Legislative Issues

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

April 24, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CSBS Asks Congress to Grant QM Status to Portfolio Loans

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors urged the leadership of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to enact legislation that would grant qualified-mortgage status under the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule for loans held in portfolio, as part of a broader set of proposals to stimulate economic growth. The CSBS was one of a number of groups that responded to an invitation by the banking committee to provide ideas for stimulating economic activity. “State regulators have long supported a flexible approach to underwriting for institutions that retain mortgages in portfolio because interests are inherently aligned between consumers and lenders that retain 100 percent of the risk of default,” said the CSBS. “One solution that would tailor the requirement to the ...


April 24, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Draft of CHOICE Act 2.0 Would Make Multiple Changes to CFPB

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, last week released a detailed discussion draft of his pending revised Financial CHOICE Act that would extensively revise the mortgage regulatory landscape. Issues of interest to the mortgage industry include manufactured housing, the definition of points and fees, a qualified-mortgage safe harbor for loans held in portfolio, regulatory relief for community banks, transitional licensing for loan originators, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act records maintenance and disclosure requirements, and HMDA data privacy. There would be some drastic changes made to the CFPB, too, most notably the elimination of its rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement authority and its market monitoring functions and turning it into a law enforcement agency. Other CFPB-related changes include: Changing the name ...


April 21, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

SFIG Weighs in on GSE Credit -Scoring Alternative Bill

The Structured Finance Industry Group is worried that the Credit Competition Score Act of 2017 could result in an excessive number of approaches to credit scoring. Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA, introduced H.R. 898 in February with Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ, and Terri Sewell, D-AL. The bill lets...


April 21, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Increased MWOB Biz in 2016, But Challenges Remain

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said it increased the number of minority and women-owned businesses it awarded contracts to in 2016. But several obstacles make expanding its business with MWOBs complicated. The agency recently released its annual report to Congress, which details initiatives and accomplishments during the year to increase diversity and inclusion. This year’s report also mentioned a diversity and inclusion program to examine the same practices within Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. In 2016, the FHFA expanded...


April 21, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Freddie Looks to Increase Mortgage-Ready MH Buyers

Freddie Mac introduced a curriculum to help potential manufactured homebuyers in Kentucky get a mortgage and is now looking to increase lender participation in the program. The GSE partnered with Next Step Network, a housing intermediary based in Louisville, and three nonprofit housing counseling agencies to create the online education curriculum aimed at better preparing Kentucky homebuyers with blemished credit histories. Since the initiative was rolled out...


April 21, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBA Fleshes Out Details on Mortgage-Reform Plan To Convert Fannie and Freddie to New ‘Utilities’

The Mortgage Bankers Association is sticking with its proposal to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac alive, but with new charters, while inviting other players to compete with the two giants in the securitization of conventional mortgages. The trade group this week proposed a utility-like model for the re-christened government-sponsored enterprises. They would inherit the personnel and systems the GSEs now have, but become limited-purpose, publicly owned securitization businesses under tight government regulation. Other entities could apply...


April 20, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Fears Doubling Standard Tax Deduction Would Diminish Mortgage Interest Deduction, Crimp Housing

Industry experts are concerned that significantly raising the standard federal income-tax deduction could make the mortgage-interest deduction less valuable and hurt the housing market. The Republican “blueprint” for a massive overhaul of federal income taxes proposes boosting the standard deduction from $12,600 to $24,000 for joint filers. This could mean fewer taxpayers would itemize their deductions and claim the MID. The Community Home Lenders Association opposes...


April 20, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Calls for Extensive Changes to CFPB Mortgage Rules as Senate Eyeballs Dodd-Frank

Most of the discussion about lender relief from the compliance burdens under the Dodd-Frank Act has revolved around the Financial CHOICE Act sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX. But the wheels are starting to move in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, where Chairman Mike Crapo, R-ID, has begun receiving input from industry trade groups about the kind of changes they would like to see. The lion’s share of the industry’s concerns have to do with the mortgage rules promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whether it’s the integrated disclosure rule, the ability-to-repay rule or the penchant the bureau seems to have for bypassing the public rulemaking process through the use of consent orders. The Mortgage Bankers Association urged...


April 14, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Lenders Seek Changes to ATR Rule

Congress should make a number of changes to the ability-to-repay rule that would encourage more non-agency lending, according to the Consumer Mortgage Coalition. The CMC represents lenders, servicers and service providers. “The liability for mortgage lending is now so severe that private capital has left the mortgage market and has stayed away,” Anne Canfield, executive director of the CMC, said in testimony last week submitted to a subcommittee of the ...


April 14, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Chase Pushes for More Non-Agency Lending

Private capital needs to return to the mortgage market to make the market less dependent on taxpayers, according to JPMorgan Chase. The company dedicated portions of its latest annual report to call for a number of changes that could increase non-agency lending. According to Chase, a “healthy” non-agency mortgage-backed security market hasn’t resumed eight years after the financial crisis because housing finance reform and other securitization standards ...


April 10, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

New York State Aligns State Law With TRID. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, recently signed into law Senate Bill S982, legislation that tweaks the existing state legal definition of the “consummation” of a mortgage loan to synchronize with the Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure Rule promulgated by the CFPB.... Industry Need to Get TRID-Compliant Boosts DocMagic’s Bottom Line. Industry vendor DocMagic, based in Torrance, CA, late last week reported a 42 percent increase in revenue for 2016, due in large part to industry demand for products that enable compliance with the CFPB’s Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure Rule, otherwise known as TRID....


April 10, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Looks to Enhance Protection of Consumer Data in HMDA Rule

More changes, or at least additional guidance, may be in the offing for the pending Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is scheduled to take effect next year, agency Director Richard Cordray said last week during an appearance on Capitol Hill. During a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA, pointed out, “Studies have shown that in some geographic areas, it is possible to determine the identity of nearly 100 percent of the borrowers using the data that lenders are required to collect and report by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. This is despite the fact that that act supposedly provides for anonymous data in its final form.” Sherman also ...


April 10, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Barney Frank Accuses GOP of Hypocrisy in Opposing CFPB

During a conference call last week with members of the news media, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, the one-time chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, defended the CFPB and criticized congressional Republicans for their attack on the agency, accusing them of hypocrisy on multiple fronts. “I thought Republicans were concerned about excessive power in the executive branch, that they want to defend their congressional prerogative,” said Frank. But during the debate on the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress decided quite consciously that we would have an independent, single director, independent in the sense that the president could not fire that person at will,” he noted. “That was a congressional restriction on presidential appointment power, no question about it.” But now, apparently their ...


April 7, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Some Still Looking to Suspend or Alter Dividend Payments

There are multiple sides to the Treasury sweep debate but despite rumors to the contrary, the GSEs sent the bulk of their fourth-quarter earnings to the Treasury at the end of March, as scheduled. While some advocate for suspending the profit sweep, others question whether the timing of future payments could be altered to reduce the likelihood that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac might need another bailout. In early March, industry officials and lobbyists began voicing their belief that the FHFA, possibly with Treasury’s blessing, might alter or suspend the quarterly dividends. One possibility floated was changing the four quarterly payments to one annual one. Speculation may have been fueled...


March 31, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

Correction: There was an error in the total number reported for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage originations in 2015 in the March 17, 2017, issue of Inside FHA/VA Lending. The correct total is $16.0 billion. HUD Secretary Ben Carson Visits Dallas/Ft. Worth. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson continued his national listening tour this week in Dallas/Ft. Worth to learn more about HUD’s public housing programs. Carson embarked on a national listening tour March 15 at a Detroit high school bearing his name President Trump recently released his proposed preliminary FY 2018 budget, which showed among other things a drastic $6.2 billion reduction in funding for public housing assistance and affordable housing. Carson said the discretionary budget plan promotes fiscal responsibility at HUD by “promoting better efficiencies and ...


March 31, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

USDA Extends Use of Two-Tiered Income Limits for SFH Programs

The USDA Rural Development has issued guidance instructing approved lenders to continue using the two-tiered income limit pilot for the agency’s Section 502 single-family housing programs. Launched in June last year, the pilot bands together the income limits of households with one to four members and with 5-8 members. The USDA banding process significantly increases the number of rural households that are eligible for Rural Development’s direct home loan program and the Home Repair Loan and Grant Program, the agency said. The pilot is based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s one-to-eight person income limits, which the department releases every year. Until last year, the USDA had been using the HUD income limits for its single- and multifamily housing programs, with the exception of the USDA’s “hold harmless” clause and the moderate-income banding allowed in the ...


March 31, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Former Investment Banker Craig Phillips Is the GSE ‘Point Person’ on GSE Reform

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made it clear after being nominated that resolving the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be a top priority for his department. And although Mnuchin will clearly be a player in the debate, the policy “ax” on the issue will be Craig Phillips, recently tapped to serve as counselor with an agenda that includes fixing the two government-sponsored enterprises. Most mortgage professionals have applauded President Trump’s pick of Mnuchin and now Phillips. Mnuchin was the former head of Goldman Sachs’ MBS department, and Phillips was a former managing director of Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income division. Phillips was...


March 30, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lenders Push for Changes to QM Standards; Some Divisions on Portfolio QM Proposal

With House Republicans set to resume work on legislation to overhaul provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, mortgage lenders testified at a hearing this week calling for changes to standards for qualified mortgages. “As a result of some of the constraints in the QM definition, many borrowers who should qualify for a QM are unable to access safe, sustainable and affordable mortgage credit,” said David Motley, president of Colonial Companies and chairman-elect of the Mortgage Bankers Association. He made the comments at a hearing by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. The MBA urged...


March 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

CFPB Poised to Commence Five-Year Review of Its Major Mortgage Rules. The CFPB is getting ready to start, as per the Dodd-Frank Act, its five-year evaluation of some of the significant mortgage rulemakings it has promulgated thus far, according to a recent account by Politico, as cited by Pavitra Bacon, an associate in the Washington, DC, office of the Ballard Spahr law firm, in an online blog posting.... Will We See CHOICE Act 2.0 This Week? With less than a week left before the end of March, one well-placed industry lobbyist is still holding to the prediction that Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, will in fact introduce another incarnation of his Financial CHOICE act by the end of the month....


March 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

More Uniformity Needed Between QM Standards from CFPB, HUD

With the topic of regulatory reform experiencing a resurgence of attention since the Trump administration moved into the White House, the U.S. mortgage insurance industry is calling for greater uniformity when it comes to the nitty gritty details of the ability-to-repay rule and its qualified-mortgage standard. One area of particular concern for mortgage insurers is the differences between the CFPB’s QM rule for conventional mortgages and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s QM rule for FHA-insured mortgages. These differences include different debt-to-income caps, different formulae to calculate points and fees, and different standards for higher-cost mortgages. According to U.S. Mortgage Insurers, these differences incentivize greater reliance on programs of the U.S. government, increasing risk to taxpayers. “While consistency and ...


March 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Industry Hopes to Undo Parts of Dodd-Frank on Three Fronts

The new political landscape in Washington, DC, has intersected with the judicial movement on the PHH Corp. v. CFPB case to give the mortgage industry some hope that the bureau can be scaled back. But the task is complicated by the fact that the new administration is headed by a political novice, and by the fact that the industry itself is not particularly unified about what kind of changes should be made. During a recent webinar sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance, three top industry attorneys discussed some of the prospects for change on three separate fronts of the federal government: the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. If there’s a single theme or take-away from the event,...


March 24, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

MBA: Don’t Bet on GSE PSPA Change. Mortgage Bankers Association President Dave Stevens said this week he expects no movement by the Trump Treasury Department to modify the preferred stock purchase agreements governing the GSE bailouts that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to build retained capital. In an interview with IMFnews, Stevens – who has been in touch with the new administration on GSE reform – noted that the PSPAs do not necessarily require the payment of GSE dividends to Treasury on a quarterly basis. (A commitment fee payment may be required though.) Smaller trade groups – though not the MBA – have asked the Federal Housing Finance...


March 24, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Amends Freedom of Information Act Regulation

The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued an interim rule last week that changed some of the components of its Freedom of Information Act regulation, including the fee categories. The interim rule gives notice about the circumstances in which the FHFA can extend its response time to the FOIA request and tells when it should notify the person requesting the information about their right to seek dispute resolution services. In the new FOIA rule, the agency is required to provide a minimum of 90 days for requestors to file an administrative appeal and must notify requesters about available dispute resolution services.


March 23, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Moving Vigorously Ahead with Enforcement Actions, as Prospect Mortgage RESPA Case Reveals

With the enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act at stake, and a hostile occupant in the Oval Office, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is certainly not being bashful about continuing its regulation-by-enforcement modus operandi. The recent enforcement action against Prospect Mortgage is just the latest example. According to Colgate Selden, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the law firm of Alston & Bird, the case is important because “it indicates the CFPB is moving full-speed ahead regardless” of the recent court rulings in PHH v. CFPB. This case is...


March 23, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MI Companies Push for Change to QM Points- And-Fees Calculation, Aligning GSE and FHA Standards

Congress should pass legislation setting uniform standards for qualified mortgages, according to the U.S. Mortgage Insurers trade group. USMI raised particular concerns about differences in the points-and-fees calculation for FHA mortgages compared with the standard for mortgages delivered to the government-sponsored enterprises. As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established standards for QMs. Certain federal regulators, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, were allowed to implement QM standards that differed from the CFPB standards. USMI noted...


March 23, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Trump Administration Urges Court in PHH Case To Ditch CFPB ‘Removal Only for Cause’ Provision

The Trump administration late last week filed its amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and, as expected, sided with the lender this time around, but didn’t go as far as some had hoped it would. In its brief, the Department of Justice argued in support of eliminating the removal-only-for-cause protection that currently applies to the director of the CFPB. However, whereas PHH has argued that the CFPB be eliminated in its entirety, the Trump administration argued in favor of retaining the CFPB, but with a director removable at the will of the president. Currently, the director may be removed...


March 17, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Trump Proposes Drastic Cuts to 2018 HUD Discretionary Spending

The Trump administration has proposed deep budget cuts in 2018 for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but whether the agencies’ critical housing insurance programs would be affected is unclear. The cuts are part of the administration’s plan to reduce non-defense discretionary spending dramatically in order to fund increased defense spending and President Trump’s southern border wall, and to bring down a projected $9.4 trillion U.S. deficit over the next decade.Released this week, the preliminary 2018 budget seeks $40.7 billion in gross discretionary funding for HUD, $6.2 billion or 13.2 percent lower than the department’s approved spending in 2017. The $47.3 billion in discretionary budget authority enacted for fiscal 2017 does not include offsetting receipts from FHA and Ginnie Mae, which lowered the congressionally appropriated cost for ...


Poll

With the spring homebuying season in full swing, what percentage of your March 2017 application volume has been for “purchase” loans?

75% or higher

48%

50% to 74%

24%

30% to 49%

14%

Under 30%

14%