Legislative Issues

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

August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Senate Passes FY 2019 T-HUD Bill, Preserves Previous Funding Levels

On Aug. 1, the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 to pass a four-bill appropriations package that includes FY 2019 funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture housing programs. The bill passed without changes to program funding levels previously approved by Senate appropriators. The House Appropriations Committee has approved FY19 spending bills for both HUD and USDA. The full House, which is away for the summer break until Sept. 4, has not yet voted on the package. The Senate bill retains the previous fiscal year’s $400 billion in new loan commitments in the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and $30 billion for the general insurance and special risk insurance program, which include special purpose single- and multifamily loans, multifamily rental housing and condominiums. The bill also sets aside $550 billion for Ginnie Mae ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Treasury Urges HUD to Clarify FCA Materiality, Severity of Violations

A Treasury Department report called on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish clear standards for determining which mortgage-related violations and loan defects the Department of Justice should pursue under the False Claims Act. The report also recommended that DOJ ensure that materiality, for purposes of the FCA, is linked to the standards of the agency administering the program to which the claim has been filed. Furthermore, it urged both HUD and the DOJ to work together to clarify the process by which they can jointly resolve claims. The report was issued pursuant to President Trump’s February 2017 executive order establishing his administration’s policy to regulate the U.S. financial system according to a set of core principles. Both HUD and the DOJ have been successful in using the statute to prosecute FHA lenders who knowingly commit fraud or make ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

MBA Urges Congress to Fix Problem of ‘Orphaned’ VA Mortgage Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association called upon Congress to pass legislation to restore Ginnie Mae eligibility for so-called orphaned VA loans, which have caused a temporary disruption in the government-backed secondary market. In written testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last week, the MBA urged lawmakers to make technical corrections to restore the eligibility of certain Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans for pooling. The MBA estimated the VA orphan loan mess at roughly $500 million. Due to new loan seasoning requirements in the recently enacted Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, sime IRRRLs were rendered ineligible for Ginnie MBS pools. The loans were in transit when legislation addressing the problem of VA loan churning and serial refinancing became law in May. The new law’s seasoning provisions turned out to be ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

AI Objects to Appraisal Provisions in H.R. 299, Calls for Revisions

The appraisal industry is opposed to a legislative proposal that would make changes to how appraisals are procured for the VA home loan program. The appraisal measure is one of the key provisions in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 382-0 in June. The bill is now pending in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Blue Water Act would clarify presumptions relating to veterans’ exposure to herbicide, such as Agent Orange, during the Vietnam era and disability claims. The bill also proposes changes to the VA loan fee structure, including a proposed hike to the fees veterans, servicemembers and their spouses pay to obtain a VA-guaranteed home loan. The appraisal provision in H.R. 299 would allow VA appraisers to engage a third party to perform property inspections on their behalf. The provision addresses a problem with ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA, MBA Nix Bill Seeking to Raise Loan Fees to Pay for Vet Benefits

A legislative proposal to charge veterans, servicemembers and military spouses more for a VA home loan is getting heat from lenders and the Department of Veterans Affairs itself. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs last week, Paul Lawrence, VA undersecretary for benefits, warned that increasing VA loan fees would impose additional financial burdens on veterans who are trying to buy a home, making them more vulnerable to predatory lending. Fee-related proposals are included in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 382-0 in June and it is currently under consideration in the Senate. H.R. 229 would expand disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving on U.S. ships offshore or on the ground in Thailand and the Korean demilitarized ...


August 2, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Senate Lawmakers Consider Proposal to Increase VA Home Loan Fees, Abolish Cap on VA Jumbos

The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs is considering legislation that would raise the fee paid by veterans, servicemembers and reservists for having a VA guarantee on a mortgage loan. Proposed adjustments to the VA home loan fee is in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, which the House of Representatives approved on June 25. The bill primarily extends the presumption of service-related disability due to exposure to herbicides ...


July 27, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

USDA to Charge Lenders ‘Tech Fee’ For Use of Automated Loan System

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to begin charging lenders a fee on each guaranteed rural-housing home loan beginning Jan. 2, 2019, to fund future information-technology upgrades. In a notice published in the July 13 Federal Register, the agency said it expects to levy a $25 user fee for using the Rural Housing Service’s automated loan-guarantee systems. Comments are due Sept. 11, 2018The fee collection is authorized under the 2016 Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act as a “technology fee” to improve program delivery and “reduce burden to the public.” The authorized fee can be up to $50 per loan. It will be collected at closing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has been trying unsuccessfully to obtain authority from Congress to charge a similar fee to modernize its aging information technology. The USDA said it would notify lenders before the ...


July 27, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Lenders Seek Clarity on Eligibility of DACA Dreamers for Home Loans

Lenders will be asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development to clarify the eligibility of borrowers with deferred immigration status for an FHA-insured loan. A mortgage industry trade group is currently drafting a letter on “a series of technical FHA handbook recommendations,” including greater clarity on loan applications submitted by borrowers registered under the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA status was offered to children who were brought illegally into the U.S. by their parents or guardians but have been in the country for most of their lives. The program was created by the Obama administration as a way for recipients to work legally in the country while Congress could agree on what to do with them. The program faces uncertainty after President Trump rescinded it in September last year as part of his administration’s zero-tolerance immigration ...


July 26, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Reauthorizes NFIP, More Changes to ‘Points And Fees’ Definition; Senate Delays FHA Funding

The House of Representatives this week passed legislation extending the National Flood Insurance Program for another four months, while a House committee reported out a bill revising the definition of “points and fees” under the federal Truth in Lending Act.


July 20, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

AEI Panelists Said GSEs Growing Footprint Instead of Shrinking

The GSEs are picking winners, not helping to level the playing field and they are blurring the lines between primary and secondary market activities, according to panelists expressing concern over the mortgage giants’ growing market share. As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to introduce and test pilot programs, the industry questions why the GSEs appear to be expanding their activities instead of shrinking them. During a panel sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute late last week, six participants from several think tanks and the mortgage industry discussed some of the alleged...


July 20, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

Milken Examines Complications with DTS in Affordable Housing

The Milken Institute said the GSEs’ duty-to-serve policy is more complicated than other affordable housing reform issues because it forces the secondary market to boost lending in the primary market and assumes those private firms are underperforming. The conservative think tank published a paper this week authored by Michael Stegman and Phillip Swagel on the role of duty-to-serve in which it examined the policy and its potential impact on the mortgage market. While DTS currently encompasses manufactured housing, rural housing and affordable housing preservation, Milken said housing finance reform debates have centered on creating a DTS that includes areas beyond those three targets.


July 20, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Structure Unconstitutional, Treasury Sweep Completely Legal

A federal court held this week that the single-director structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by Director Mel Watt, violates the constitution. The ruling in Collins v. FHFA was handed down in Texas by a three judge-panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It represents the most recent major ruling in a number of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder cases filed against the federal government. “We found, after an in-depth examination, that the FHFA is excessively insulated from executive branch influence and is, therefore, structured in violation of the Constitution,” the judges state in their 83-page ruling. And although Congress can create an independent agency, the court determined that elected officials cannot insulate...


July 19, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Groups Press Capitol Hill to Extend Federal Flood Insurance Program as Another Sunset Nears

Twenty-two trade associations strongly urged House and Senate leadership to extend the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires at the end of the month, warning what inaction might do to home sales.


July 12, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

Industry Continues to Look for Ways to Fix the VA IRRRL ‘Orphan’ Loan Mess

The mortgage industry this week continued to look for a fix to the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan mess, which has imperiled roughly $500 million worth of government product that is now ineligible for Ginnie Mae securitization.


July 6, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Anxious About Impact of New California Privacy Bill on Mortgages

Routine financial transactions involving mortgages could face extreme headwinds under a new consumer data privacy bill passed last week in California. So much so that it prompted the Federal Housing Finance Agency to urge state lawmakers to consider the implications of the legislation to the mortgage market. The controversial consumer data privacy bill passed on June 28. It would allow consumers to opt-out of any type of data collection and give consumers the right to have any personal information deleted.


Poll

With mortgage production down noticeably this year from 2017, how many lenders might disappear via M&A or failure during the next 12 months?

10% or less. It’s not that bad out there.

17%

11% to 25%. It’s a challenging market.

48%

25% to 40%. It’s going to be very ugly.

24%

No opinion.

11%