Advocacy and Policy
In This Section
As the leading voice for our industry, we offer a comprehensive view of policy implications in the real estate finance space. We rely on our diverse membership to provide the practical knowledge that makes a real difference on the issues that matter most to the economy, real estate finance industry and its customers.
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Spotlight on What is New and Important Right Now
- May is the month of the Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA)! After hosting its fifth annual Action Week earlier this month, we've extended the national, industry-wide campaign for a full month. It is aimed at growing MAA and activating real estate finance professionals in key states and congressional districts. 105 companies have signed up to participate and we need more to join them. Complete this form to participate and receive further information.
- On Friday, May 22, the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a bipartisan, virtual roundtable briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic's broad impact on housing. MBA Vice-Chair Kristy Fercho, President of Mortgage for Flagstar Bank, appeared before the subcommittee, along with representatives from the Brookings Institution and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Issues discussed included the need for expanded and extended homeowner forbearance and eviction moratoria, mortgage servicer liquidity, additional direct rental and housing-related relief, and commercial MBS market conditions. A video of the full virtual briefing can be viewed by clicking here, and an MBA NewsLink story regarding the roundtable can be read by clicking here.
- In response to several weeks' worth of advocacy efforts with the GSEs and FHFA to address concerns about financing options for borrowers in forbearance, FHFA announced on May 19 that some eligibility restrictions have been lifted for borrowers in COVID-19 forbearance. In short: 1) Borrowers are eligible to refinance or buy a new home if they are current on their mortgage - i.e., in forbearance but continued to make their mortgage payments; 2) Borrowers are eligible to refinance or purchase three months after their forbearance ends and they have made three consecutive payments under their repayment plan, or payment deferral option or loan modification. Prior policy generally required borrowers in forbearance to wait 12 months before being eligible for new financing. FHFA also extended the GSEs' ability to buy purchase and rate/term refi loans that go into forbearance between closing and delivery, with note dates on or before June 30, 2020, as long as they are delivered to the Enterprises by August 31, 2020 and only one mortgage payment has been missed.
- Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a Housing Notice (HN) and Mortgagee Letter (ML) revising its three-year policy under Section 223(f) of the National Housing Act. Under the revised policy, HUD will accept applications for refinancing of either newly built or substantially rehabilitated properties as soon as the property has achieved the applicable debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) for at least one month (along with certain underwriting guidelines). MBA advocated for these changes and applauds the revisions to the policy, as it eliminates barriers to achieving both the public and private sectors' goals of financing the production of affordable rental housing in communities across America