Legislative Issues

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

July 25, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Briefly Around Capitol Hill

GOP Legislation Would Exempt Small Nonbank Lenders from CFPB Examination, Enforcement. Rep. Roger Williams, R-TX, recently introduced H.R. 5907, the Community Mortgage Lenders Regulatory Act of 2016, which would exempt qualifying smaller, “responsible” nonbank lenders from CFPB examinations and primary enforcement authority. To qualify, a nonbank mortgage lender must have net worth of less than $50 million; have originated fewer than 25,000 loans or $5 billion in loans the preceding year; and have originated at least 95 percent of their mortgage loans as qualified mortgages the last three years. As currently applies to most banks, a qualifying “responsible community lender” would not be subject...


July 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Community Banks Voice Reform Concerns at Senate Briefing

Community banks and affordable housing groups spoke at a Senate staff briefing this week to discuss GSE reform efforts and the impact on smaller lenders and affordable housing groups. The concerns ranged from the low capital at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to recent up front risk-sharing efforts to the Common Securitization Platform currently in the works. …


July 21, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Senate Unanimously Approves FHA Condominium Bill, But Industry Interest is on HUD Condo Reform Guidelines

The U.S. Senate last week passed legislation easing FHA rules on condominium financing even as condo reform rules are undergoing clearance at the Office of Management and Budget. H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016, was approved by unanimous consent. The bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 427-0 back in February. Industry observers say the bill would essentially codify long-anticipated guidelines the Department of Housing and Urban Development has drafted. Among other things, the bill requires...


July 21, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

GAO Lists Possible Barriers Preventing Wider Use of Private Flood Insurance, Regulatory and Competition Concerns

The Government Accountability Office said regulatory uncertainty and other barriers may inhibit the use of private flood insurance. The Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, H.R. 2901, which passed the House unanimously in April, expands flood insurance options by including private flood insurance. The bill also lifts certain federal restrictions placed on insurance companies and gives states more flexibility to license and regulate private flood insurance. The GAO reported...


July 15, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

CA Legislature Poised to Pass Protections for Widowed Homeowners. The California legislature is a step away from enacting legislation that would extend existing foreclosure protections in the state Homeowners Bill of Rights (HBOR) to widows, widowers and other heirs of deceased homeowners. The legislature passed the HBOR in 2012 to provide due process protections to homeowners and establish rules and procedures for communication between servicers and borrowers regarding options to avoid foreclosure. However, the bill’s protections did not extend to surviving spouses and successors-in-interest who may wish to continue paying the mortgage loan but could not assume the loan or afford the payment with the loss of the deceased homeowner’s income. Surviving family members may then seek a loan assumption or modification, only to be refused by the servicer because their names are not on the ...


July 15, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Mixed Jury Verdict in SEC Suit, Court Finds Repo Demand Analysis Unprotected, Morgan Stanley Loses

A New Mexico jury handed the Securities and Exchange Commission a split verdict in a 2008 financial crisis-related lawsuit against two senior executives of the now-defunct Thornburg Mortgage who were accused of fraud and misrepresenting the financial condition of the company. The jury found for defendants Larry Goldstone, former Thornburg CEO, and Clarence Simmons, former chief financial officer, on half of the counts but failed to reach a verdict on the most significant charges based on fraud and lying to the company’s outside auditors. In the lawsuit, the SEC alleged...


July 14, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD Secretary Fends Off Republican Attacks on Recent Changes to Distressed Note Sales Program

The Obama administration’s top housing official took a beating from Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee during a hearing this week over recent changes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Distressed Asset Sales Program, also known as DASP. For more than two hours, HUD Secretary Julian Castro faced a relentless attack by Republicans angered by what they perceived as preferential treatment given to nonprofits and local government over private investors in the DASP bidding process. The federal program sells pools of severely delinquent FHA mortgages to investors to help distressed borrowers stay in their homes and, at the same time, minimize losses to the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Most of the nonperforming loans in the DASP pools are...


July 14, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Sharp Divisions as House Considers Bill that Would Repeal DFA Provisions, Provide QM Status to Portfolio Loans

The debate on what caused the financial crisis and how the federal government should respond continued this week in the House Financial Services Committee. At a hearing on the Financial CHOICE Act sponsored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, Republicans and banking-industry participants largely supported the bill while Democrats and a consumer advocate offered dire warnings. The Financial CHOICE Act would allow banking institutions to opt in to a regulatory system that puts an emphasis on capital. Under the bill, firms with an average leverage ratio of at least 10 percent would be functionally exempt from provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, Basel III capital and liquidity standards and other regulations. “Freeing well-capitalized, well-managed financial firms from the chokehold of an overly intrusive, heavily politicized regulatory regime will help create...


July 14, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lawmakers, Industry Groups Inundate FHFA With Letters Voicing Housing Policy Concerns

A bipartisan group of senators is urging Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt not to take any steps that could possibly lead to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being released from conservatorship. Their letter sent last week is one of several in the past two months that Watt has received from various groups reiterating their positions on housing finance reform. Senate Republicans Bob Corker (TN), Mike Crapo (ID) and Dean Heller (NV), along with Democrats Mark Warner (VA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Jon Tester (MT), emphasized the need for comprehensive reform legislation over “any unilateral action” by the administration. “That is why Congress included a provision in the 2016 omnibus legislation which restricted the release of Treasury’s shares in the government-sponsored enterprises,” they wrote. “The passage of this provision reasserted the desire of Congress to have a say in determining the fate of Fannie and Freddie.” But the lawmakers acknowledged...


July 11, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

House Spending Bill Would Replace CFPB Director With a Commission

The Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are looking a little more serious about pushing legislation that would change the leadership structure of the CFPB from that of a single director to a five-member commission and subject the bureau to the congressional appropriations process. Last week, the full House passed appropriations legislation with provisions that would do just that. Other language would restrict the CFPB’s ability to limit payday lenders, halt the bureau’s efforts to end forced arbitration clauses in credit card contracts, and rescind the agency’s guidance on indirect automobile lending. One additional provision would defund the CFPB’s efforts to stop what it calls predatory lending to borrowers looking to purchase a manufactured home, and another would make ...


July 8, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

DeMarco's Reform Plan Says Turn GSEs into Insurance Companies

Former Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Ed DeMarco said the GSEs should operate as lender-owned entities that sell insurance against borrower defaults. DeMarco, along with Michael Bright, director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets, published the housing reform plan last week. They said a long-term housing finance decision is needed. “Meaningful reform must be achieved, the vast majority of policymakers say, yet the decade anniversary of the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac looms,” they said. “The FHFA was never envisioned as the permanent manager of the enterprises.” DeMarco and Blight suggest turning the GSEs into mutual insurance companies. In this scenario...


July 7, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Predatory Lending Comes to the Fore as SCOTUS Opts to Take Cases Involving Miami vs. Wells, BofA

Mortgage lenders may get greater clarity on the legal question of just who may sue them for alleged racial discrimination, after the Supreme Court of the United States announced recently it would take on separate lawsuits filed by the city of Miami against Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The city accused the pair of perpetrating discriminatory mortgage lending within its jurisdiction over a long period of time. The city alleged that the banks’ conduct violated the Fair Housing Act in that they intentionally discriminated against minority borrowers and that their conduct had a disparate impact, resulting in an unbalanced number of foreclosures on minority-owned properties. The precise legal issue before the high court is...


July 1, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Inflation Adjustments Raise Fines For Violating FHA, VA, GNMA Rules

Lenders will face higher penalties for violations of agency rules and regulations as the FHA and the Department of Veterans Affairs adjust their respective maximum civil monetary penalties for inflation. The adjustments are mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which also requires publication of an interim final rule showing the current and adjusted penalty amounts. Effective June 22, 2016, VA’s maximum civil monetary penalties for false loan guaranty certification increased from $10,000 to $21,563, and from $5,500 to $10,781 for fraudulent claims or statements in any VA program. Comments on the VA interim final rule must be received on or before Aug. 22, 2016. Meanwhile, the FHA also is making inflation adjustments for its maximum civil penalties through an interim final rule that will take effect Aug. 15, 2016, the day before the ...


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...


Poll

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to all-time low of 1.34% recently. How much better will originations be at your shop in the second half compared to 1H, if at all?

Better by 1% to 10%.
Better by 11% to 25%.
Off the charts better. Applications are great now.
Worse than 1H, but not by much.
A lot worse. But not sure on the damage.

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