Legislative Issues

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

May 1, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

VA Clarifies HUD-1 Itemization Requirements. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Home Loan Guaranty office has issued guidance clarifying HUD-1 documentation and itemization requirements. The HUD-1 is a statement lenders furnish to borrowers at closing showing the actual settlement costs, including amounts paid to and by the settlement agent. The guidance clarifies and establishes VA policy regarding the following: itemization of lender/seller credits in the 200 series of the HUD-1; itemization of line 801 on the HUD-1; clarification that credits reflected on line 803 of the HUD-1 cannot offset allowable fees’ and itemization of line 802 on the HUD-1. Ginnie Mae Announces Update to Securitization of USDA Section 538 Multifamily Loans. Ginnie Mae has enhanced the securitization of rural, multifamily housing loans with a Department of Agriculture guaranty to make affordable housing available to ...


May 1, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Grassley Seeks HUD’s Explanation For Controversial Appointments

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, has asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development to explain the duties and functions of two officials who were appointed as “principal deputy assistant secretary.” The appointments make it appear that HUD is deliberately circumventing the nomination process by creating new official titles for appointees without obtaining Senate confirmation, said Grassley. If that is the case, HUD Secretary Julian Castro may be in violation of the Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, the lawmaker warned. The statute provides several mechanisms to fill job positions that require candidates to be nominated by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. “The Vacancies Act also declares that those mechanisms are the exclusive means of filling vacancies,” Grassley said. “Creating new job titles is not ...


May 1, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Quicken Lawsuit Can Help Clarify FHA Rules, Government Use of FCA

Quicken Loan’s lawsuit against the government could help provide some certainty to lenders as to the proper legal standard for evaluating compliance with FHA rules and whether loan sampling is a permissible post-endorsement review strategy, according to legal experts. The adjudication of Quicken’s case against the Department of Justice in a public forum should clarify FHA policies, procedures, and the degree of future liability risks, experts said. Quicken Loans, the top FHA lender in 2014, sued the Department of Justice in federal court in Detroit April 17, accusing it of high-pressure tactics to admit wrongdoing and of using a small sample of flawed loans as a basis for claims under the False Claims Act. Up to that time, Quicken Loans had been the subject of an ongoing DOJ probe, which began three years earlier, in relation to its FHA lending practices. Quicken also asserted that, before filing its lawsuit ...


May 1, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

HUD Appropriations Bill Cracks Down on Eminent Domain, Blocks Federal Involvement

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development this week approved a fiscal 2016 HUD appropriations bill, with language that would bar FHA, Ginnie Mae or HUD from deploying federal funds to foster the use of eminent domain to seize mortgages. “None of the funds made available in this act shall be used by [the three agencies] to insure, securitize or establish a federal guarantee of any mortgage or MBS that refinances or otherwise replaces a mortgage that has been subject to eminent domain condemnation or seizure, by a state, municipality or any other political subdivision of a state,” states Section 229 of the legislation. The Structured Finance Industry Group said...


April 30, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Senate Panel to Mark Up Reg Relief Bill Shortly; Meanwhile, All is Silent on the GSE Reform Front

Republican leaders in the Senate and the House plan to press ahead with legislation to provide regulatory relief for mortgage lenders, especially for small community banks. It’s likely that provisions to automatically designate mortgages held in portfolio as qualified mortgages will be included in a legislative package the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will mark up sometime in the middle of May. And Republicans might use...


April 20, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Looking Ahead/Worth Noting

CFPB Community Bank Advisory Council Meeting April 22. CFPB Director Richard Cordray plans to discuss credit scores and credit reporting and the related implications for community banks when the bureau convenes the next meeting of its Community Bank Advisory Council on April 22, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Washington, DC. The event is scheduled to be held at the bureau’s location at 1275 First Street, N.E., and is open to the public, but an RSVP is required to attend. CFPB to Hold Research Conference May 7-8. The CFPB plans to host its first research conference May 7-8, 2015. The conference will focus on high-quality consumer finance research, with academic and government researchers presenting their research papers. “The goal ...


April 20, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Warren Wants Auto Dealers’ Scalp, Says CFPB Should Get Oversight

The CFPB doesn’t have enough power as currently authorized under the Dodd-Frank Act and should be given oversight over auto dealers, according to the “mother” of the bureau, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA. “The consumer agency’s early results have been good for consumers and good for the economy as a whole, but there’s more to be done,” Warren said in a speech last week. “Right now, the auto loan market looks increasingly like the pre-crisis housing market, with good actors and bad actors mixed together.” As the senator sees it, the market is now “thick with loose underwriting standards, predatory and discriminatory lending practices,” and increasing repossessions. She then cited one study that estimated that these kinds of auto dealer markups ...


April 20, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Congresswoman Says Bureau Needs to Create Clear Rules

Congresswoman Krysten Sinema, D-AZ, said that the CFPB can be a source of confusion for many in the mortgage industry. Although the overall idea of the bureau is sound, the implementation has been difficult, she said. “It’s been particularly frustrating for folks working in the industry,” she said at last week’s Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC. “Part of the frustration is that the CFPB is set up as an independent organization where Congress doesn’t have any kind of official oversight.” Sinema, a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, believes there’s a lot of room for growth in terms of accountability with the bureau, and said creating clearer rules is a part of it. “One ...


April 20, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Mortgage Lenders Support Modifying CFPB Structure

The Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter to House Republican leadership recently in support of three bills that would restructure the CFPB. The bills include H.R. 1266, the Financial Products Safety Commission Act, which would replace the CFPB’s single-director governance structure with a five-member commission. “A commission structure assures judicious consideration of a range of viewpoints in carrying out regulatory functions with appropriate involvement of representatives of both parties and a range of interests including those of both consumers and industry,” the MBA said. There is also H.R. 1261, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability Act, which would subject the bureau to the congressional appropriations process. “It is important to note the legislation does not limit funding for the ...


April 20, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Lawmakers Join Growing Chorus Calling for Eased TRID Enforcement

The odds that the CFPB will publicly announce or tacitly concede some degree of soft enforcement of its integrated disclosure rule, known as TRID, may have improved recently when two Republican Congressmen called on the bureau to give the mortgage industry such a break when the rule kicks in Aug. 1, 2015. “We strongly encourage you to make the August 1, 2015, to December 31, 2015, timeframe a ‘hold harmless’ period of restrained enforcement and liability,” said Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-MO, and Randy Neugebauer, R-TX, in a letter recently sent to CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “This would allow all parties to better understand the changes associated with TRID and help ensure consumer confidence and stability in the nation's housing market,” ...


April 20, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

House Points-and-Fees Bill Faces Resistance in Senate

Days after the full House of Representatives passed legislation that would amend the points-and-fees calculation in the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule, the bill ran into some sudden resistance on the other side of Capitol Hill. H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act, is a bipartisan bill that would clarify that certain affiliated title costs do not count against the “qualified mortgage” 3 percent cap on points and fees under the bureau’s ATR rule. H.R. 685, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI, with dozens of co-sponsors from both parties, would exclude from the definition of points and fees all title charges, regardless of whether they are charged by an affiliated company, provided they are bona fide and reasonable. Lawmakers in the House passed ...


April 17, 2015 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Little Movement on GSE Reform, G-Fees

The Obama administration and the head of the Mortgage Bankers Association, among others, agree that the ongoing conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises is unsustainable. However, with a strong divide between political parties regarding the level of government support needed in a system that replaces Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, GSE reform remains a notion years away from completion. “Market participants are truly uncertain about the government’s longer-term ...


April 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Treasury Official Says GSEs, Housing Market Better Off Under Current Conservatorship Plan

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are legally bound to poverty and to remain instruments of the federal government in perpetuity, but Treasury officials argue that the current conservatorship arrangement is better for the government-sponsored enterprises and the housing market. At a seminar in Washington, DC, this week, Treasury Counselor Michael Stegman said that the GSEs benefit from the agreement under which nearly all of their profits are siphoned off by the government ...


April 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Passes Points-and-Fees Legislation With Solid Bipartisan Support, But Veto Looms

The House of Representatives early this week passed H.R. 685, the “Mortgage Choice Act,” bipartisan legislation which would clarify that certain affiliated title costs do not count against the “qualified mortgage” cap on points and fees under the ability-to-repay rule. H.R. 685, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI, with 37 co-sponsors from both parties, excludes from the definition of points and fees all title charges, regardless of whether they are charged by ...


April 10, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Former FDIC Chief Criticizes Treasury Sweep Decision

Conservatorship has left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a state of flux, according to former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman William Isaac, who recently criticized the federal government’s verdict to let the Treasury Department take the bulk of the GSEs profits. As anxiety continues to grow about the sustainable profitability of Fannie and Freddie, Isaac said there doesn’t appear to be light at the end of the tunnel. “We need to bring some fresh thought to this issue,” he said during a teleconference sponsored by Investors Unite last week. Although he said there has been very little movement on the issue within the past year. Isaacs said until a resolution is reached, “it’s very important that the government treat...


April 10, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Sen. Grassley Demands PSPA Third Amendment Transparency

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sent letters on April 7 to the Department of Justice and the Treasury requesting documents and details regarding the government’s 2011 decision to take the bulk of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s profits. This comes on the heels of reports suggesting President Obama has invoked executive privilege over some of the documents pertaining to the decision. While admitting that he’s unclear whether or not the president asserted executive privilege, Grassley emphasized the importance of transparency and said taxpayers have a right to know what transpired that resulted in billions of dollars going to the Treasury. “But instead of transparency, there appears to be an invocation of executive privilege,” he said. “If true, this is cause for concern.”


April 6, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

House Panel Votes to Tweak Points-and-Fees Formula

Shortly before the U.S. Congress vacated the nation’s capital for its spring recess, the House Financial Services Committee passed, with varying levels of bipartisan support, a package of regulatory relief bills, including a handful related to rulemakings from the CFPB. Most notable among them is H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI. H.R. 685 aims to assist banks that originate mortgages through the wholesale channel by modifying the points-and-fees formula in the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule. The measure would exclude from the calculation insurance and taxes held in escrow and fees paid to affiliated companies as a result of participating in an affiliated business arrangement. The committee approved the bill by a 43-12 vote, despite a ...


April 3, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

Fannie Mae Updates Reverse Mortgage Loan Servicing Manual. Fannie Mae has updated its reverse mortgage servicing manual with changes and clarifications to policies pertaining to Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. For HECMs, Fannie now requires servicers to place a real estate-owned hazard insurance policy upon completion of a foreclosure sale. It also outlined servicers’ responsibilities regarding the documentation and cancellation of REO hazard insurance claims; reimbursement of REO hazard insurance premiums; and remittance of insurance loss proceeds. The revised policy changes must be implemented no later than April 1, 2015. House Democrats Reintroduce Housing Finance Reform Bill. Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee have introduced legislation that would provide private and government risk-share coverage to all mortgages, create a ...


April 2, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Golding’s Appointment as FHA Chief Raises Eyebrows for Not Going Through Formal Senate Confirmation Process

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro has named one of his senior advisors, Ed Golding, as principal deputy assistant secretary temporarily in charge of HUD’s Office of Housing and the FHA. Golding is currently with the Office of Policy Development & Research and will assume his new post April 7. His appointment, however, has raised a few eyebrows on Capitol Hill because it had not gone through formal Senate confirmation, which some lawmakers say could get HUD in hot water. Golding, a former senior economist at Freddie Mac, is replacing...


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 ...


Poll

The Supreme Court recently decided that mortgage loan officers are entitled to overtime pay. How has this affected your shop?

It's a very big deal, but our company will limit OT pay or pay very little.

24%

It’s sort of a big deal, but we have no plans to pay overtime pay at all.

10%

We have no problem paying our LOs OT.

38%

We’re still studying the case and have not yet decided what to do.

29%

Housing Pulse