Senate Approves Montgomery as FHA Commissioner

Finally, the Trump Administration has an FHA Commissioner.

By a comfortable 74-23 vote yesterday, the Senate approved Brian Montgomery as Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner, ending a nine-month process that saw his nomination repeatedly held up by Senate rules and a backlog of other Trump Administration nominations. Twenty-five Democrats joined 49 Republicans in approving Montgomery.

The Mortgage Bankers Association and other industry trade groups had pushed hard for Montgomery’s approval. Following yesterday’s vote, MBA President and CEO David H. Stevens, CMB, issued a statement, praising the Senate vote and pledging to work with Montgomery on key housing issues.

“MBA commends the Senate for confirming Brian Montgomery to lead the Federal Housing Administration,” Stevens said. “His experience, knowledge and ability will ensure his success in this position. MBA fully supports FHA’s efforts to assist low and moderate income Americans and first-time homebuyers. We look forward to working with Brian Montgomery and the FHA team, and continuing to work with Secretary Ben Carson, to ensure they succeed in their mission.”

This will be Montgomery’s second stint as FHA Commissioner, having previously served from 2005 to 2009, under both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations. During that period, MBA and other industry trade groups said in a March letter to Senate leadership, “he realized the immense counter-cyclical benefits that FHA can provide in the middle of the housing crisis. He also led HUD’s response to Hurricane Katrina and chaired the Hurricane Recovery and Response Center at HUD headquarters.”

The Trump Administration initially nominated Montgomery in September 2017. The Senate Banking favorably reported his nomination in late November by an 18-5 bipartisan vote; however, under Senate rules and procedures, and given that the full Senate did not hold a floor vote on his confirmation before year’s end, his nomination was “returned” at the end of 2017. He was nominated again in early January; the Banking Committee once more favorably reported his nomination later that month.

“Brian brings a wealth of housing knowledge and experience to HUD having held this position in two previous administrations, and we are excited to welcome him back to the Agency,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “FHA’s work is critical to HUD’s mission of advancing sustainable homeownership opportunities and quality affordable housing for all Americans. Brian understands this better than anyone and will be ready on day one to address the challenges of today’s housing market.”

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve with Secretary Carson and the team at HUD to further equal access to affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities and seek solutions to restore vitality to the housing market,” Montgomery said in a statement.

Ahead of yesterday’s Senate vote, the MBA Mortgage Action Alliance issued a Call to Action, urging its members to contact their senators in support Montgomery’s nomination (https://action.mba.org/mba/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=478493).

“FHA is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world and is a critically important source of affordable mortgage credit, especially for first-time and low- and moderate-income homebuyers,” said MBA Senior Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs Bill Killmer. “Competent leadership is needed for such an important agency and Brian’s years of experience, most notably his previous term as FHA Commissioner under both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, make him an excellent candidate for this position.”

Once on board, Montgomery will have his hands full. MBA has identified several critical management priorities, including enhancing efficiency and technology deployment, clarifying existing lender guidance and ensuring the long-term financial stability of the FHA program.

Source: Mortgage Link
May 24, 2018
Mike Sorohan msorohan@mba.org
 

NYMBA Talks to Congress

NYMBA members from across the country came went to Washington last week for the 2018 National Advocacy Conference to meet with elected officials and policymakers on behalf of the real estate finance industry.

Nearly 400 industry advocates from more than 40 states attended the MBA National Advocacy Conference last week. The program featured a slate of congressional and administration speakers, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; HUD Deputy Secretary Pamela Patenaude; Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and House Financial Services Committee members French Hill, R-Ark.; Denny Heck, D-Wash.; and Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind. On Apr. 25, more than 360 attendees participated in 230 official constituent meetings with their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill.

Source: Steve O’Connor soconnor@mba.org; Bill Killmer at (202) 557-2746 bkillmer@mba.org

Clearer Ruling is Good News, Borrowers / Lenders

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is amending Federal mortgage disclosure requirements under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) that are implemented in Regulation Z. The amendments relate to when a creditor may compare charges paid by or imposed on the consumer to amounts disclosed on a Closing Disclosure, instead of a Loan Estimate, to determine if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith.

The TILA-RESPA Rule requires creditors to provide consumers with good faith estimates of the loan terms and closing costs required to be disclosed on a Loan Estimate. Under the rule, an estimated closing cost is disclosed in good faith if the charge paid by or imposed on the consumer does not exceed the amount originally disclosed, subject to certain exceptions. In some circumstances, creditors may use revised estimates, instead of the estimate originally disclosed to the consumer, to compare to the charges actually paid by or imposed on the consumer for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. If the conditions for using such revised estimates are met, the creditor generally may provide revised estimates on a revised Loan Estimate or, in certain circumstances, on a Closing Disclosure. However, under the current rule, circumstances may arise in which a cost increases but the creditor is unable to use an otherwise permissible revised estimate on either a Loan Estimate or a Closing Disclosure for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. This situation, which may arise when the creditor has already provided a Closing Disclosure to the consumer when it learns about the cost increase, occurs because of the intersection of timing rules regarding the provision of revised estimates. This has been referred to in industry as a “gap” or “black hole” in the TILA-RESPA Rule.

The Bureau understands that these circumstances have led to uncertainty in the market and created implementation challenges that may have consequences for both consumers and creditors. If creditors cannot pass increased costs to consumers in the specific transactions where the costs arise, creditors may spread the costs across all consumers by pricing their loan products with added margins. The Bureau also understands that some creditors may be denying applications, even after providing the Closing Disclosure, in some circumstances where the creditor cannot pass otherwise permissible cost increases directly to affected consumers, which can have negative effects for those consumers. For these reasons, in July 2017, the Bureau proposed to address the issue by specifically providing that creditors may use Closing Disclosures to reflect changes in costs for purposes of determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith, regardless of when the Closing Disclosure is provided relative to consummation (2017 Proposal or “the proposal”).  The Bureau is finalizing those amendments as proposed, with minor clarifying changes. To view the complete ruling, click here.

CFPB closes “gap” in TILA-RESPA Rule

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is amending Federal mortgage disclosure requirements under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) that are implemented in Regulation Z. The amendments relate to when a creditor may compare charges paid by or imposed on the consumer to amounts disclosed on a Closing Disclosure, instead of a Loan Estimate, to determine if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith.

The TILA-RESPA Rule requires creditors to provide consumers with good faith estimates of the loan terms and closing costs required to be disclosed on a Loan Estimate. Under the rule, an estimated closing cost is disclosed in good faith if the charge paid by or imposed on the consumer does not exceed the amount originally disclosed, subject to certain exceptions. In some circumstances, creditors may use revised estimates, instead of the estimate originally disclosed to the consumer, to compare to the charges actually paid by or imposed on the consumer for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. If the conditions for using such revised estimates are met, the creditor generally may provide revised estimates on a revised Loan Estimate or, in certain circumstances, on a Closing Disclosure. However, under the current rule, circumstances may arise in which a cost increases but the creditor is unable to use an otherwise permissible revised estimate on either a Loan Estimate or a Closing Disclosure for purposes of determining whether an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. This situation, which may arise when the creditor has already provided a Closing Disclosure to the consumer when it learns about the cost increase, occurs because of the intersection of timing rules regarding the provision of revised estimates. This has been referred to in industry as a “gap” or “black hole” in the TILA-RESPA Rule.

The Bureau understands that these circumstances have led to uncertainty in the market and created implementation challenges that may have consequences for both consumers and creditors. If creditors cannot pass increased costs to consumers in the specific transactions where the costs arise, creditors may spread the costs across all consumers by pricing their loan products with added margins. The Bureau also understands that some creditors may be denying applications, even after providing the Closing Disclosure, in some circumstances where the creditor cannot pass otherwise permissible cost increases directly to affected consumers, which can have negative effects for those consumers. For these reasons, in July 2017, the Bureau proposed to address the issue by specifically providing that creditors may use Closing Disclosures to reflect changes in costs for purposes of determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith, regardless of when the Closing Disclosure is provided relative to consummation (2017 Proposal or “the proposal”).  The Bureau is finalizing those amendments as proposed, with minor clarifying changes. To view the complete ruling, click here.

MBA Submits Comment Letter on CFPB RFI on Civil Investigative Demands

On Apr. 26, MBA submitted comments on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Request for Information on Civil Investigative Demands. MBA’s comments communicated many of the industry’s concerns with the CID process. In addition to offering comments related to the CID process, MBA reiterated its support for a broad reexamination of Bureau practices as detailed in MBA’s CFPB 2.0: Advancing Consumer Protection white paper.

CIDs are used by the Bureau to request information that may be relevant to a potential violation of consumer financial protection law. Responding to a CID is a very burdensome process that can involve significant resources and reputational harm. The letter describes aspects of the current CID process that are unfair, including the overly broad notification of purpose statements, the low threshold of initiating an investigation, the inadequate CID challenge process, and the unrealistic timelines. These and other aspects of the current CID process contribute to an imbalance between the Bureau and CID recipient that’s contrary to due process protections. The comment letter offers suggestions to correct this imbalance in a way that recognizes the costs and reputational risks to CID recipients.

Source and for more information please contact Justin Wiseman at (202) 557-2854 jwiseman@mba.org; or Blake Chavis at (202) 557-2930 bchavis@mba.org.

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NYSDFS PROPOSED RULE COULD DAMAGE NEW YORK’S HOUSING MARKET

On November 20, 2017, the New York Mortgage Bankers Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) submitted joint comments to the New York State Department of Financial Services regarding a Department’s proposed rule, giving them broad enforcement authority over credit reporting agencies. The rule gives the Department the ability to refuse to renew, suspend or revoke the registration of a credit reporting agency, including any of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Should the Department take one of these actions against a nationwide CRA, borrowers in New York State would be unable to obtain a tri-merged credit report, a requirement for FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financing.  New York borrowers moving to other states would also be impacted. To view the proposed rule and the NYMBA/MBA comments, click on the following links:
PROPOSED RULE
NYMBA/MBA COMMENTS

CFPB ISSUES TRID AMENDMENTS FINAL RULE

On July 7, 2017, the CFPB published “Updates to [the] ‘Know Before You Owe’ Mortgage Disclosure Rule,” to provide more clarity and greater certainty, as well as include technical corrections and amendments. The 560 page document includes:

  • Changes to the assistance loan exemption
  • Expansion of the KBYO/TRID rule for loans on cooperatives
  • Total of Payments calculations and related tolerances
  • The use of informational Loan Estimates
  • Clarifications regarding the Written List of Providers
  • Greater clarity for sharing information among settlement service providers
  • Changes regarding Construction Loans and Calculating Cash to Close
  • and moreFor a copy of the rule, click HERE

NY FIRST HOME BILL PASSES

The NY First Home bill A5616/S4058 passed both the New York State Assembly and Senate before the end of the 2017 legislative session.  The legislation would allow individuals to deposit up to $5,000 per year ($10,000 for couples)  of after-tax dollars into a tax-free savings account, to pay for the down payment and closing costs,  in the case of a first-time homebuyer.  In addition, the principal amount would be treated as a state income tax deduction.  To view the legislation, click HERE.

NY STATE LEGISLATURE PASSES BILL TO ADDRESS VACANT AND ABANDONED PROPERTIES

In the early morning hours Saturday, June 18, 2016, the NY State Legislature passed S8159, a bill that would require servicers to maintain vacant and abandoned property that they do not own, for the many years that a foreclosure takes in the state of New York. Federally and state chartered depositories are exempt from the requirement if they either originate, own, service, or maintain their mortgages, or a portion thereof; and have less than 3/10 of 1% of the total loans in the state which they either originate, own, service or maintain.
Lenders/servicers will be required to inspect properties within 90 days of delinquency to determine delinquency, and continue to inspect every 25-30 days. Within 7 days of determining the property is vacant, the lender/servicer must post a notice on the property stating that they are maintaining the property, and provide a phone number to call. If there is no response from the borrower within 7 calendar days of posting, the lender servicer must secure and begin maintaining the property. The lender/servicer may not remove any of the borrower’s personal property. There is a $500 per day fine for non-compliance.

The legislation also includes: a requirement to notify delinquent borrowers that they may stay in the property throughout the foreclosure process; a requirement for the NYSDFS to publish a Consumer Bill of Rights; a requirement for a lender/servicer who acquires a property through a judgment of foreclosure to place a property back on the market for sale within 180 days of the deed of sale or within 90 days of renovation of the property, whichever occurs first; extension of ” workout” options in the mandatory settlement conference; an expedited foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned property, if the borrowers fails to appear at the mandatory settlement conference; and technical changes to the STAR Personal Income Tax Credit.

For full text of the bill, click HERE.