Legislative Issues

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

June 30, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

NY Requires Servicers to Maintain Abandoned Properties, Less Onerous Legislation Introduced in Congress

The New York legislature approved a bill late last week that will require servicers handling loans in the state to maintain vacant properties in certain circumstances. The requirements were strongly opposed by the Mortgage Bankers Association. In general, the new law requires servicers of residential mortgages in New York to complete an exterior inspection of properties within 90 days of a borrower’s delinquency to determine the occupancy status of the property. The law also requires ongoing inspections of properties related to severely delinquent mortgages every 25 to 35 days. If the servicer has a reasonable basis to believe that a property is vacant and abandoned, the servicer is...

June 27, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Capitol Hill Update

CFPB Firmly in CHOICE Act’s Crosshairs. Since Inside the CFPB went to press last, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, released more details about the Republican alternative to replace the Dodd-Frank Act. Dubbed the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act, the bill not only includes provisions to provide a qualified-mortgage safe harbor for any mortgage that has been held in portfolio by a depository institution since origination, but also a host of provisions targeting the structure of the CFPB itself. For instance, the bill could change the name of the CFPB to the “Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission (CFOC),” and task it with the dual mission of consumer protection and competitive markets, with ...

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

New Bill Presses Treasury to Research Ending Conservatorship

An Arkansas Congressman introduced a bill last week that would require the Treasury Department to annually exam the possibility of ending the GSE conservatorship. Rep. French Hill, R-AR, said H.R. 5505, the GSE Review and Reform Act, would require Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to lead the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It would amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to require annual studies on ending the conservatorship of the GSEs. He noted that outside of a study done in 2011, the administration has had little engagement with Congress on a path toward ending the eight-year conservatorship and reforming the “broken” housing finance system. Hill added that the...

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Industry Groups Push to Lower 'Uneccessary' GSE G-Fees, LLPAs

Housing industry trade groups and other interests joined forces this week in urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to lower GSE guaranty fees. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are no longer exposed to the credit risk they were at the height of the crisis in 2008, they said in a letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt. The June 22 letter was signed by 25 organizations, including the Consumer Mortgage Coalition, Mortgage Bankers Association and U.S. Mortgage Insurers. It not only called for lower g-fees but also said loan-level price adjustments need to be reduced or eliminated. The groups argue that both fees prevent qualified borrowers from entering the housing market.

June 24, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Big Trade Groups: ‘All or Nothing’ on GSE Reform

The chance of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac reform legislation passing Congress this year is virtually nil. But that hasn’t stopped industry trade groups from talking about the topic, or dispensing a barrage of advice for the Federal Housing Finance Agency about the withering capital cushions at Fannie and Freddie. The way things stand today, the largest industry trade organizations – and arguably the most powerful politically – are taking the position of “all or nothing” mortgage-finance ...

June 24, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Diverse Interest Groups Ask FHFA to Cut GSE Guarantee Fees, Reduce LLPAs

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac MBS guarantee fees are too high, given the strong credit profile of new business since the financial crisis, according to a diverse collection of real estate, banking and consumer interest groups. The groups called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency to lower MBS guarantee fees charged by the two government-sponsored enterprises, and to reduce or eliminate the loan-level pricing adjustments that are typically wrapped into the consumer’s note rate. The average g-fee has jumped from 22 basis points in 2009 to 58 bps in 2014, including the 10 bps surcharge that Congress mandated in 2011 to cover a payroll tax cut. Loan-level pricing adjustments can total...[Includes one data table]

June 24, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

SEC to Re-Propose Long-Delayed Securitization Conflicts-of-Interest Rule Required by Dodd-Frank

The Securities and Exchange Commission will re-propose a rule addressing conflicts of interest regarding certain securitizations, according to SEC Chair Mary Jo White. The rule required by the Dodd-Frank Act was originally proposed by the SEC in 2011. “It’s proved to be much more complicated than our experts in the agency envisioned,” White said last week at a hearing by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Section 621 of the DFA requires...

June 17, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

FHA Revises TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard. Effective on June 11, 2016, the FHA’s TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard no longer returns either upfront or annual mortgage insurance premium factors to an automated underwriting system. The FHA directs lenders to consult Appendix I of its Single Family Housing Policy handbook for applicable MIP factors. AUS vendors have been notified of the change and have adjusted their systems accordingly. HUD, First Citizens Bank Settle Fair Lending Complaint. A South Carolina bank has agreed to correct its lending practices and allocate funding to resolve allegations that it denied more loans to minorities compared to similarly-situated white loan applicants. The settlement agreement stemmed from a complaint filed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development against First Citizens Bank and Trust Co. in 2011 after an analysis of ...

June 17, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

CA Realtors Seek Rule to Prohibit PACE Lien Seniority over FHA Lien

The California Association of Realtors renewed its push for rules addressing the proliferation of FHA-insured mortgages that have Property Assessed Clean Energy super liens. In a recent letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, the CAR requested that both FHA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development adopt policy that is consistent with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s existing policy on PACE liens. Specifically, such a policy would prohibit the use of PACE encumbrances with a “super lien” priority over mortgage financing. The group also urged HUD to issue guidelines directing FHA lenders and servicers not to place PACE liens above any mortgage insured by FHA. The CAR expressed concern about how PACE liens might affect the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which is currently recovering from years of losses. “If the ..

June 17, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Maximum Civil Penalties for HUD, FHA Violations Set to Increase

FHA lenders will face stiffer maximum monetary penalties later this year for various violations of agency rules and regulations. The higher monetary penalties are the result of legislation signed into law late last year requiring federal agencies to adjust the current maximum penalty amounts for inflation in order to maintain their deterrent effect. Specifically, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 (2015 Act) requires federal agencies to adjust the level of civil monetary penalties with an initial “catch-up” adjustment through an interim final rule and subsequent annual adjustments for inflation. The interim final rules with the initial penalty adjustments must be published by July 1, 2016. The new penalty levels must take effect no later than Aug. 1, 2016. Additionally, agencies are required to make annual inflation adjustments, starting Jan. 15, 2017, and for each year going forward. The adjustments will ...

June 16, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Appraisers See ‘Existential Threat’ to Industry Regulation With Broad Exemption for Federally-Related Transactions

Two appraiser trade groups raised concerns this week that federal banking regulators are re-interpreting longstanding policy to exempt most of the mortgage market from appraisal rules. The American Society of Appraisers and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers published a white paper and wrote to leaders in Congress detailing positions taken by federal regulators regarding the application of appraisal standards included in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. Federal regulators are...

June 16, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Maximum Penalties for Violations of Mortgage-Related Laws, Regulations Set for Significant Increases Later this Year

Mortgage lenders soon will be facing higher civil monetary penalties that may be imposed by federal agencies for violations of various lending, servicing and consumer financial protection laws and regulations, warned industry attorneys. As part of the budget bill signed into law last year, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act (FCPIAA) requires federal agencies to adjust the civil penalty amounts they charge for inflation by July 1, 2016. This will be followed be regular adjustments by January 15 of every year. The adjustments must be...

June 13, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Republicans Target CFPB On Two Fronts, Waters Defends

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, detailed in a speech a proposal that House Republicans have been working on that would replace the Dodd-Frank Act, including some important changes that would scale back the powers of the CFPB. The bill would shift the agency’s mission to include both consumer protection and maintaining competitive markets, with a cost-benefit analysis of rules performed by an Office of Economic Analysis. Also, it would replace the current single director with a bipartisan, five-member commission which would be subject to congressional oversight and appropriations.

June 13, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Rep. Hensarling, Sen. Paul Push QM Safe-Harbor Legislation

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, rolled out some of the details of a Republican proposal to replace the Dodd-Frank Act, the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act. The proposal includes the text of a measure already passed by the House, which would provide a QM safe harbor for any mortgage that has been held in portfolio by a depository institution since origination.

June 10, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Watt Receives Multiple Letters Urging for GSE Reform Action

Calls for a GSE recapitalization are growing louder as industry groups and lawmakers urge Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt to exercise his authority and suspend the Treasury Department’s sweep of Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac profits. Letters to the FHFA and Treasury last week came from a group of small lenders, affordable housing organizations and civil rights advocates, while a group of 32 Democrats on Capitol Hill also chimed in ...

June 10, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Senate Lawmakers Gearing up for Fight Over Bank Capital, Liquidity Regulations

A partisan debate is brewing in the Senate over whether a more complex regulatory system could actually lead to increased systemic risk for U.S. banks even as House Republicans weigh proposals to eliminate financial and consumer protections under the Dodd-Frank Act. Discussions in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs this week revolved around the Basel and Dodd-Frank capital and liquidity requirements and whether they are forcing big and small banks to focus more on safety and soundness instead of meeting the needs of consumers and the economy. Post-crisis financial regulations have become...

June 9, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Servicers Concerned About Increased Costs as New York Moves Toward Passing Abandoned Property Bill

A bill making its way through the New York state legislature has prompted concerns among servicers and the Mortgage Bankers Association, who warn that the bill’s requirements regarding abandoned properties would increase costs and legal risks for servicers. A.6932-A, the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act, was recently approved by New York’s Assembly on a 116-22 vote. The bill would require servicers to periodically inspect properties tied to delinquent mortgages, report vacant properties to a state registry and provide authorities with tools to prompt servicers to maintain abandoned properties, among other provisions. “There is...

June 9, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Groups Divide on Top Priority For GSEs: Recapitalization or Total Reform

A growing number of mortgage-industry groups, housing interests and Democrats on Capitol Hill are urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin to restore their capital bases, while others urge the FHFA to leave the matter to Congress. The Mortgage Bankers Association joined with four other groups this week in urging the FHFA to maintain the current state of conservatorship for the two government-sponsored enterprises and let Congress tackle broad mortgage-finance reform. “Absent reform, we run the risk of continuing to kick the can down the road without ensuring ongoing access to mortgage credit for millions of future homeowners,” the groups said. Joining the MBA were...

June 9, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Republican’s Dodd-Frank Alternative Includes QM Safe Harbor for All Portfolio Loans

Portfolio lenders would get an expanded safe harbor from litigation under the qualified mortgage standard in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability-to-repay rule under a proposed Republican replacement of the controversial Dodd-Frank Act. “Our plan ... provides critically needed mortgage relief with reforms that let community banks back into the mortgage business and ensure qualified borrowers can purchase a home while preserving prudent underwriting standards,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, in a speech at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday morning. “Changes include an ability-to-repay safe harbor for loans held on portfolio, ensuring the availability of mortgage credit for manufactured homes, fixing the way points and fees are calculated, and exempting small servicers from escrow requirements.” The proposal, the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act, includes...

June 3, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

MA Lawmakers Urge FHFA to Delay Action on HOA Super Liens, Recommend Public Comment

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, wants the Federal Housing Finance Agency to delay any decision regarding contesting homeowner association foreclosures that will extinguish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rights under controversial state super-lien laws. Warren, who co-signed a letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt in May with Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA, and eight Massachusetts lawmakers, wants the FHFA to first solicit public comments on the potential change in policy. Under super-lien laws in 22 states, including Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia community associations are given...

May 27, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

House Oversight Panel Scrutinizes Payments to Third Parties from Banks’ RMBS Settlements

A heated partisan debate broke out during a House subcommittee hearing late last week on whether multi-billion dollar settlements designed to resolve legacy MBS cases undermine Congress’ power to appropriate funds. Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations debated whether federal law allows banks to donate money to third-party charities to fulfill some of its settlement obligations. Ranking Minority member Al Green, D-TX, said...

May 26, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Eases LO Employment Transitions; Senate Passes FY 2017 FHA Funding Bill

The House this week approved legislation making it easier for loan officers working for depository institutions to go to work for nonbanks. Separately, the Senate last week approved a $39.2 billion fiscal 2017 funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. By a unanimous voice vote, House lawmakers approved H.R. 2121, the SAFE Transitional Licensing Act. The legislation provides for a 120-day temporary license for registered loan originators who change jobs and makes for an easier transition when moving from a financial institution to a state-licensed nonbank or to another state. Introduced last April by Rep. Steve Stivers, R-OH, the bill would require...

May 26, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Supreme Court Ruling in Case Involving FCRA Seen As Helpful in Limiting Mortgage-Related Class Actions

A ruling last week by the Supreme Court of the United States was viewed by the Mortgage Bankers Association as potentially making it harder for plaintiffs to win class-action certifications. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins involves alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Thomas Robins filed a class-action lawsuit against Spokeo, alleging that his profile on the firm’s website contained inaccurate information. Spokeo is an online aggregator of individuals’ contact- and credit-information. The case was initially dismissed...

May 20, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Trade Groups Urge Congress to Reevaluate Appraisal Oversight

Trade groups representing lenders, homebuilders and appraisers have asked Congress to hold a hearing this year on the future of appraisal regulation. In a joint letter, five industry groups urged the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to reevaluate oversight of the appraisal industry and the current federal regulatory structure for real estate appraisal. The committee last held an appraisal oversight hearing in 2004. Federal appraisal regulations have been untouched since the enactment of the Federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, the trade groups noted. In addition, the groups asked that both federal and state responsibilities be reassessed to see if they continue to serve consumers and market participants well, as well as promote competition in the marketplace. In addition to federal regulation, states regulate appraisers as well. The groups want to know from Congress whether federal oversight of appraisers is still necessary.

May 20, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Deconsolidation Opened Credit Access, New Things to Think About

The rapid deconsolidation in the Ginnie Mae issuer community and shift to nonbanks helped expand access for borrowers, but it’s also given the agency new issues to consider, officials said. Back in 2010-11, three Ginnie issuers dominated the program, noted Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer during the Mortgage Bankers Association secondary-market conference in New York this week. But those three firms now account for just 14 percent of the agency’s business, and nonbanks held a combined 70 percent of the market, he said. Many new firms became issuers in part so they could get away from the credit overlays imposed by the national aggregators, Tozer said. The result is that the average score on a Ginnie loan is now 60 points lower than on loans securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he added. Michael Drayne, senior vice president in Ginnie’s office of issuer & portfolio management, said the ...

May 19, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Conservative Groups Surprisingly Join the Bandwagon Calling for Recapitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Frustrated by inaction on housing finance reform, a dozen conservative organizations led by the National Taxpayers Union called on Congress to begin recapitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The coalition of center-right organizations urged Congress to pass H.R. 4913, the “Housing Finance Restructuring Act of 2016.” They said the Treasury sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises’ profits implemented in 2012 has “jeopardized” the financial system and taxpayers. “If there is one thing this presidential campaign has revealed, it is...


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