 20,000 mortgage loans or less, and would revise the small creditor exemption to include loans that are held by creditors with assets of $10 billion ...

July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Senate Banking Committee Approves HUD, FHFA IG Nominees. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs recently approved the nomination of Julian Castro as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Castro, D, is the incumbent mayor of San Antonio, TX. The panel also approved the nomination of Laura Wertheimer as inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The Senate has yet to confirm their nominations. Meanwhile, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget was approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Reform on June 25. FHA Policies on Arm’s Length Transactions and Compliance with State Laws. The FHA is developing guidance to address concerns that laws in certain states may conflict with its arm’s length transaction requirements for preforeclosure/short sales. Until the guidance is issued, FHA lenders should seek guidance and assistance from the FHA National Servicing Center in matters of ...

July 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House to Push Permanent PMI Tax Break Bill While Senate ‘Extender’ Legislation Stalled Until Elections

Look for the Republican-controlled House this month to push additional “tax extender” legislation, including a measure to make permanent a tax break for private mortgage insurance, although the Senate will likely defer any action on tax bills stalled until after the November elections. More than six months after a series of tax incentives, including some mortgage-related measures, expired due to Congressional inaction, partisan sniping and a distinct difference in the legislative approaches of House and Senate tax-writing chairmen has contributed to uncertainty within the industry. House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-MI, has taken...

June 26, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Will Your Bank be Ready for the CFPB’s New TILA/RESPA Integrated Mortgage Disclosures?

There’s still more than a year left before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s integrated mortgage disclosure final rule takes effect. But top industry representatives are urging lenders to begin preparations now, if they haven’t already done so, because of the depth and breadth of the new regulation – and the central role it will play in the origination process. During a general session of the American Bankers Association’s annual regulatory compliance conference, held in New Orleans earlier this month, Rod Alba, senior regulatory counsel for the trade group, said that the CFPB’s TILA/RESPA integrated disclosure – known as TRID – is a massive project. “We cannot take it lightly,” Alba said. He also emphasized...

June 26, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Spearheading Effort on Capital Standards for Nonbank Servicers, States Looking at the Issue as Well

Although Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have, for years, had minimum capital requirements for mortgage companies that want to become seller/servicers, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and state regulators are now exploring codifying a capital minimum for nonbanks, according to industry officials and state regulators. During a webinar this week sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance, participants highlighted the “hot topic” nature of capital requirements for nonbanks. John Prendergast, vice president of non-depository supervision for the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, indicated that capital requirements for nonbanks are more of a matter of when, not if. However, participants who have been tracking the matter caution...

June 23, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

House Panel Passes Multiple CFPB Bills; Prospects Dicey in the Senate

The House Financial Services Committee passed a handful of CFPB-related bills earlier this month, after a previously scheduled markup had been delayed by the death of the mother of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, the ranking member on the committee. H.R. 3770, the CFPB-IG Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Steve Stivers, R-OH, was approved 39-20. The bill would create a separate, independent inspector general for the CFPB. The CFPB currently shares an inspector general with the Federal Reserve System. H.R. 4262, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-WI, was approved by voice vote. H.R. 4262 would open up CFPB advisory board meetings to the public. H.R. 4383, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Small Business ...

June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Castro Sails Smoothly Through Nomination Hearing

Barring any unpleasant news, Julian Castro, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, apparently has passed his job interview with the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. This week, Castro, a three-term mayor of San Antonio, TX, laid out his priorities as HUD secretary before committee members if he is confirmed for the job. Castro underscored the importance of “partnership and pragmatism” as the key drivers in running a city. As HUD secretary, Castro said he would enhance “cross-agency collaboration” and emphasize the value of “measuring results” by setting precise goals, consulting with the public on major issues, developing a public report card and annual updates – tools he employed in his municipal housing education and affordable housing initiatives in San Antonio. As mayor, Castro worked to ...

June 20, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Treasury Official: It Would Take 20 Years to Recapitalize Fannie, Freddie; White House Committed to Wind Down

A senior Treasury Department official pushed back against the idea of rehabilitating the two government-sponsored enterprises, noting in a speech late last week that the firms cannot be re-capitalized and reiterating the Obama administration’s commitment to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mary Miller, the Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance, said that even if the two GSEs were allowed to stay in business and build up capital, it could take “at least” 20 years to recapitalize Fannie and Freddie. “During these 20 years, the taxpayer would remain...

June 20, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Blackrock, PIMCO Sue Banks For Failure to Oversee $2T In MBS; Judge Approves NCUA Lawsuit Against UBS

A group of institutional investors – including BlackRock and Pacific Investment Management Co. – filed suit this week against six banks for their alleged failure as mortgage-bond trustees for over $2 trillion worth of mortgage securities. The suits against the banks – U.S. Bancorp, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, The Bank of New York Mellon, HSBC Holdings, and Wells Fargo – were filed in New York State Supreme Court, New York County. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages for losses exceeding $250 billion on nearly 2,220 non-agency MBS trusts issued between 2004 and 2008. The suits allege...

June 19, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Director Cordray Defends National Mortgage Database Data Collection Efforts

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray came under sustained partisan criticism from Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee this week over the joint National Mortgage Database the CFPB is working on with the Federal Housing Finance Agency. “We have learned since Director Cordray was last before the committee that the joint database project by the CFPB and the FHFA will undeniably collect personally identifiable information on millions of Americans in the National Mortgage Database,” said Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX. “I’m not speaking merely of names, addresses and phone numbers – though the database will certainly include those – but shockingly also people’s Social Security numbers, their race, religion, personal financial information, and even the GPS coordinates of their homes. If this is not considered personally identifiable information by the CFPB, then I don’t know what is.” A breach of this database could cause...

June 19, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA: Freddie Struggling to Hit 2013 Affordable Housing Benchmark; Neither GSE in ‘Sound Financial Condition’

Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s housing goal performance exceeded the benchmark levels for all of the single-family and multifamily goals set for the two government-sponsored enterprises in 2012, but preliminary figures show that Freddie is struggling to hit the mark for 2013, according to a new Federal Housing Finance Agency report. The FHFA’s annual report to Congress, released late last week, reveals official figures on each GSE’s goal performance in 2012 and preliminary data on goal performance in 2013. Both GSEs hit...[Includes one data chart]

June 19, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD Nominee Castro Says the Right Things, Provokes No Opposition During Senate Nomination Hearing

Barring the discovery of a skeleton in his closet, Julian Castro’s nomination for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development appears to be a lock in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Appearing before the committee this week, Castro, a three-term mayor of San Antonio, TX, laid out his priorities for HUD if confirmed. He said he would emphasize working closely with agencies as well as the value of “measuring results” by setting precise goals, public consultation, development of a public report card and annual updates – tools he employed in his municipal housing education and affordable housing initiatives in San Antonio. Castro said...

June 13, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

Cantor Loss Unlikely to Advance Hensarling, PATH Act Opportunity? House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat this week by his GOP primary Tea Party challenger Dave Brat is already shaking up the House leadership with implications for key lawmakers affecting the GSE reform debate. Cantor, R-VA, will close out his term at the end of this year but has announced he will give up his post as House majority leader effective July 31. Republican leadership could hold elections to replace Cantor as early as next week. Cantor has endorsed Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, to succeed him as majority leader.

June 13, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Bill Would Mandate FHFA Deny Credits to Anti-Affordable Housing

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-NY, last week reintroduced legislation that would “sharply curtail” the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to invest in future transactions that reduce the availability of affordable housing both in New York and nationwide. Maloney’s legislation, the Responsible GSE Affordable Housing Investment Act of 2014, initially introduced in 2010, would require the Federal Housing Finance Agency to deny affordable housing goals credits when a project’s debt is disproportionate to its income.

June 13, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

House Bill Amendment Would Block GSE Trust Fund Payments

A noted GSE hawk successfully pushed through a legislative amendment that would block Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from paying into the National Housing Trust Fund “at a time when they still owe money to the American people.” The amendment by Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA, to H.R. 4745, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015, would prohibit the GSEs from using funds for the NHTF, which was established under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

June 13, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Expert: Rehabilitated GSEs Better Than Senate’s Misguided Fix

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can be rehabilitated and returned to the private sector, with or without Congressional action, an expert noted this week, adding his voice to the growing chorus of those calling to retain the GSEs. Speaking at a GSE forum sponsored by Investors Unite, Joshua Rosner, managing director at Graham Fisher & Co., said that GSE reform “shouldn’t reinvent a wheel that has driven the secondary market successfully for generations.”

June 12, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judge Considers Dismissing DOJ’s Fraud Case vs. BofA As Settlement Negotiations Between Justice, Bank Stall

A North Carolina federal judge announced from the bench this week he is considering dismissing a Justice Department fraud case against Bank of America, citing a less than overwhelming preponderance of evidence. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn said during a hearing that he is leaning toward shutting down the DOJ’s case as per the March recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer, who found that the Justice Dept. has failed to prove the bank made “material” false statements to the Federal Housing Finance Board. “DOJ may not have...

June 12, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Bemoans Senate Committee Authorizing FHA to Charge New Fee to Fund Quality Assurance Improvements

A potential conflict over funding of the FHA’s loan-quality improvement efforts and, possibly, of a pilot program that seeks to make broader use of housing counseling in FHA origination and servicing may be brewing as both the House and Senate moved towards finalizing their separate versions of fiscal 2015 appropriations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 29 to 1 to pass S. 2438, its FY 2015 HUD funding bill. Notably, it contains a provision authorizing HUD to charge and collect a new fee from FHA lenders in an amount of no more than 4 basis points of the original principal balance of mortgages originated by the lender that were insured during the previous fiscal year. According to the Senate provision, the new fee would be used...

June 12, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Expert: Preserve, Don’t Eliminate Fannie, Freddie; Congressional Action Not Required for FHFA Fixes

Meaningful housing finance reform that would include “fixing” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, rather than euthanizing them outright, is still possible in 2014 and doesn’t require Congressional action, according to an expert speaking on the topic this week on Capitol Hill. Speaking at a government-sponsored enterprise forum sponsored by Investors Unite, Joshua Rosner, managing director at Graham Fisher & Co., said that GSE reform should consist of repurposing rather than eliminating Fannie and Freddie. “We shouldn’t reinvent...


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