Legislative Issues

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

April 17, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Small Lender Groups Seek Changes to Johnson-Crapo Proposal as Liberal Senators Disparage Bill’s Chances

The drumbeat of opposition to the Senate’s housing finance reform legislation grew louder this week after a coalition of small lender groups said the proposal needs to be modified. Some lawmakers are openly disparaging the bill’s prospects, prompting open speculation that the scheduled April 29 markup will be postponed. The bipartisan housing-finance reform bill crafted by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new secondary-market structure through which a variety of private entities could issue mortgage-backed securities with a partial government guaranty. It specifically provides for one or more mutually-owned companies that would provide access for smaller lenders. The proposed legislation also sets up...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Rejects Industry Plea to Lower MIPs

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante quashed any industry hope of seeing mortgage insurance premiums lowered at this time, saying that while the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has shown some improvement, full recovery is still far off. In remarks during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Advocacy Conference this week, Galante also defended a provision in the president’s FY 2015 budget proposal seeking statutory authority for the FHA to collect an administrative fee from lenders to help fund quality control improvements. Both issues are high up on the MBA’s lobbying priorities as members gathered in Washington, DC, this week to meet with lawmakers and their staff to discuss FHA and other key industry concerns. Galante said the Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently focused on strengthening the MMI Fund and expanding access to credit for all qualified borrowers. The FHA raised pricing five times from ...


April 10, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Advocates Laud Senate Reform Bill Housing Trust Fund Provisions; House GOP Urges Continued Non-Payments

Affordable housing advocates are praising the leadership of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for including a “robust dedicated source of revenue” for the National Housing Trust Fund in their bipartisan housing-finance reform legislation. A provision of the legislation filed by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, would expand both the base and the rate for the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund. Current law provides...


April 10, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD Says It’s Too Soon to Roll Back Premiums; FHA Insurance Fund Is Not Completely Healed

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante has rejected mortgage industry calls to lower mortgage insurance premiums, saying that while the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is on the mend it still has not fully recovered from the impact of massive legacy losses. Speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC, this week, Galante said the Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently focused on strengthening the fund and expanding access to credit for all qualified borrowers. She reminded lenders that mortgage premium increases – five hikes from 2008 to 2013 – were necessary to protect the MMIF and properly price for the risk the FHA is assuming. “The MMI Fund is...


April 10, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Opposition to Senate GSE Reform Mounts as Shareholder Advocate Predicts Bill Will ‘Collapse Under Its Own Weight’

An array of advocacy groups – both well established and newly formed – have stepped up their lobbying efforts as the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee moves toward a scheduled markup of increasingly controversial mortgage-finance reform legislation. A lot of the noise is coming from disenfranchised investors in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac junior preferred stock and common stock who want to scuttle the bipartisan reform bill put together by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID. Their legislation is silent on the fate of public stockholders of the two government-sponsored enterprises, and it leaves intact the conservatorship arrangement that strips virtually all the capital from the two GSEs every quarter. In a press conference called by Investors Unite, a group of individual GSE shareholders, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s Shareholder Respect, CapWealth Advisor CEO Tim Pagliara predicted...


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

House Dems Seek GSE Jobless Moratorium via Bill, Regulation

Whether by legislation or by regulation, a group of House Democrats want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give unemployed homeowners a break by issuing a foreclosure moratorium. Last month, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA, filed H.R. 4255, the Stop Foreclosures Due to Congressional Dysfunction Act, which would require the Federal Housing Finance Agency to establish a six-month moratorium on GSE-guaranteed mortgages held by homeowners who have lost their emergency unemployment compensation “due to congressional inaction.” The bill requires that borrowers must have been in good standing prior to losing their unemployment benefits in order to be eligible for the temporary forbearance.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Senate GSE Reform Faces House Competition, Growing Opposition

Mounting opposition from both the left and the right, a month-long wait to mark-up and newly filed competing legislation in the House could doom the already tenuous effort by two senior senators to move a GSE reform bill this year, say industry observers.Given the need for speed and a closing legislative window, last week’s announcement by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, that the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee would mark up their housing finance reform package on April 29 – well over a month after the bill’s initial March 16 rollout – is not seen as a good sign.


April 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Keeps 2014 ‘Scorecard’ Under Wraps; Watt May Change What Agency Measures

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s annual “performance goal” scorecard for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been issued to the two government-sponsored enterprises for comment and likely will be released by month’s end, according to industry officials briefed on the matter. But as for its contents going forward, that’s a different matter entirely. The 2013 version set forth...


April 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Waters’ GSE Reform Bill Could Influence Senate Banking Markup of Johnson-Crapo

Rep. Maxine Waters’ housing finance reform legislation may go nowhere in the House, but parts of it could be taken up by members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee who so far have not signed on with the bipartisan reform bill that’s to be marked up at the end of April. The California Democrat’s bill differs from the Senate bill in two key ways: it requires that the private market take a smaller first-loss position in a future government-insured program for mortgage-backed securities, and it sets up a lender-owned cooperative as the sole issuer of the new MBS. The bill pushed by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, would require...


March 31, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

House Republicans Slam CFPB Over Advisory Council Secrecy

House Republicans have found – or been given – yet another axe to grind against the CFPB: the confidentiality or downright secrecy associated with the bureau’s advisory council meetings. Currently, the CFPB has four such groups: the Community Bank Advisory Council, the Credit Union Advisory Council, the Academic Research Council and the Consumer Advisory Board. The groups are made up of industry representatives, consumer activists and academics.


March 28, 2014 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Non-Agency Players Eye GSE Reform Proposal

Bipartisan mortgage-reform legislation under consideration in the Senate could open significant opportunities for firms currently involved in the non-agency market, according to industry analysts. Firms with jumbo conduit operations and real estate investment trusts that invest in non-agency mortgage-backed securities could see their potential markets increase significantly under the proposed system. Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, have proposed a ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

House Democrats Tout More Flexibility for Private First-Loss Share in New MBS Reform Proposal

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, this week unveiled a mortgage-finance reform bill that would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a private cooperatively-owned entity that would issue a new form of conventional MBS backed by a mix of public and government credit support. The “Housing Opportunities Move the Economy Forward Act” adds a few new twists to the notion of creating an explicit government MBS guaranty that would stand behind a first-loss position funded by the private sector. Rather than allow a variety of private-sector firms to issue these securities, as the bipartisan Senate bill would, Waters’ proposal would create a single, cooperatively-owned entity that would be open to all lenders. The regulator of this new market, the National Mortgage Finance Administration, would have...


March 27, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Johnson-Crapo Housing Finance Reform Bill Could Lead to Higher Mortgage Rates

The cost of borrowing for many homebuyers could rise as a consequence of the Senate’s newest housing finance reform legislation if it’s enacted as is, according to an analysis by Barclays. The bill, filed last week by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new mortgage-backed securities program for conventional mortgages that requires private investors to take the first 10 percent of losses. The Barclays analysis found...


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Bill to Open FHLBs to Privately Insured CUs Clears Committee

Legislation that would allow privately insured credit unions access to the Federal Home Loan Bank system cleared committee last week and is headed to the House floor for a vote. Introduced in December by Rep. Steve Stivers, R-OH, and Joyce Beatty, D-OH, H.R. 3584, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2013, would amend the Federal Home Loan Bank Act to allow privately insured credit unions to be eligible for FHLBank membership. H.R. 3584 was voted out of the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 55-0.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Experts: Johnson-Crapo Bill Prospects Mixed in Election Year

Most industry observers expect it will be too tall of an order for Congress to finish the difficult task of enacting GSE reform in 2014 amid the high-stakes mid-term elections and with political control of the Senate up for grabs. However, some experts note that lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, may become more open to compromise and horse trading closer to the end of the year if it means getting legislation to the President’s desk rather than risk starting over next year with a potentially GOP-controlled 114th Congress.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Johnson, Crapo Issue Draft Senate GSE Reform Legislation

Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, finally delivered this week their long-awaited mortgage reform bill that provides for a wind down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and create in their place a new mortgage insurance entity to act as a new federal backstop. The 442-page draft by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sets a five-year timeline to shut down the two GSEs, while creating the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp., a utility that securitizes and guarantees mortgages.


March 21, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSE Reform in Congress, Investor Lawsuits, Impact On Industry Will Influence Housing Debate in 2014

The agreement among Republicans, Democrats and the White House for the need to act and the heightened urgency to pass legislation before a potential shift in power after the mid-term elections could determine the outlook for housing reform legislation in 2014, according to analysts. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform efforts in Congress and investor lawsuits are helping shape the housing debate this year, and the recently issued Johnson-Crapo draft legislation is the bill to watch going forward, said Bloomberg Industries analysts this week. The profitability of the two government-sponsored enterprises in 2013 not only fueled...


March 21, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Bipartisan Senate Housing-Finance Reform Bill Mandates Preservation, Maintenance of TBA Market

The mortgage securitization sector is pleased that the bipartisan agreement between Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-ID, on housing-finance reform includes a small but critical provision to support the to-be-announced market. The 442-page draft sets a five-year timeline to shut down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and in their place create a new Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp., a utility that securitizes and guarantees mortgages. The government’s MBS guaranty would be supported by a 10 percent first-loss piece funded by private investors. The FMIC would approve...


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Congressional Democrats Hit DOJ Over Lack Of Prosecution of Fraudulent Mortgage Practices

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill are peeved that the Justice Department is not making the prosecution of mortgage lender and servicer abuses much of a priority, and they are pressing Attorney General Eric Holder for a meeting to discuss what to do about it. Their ire was raised by a recent report from the DOJ’s Inspector General that found, among other things, that the department had not prioritized the investigation of mortgage fraud and that it reported unreliable, inflated statistics about the scope of its prosecutorial efforts. In a letter to the DOJ, Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, and Maxine Waters, D-CA, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, focused...


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Johnson-Crapo GSE Reform Bill Would Wind Down, Replace Fannie, Freddie in Five Years … Give or Take

The top Democrat and Republican of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee this week delivered their long-awaited mortgage reform bill which aims to put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of business within a half-decade window, but with a couple potential leases on the lives of the two government-sponsored enterprises. In a rare Sunday filing, the legislation authored by Senate Banking Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-ID, would set up a powerful new agency, the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp., which could assume control of the GSEs within six months of enactment and begin writing new “catastrophic” mortgage-securities guaranties. Based on the bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Bob Corker, R-TN, and Mark Warner, D-VA last summer, the new bill adds...


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

MIs Laud Johnson-Crapo’s MI Provisions, But Want More Clarity on MI Role in New Order

The private mortgage-insurance industry said it is pleased that the bipartisan agreement between Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Ranking Minority Member Michael Crapo, R-ID, on housing finance reform recognizes the important role of private MI. The newly launched U.S. Mortgage Insurers said it supports Congress’ efforts to achieve housing finance reform, all of which recognize the importance of and the need for standard MI coverage on loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Privately, MIs say...


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Jumbo Share of Mortgage Originations Continued To Climb in 2013, With Big Gains in Non-Agency

The mortgage market has gradually shifted upstream since the collapse of the housing market and the painstakingly slow recovery, with big-ticket mortgages capturing a growing share of new originations, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis. Mortgages exceeding the traditional conventional loan limit of $417,000 accounted for 19.8 percent of new originations in 2013, up from 16.2 percent during the previous year. And with overall mortgage-production volume slumping over the second half of 2013, the jumbo share of new originations rose to 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter. The secondary-market agencies accounted...[Includes three data charts]


March 17, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

House Panel OKs Bill to Amend CFPB Process for Defining ‘Rural’

The House Financial Services Committee late last week passed bipartisan legislation that would provide an alternate way of defining “rural” for purposes of the CFPB’s qualified mortgage standard so a bank could make its case to the bureau as to why a jurisdiction should be fit into that category. H.R. 2672 would direct the CFPB to establish an application process under which a person who lives or does business in a state may apply to have an area designated as a rural area for the purpose of exempting certain loans from the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule if that area has not already been designated as such by the bureau.


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Eminent Domain Bill Could Bankrupt Jurisdictions

Penalties in legislation that would restrict the use of eminent domain to resolve foreclosure problems could cripple state and local governments financially and provide no relief to property owners, warned the bill’s critics. H.R. 1944, the Private Rights Protection Act, would prohibit city and county governments that get federal funding for economic development from using their eminent domain powers to seize underwater mortgage notes from investors and unilaterally restructure the loans before selling them to other investors. Violators would be ineligible for federal economic development funds for two fiscal years following a court’s finding of guilt. The bill also provides the attorney general with broader enforcement authority. The necessity for legislation arose in the wake of efforts last year by certain municipalities in California to ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Industry Balks at FHA ‘Administrative’ Fee

More lenders have expressed concern about a provision in the proposed FY 2015 federal budget seeking congressional authority to collect $30 million to help improve and strengthen FHA quality assurance reviews. Under the president’s budget proposal, FHA would collect an “administrative fee” from FHA lenders to implement the quality assurance (QA) changes needed to provide a clearer, more transparent picture of enforcement going forward. The improvements are meant to provide lenders not only information about early payment default or other kinds of default characteristics through loan sampling but also an accurate snapshot of their “manufacturing risk,” which is the risk that a loan is not underwritten properly. “The purpose is for lenders to have the information six to nine months after they have originated the loan as opposed to ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Senate Bill Would Maintain High-Cost Loan Limits

Bipartisan legislation in the Senate to reform the government-sponsored enterprises would maintain the high-cost conforming loan limits, according to a summary of the draft bill released this week. The bill signals a shift as other GSE reform efforts in Congress have contemplated a gradual reduction of high-cost conforming loan limits. Leaders of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs announced this week that they reached an agreement on what will be included ...


March 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Johnson, Crapo Announce Pending Senate Housing Finance Reform Bill as Legislative Time Window Closes

The Democrat and Republican heads of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee this week finally announced an agreement on comprehensive housing finance reform legislation but the release of a detailed bill for public consumption remains forthcoming. For now, it’s impossible to tell how the agreement reached by Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-ID, is any different than the bipartisan bill introduced early last year by Sens. Bob Corker, R-TN, and Mark Warner, D-VA. Johnson and Crapo are expected to release draft legislative language later this week, and move to a markup “in the coming weeks.” Like Corker-Warner, the Johnson-Crapo agreement includes...


March 7, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Cracks in the Façade of a Once Promising Market: Securities Backed by Single-Family Rental Property

Although investors and participants initially showed a great deal of interest in the fledgling market for bonds backed by single-family rental properties, rating agencies are starting to take a closer look at the business and don’t like everything they see. “Rising U.S. home prices have pushed down rental yields in many single-family rental markets, a trend that will likely discourage some institutional investors from buying distressed properties and converting them into rental units,” according to a recent report from Moody’s Investor Service. The rating agency adds...


March 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Clears Way for Final Flood Legislation

Legislation that would block implementation of premium rate increases in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act passed the House of Representatives this week by a bipartisan 306 to 91 vote. The passage of H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, paves the way for both the House and the Senate to iron out the differences between their bills in conference. The Senate passed its version on Jan. 30. H.R. 3370 would reduce...


Poll

What do you think is the biggest hurdle to meeting the new QM standards in the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule?

A debt-to-income (DTI) cap of 43%.

48%

A 3% cap on points and fees.

29%

An interest rate cap of the average prime offered rate (APOR) plus 1.5%.

23%

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