MBA Advocacy Update
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of this term, thereby setting up a GOP leadership race ahead of a set of already challenging midterm elections. House Financial Services Committee member and deputy whip Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., also announced his retirement on the same day.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi was sworn in on Monday (to replace the retiring Thad Cochran) becoming the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress. Appointed by GOP Gov. Phil Bryant, Hyde-Smith will run in November to fill out the rest of Cochran's term.
Key Policymakers, D.C. Insiders to Speak at MBA National Advocacy Conference
This year's MBA National Advocacy Conference takes place Apr. 24-25 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.
Incorporating feedback from previous conferences, NAC will have a select time during Tuesday's programming for state delegations to meet, review strategies and rehearse talking points for the Hill meetings the following day. MBA subject matter experts will be available to answer outstanding questions about key policies and priorities.
On Tuesday, April 24, keynote speakers will include HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Attendees will also hear from House Financial Services Committee Member Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind., and senior POLITICO correspondents Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman.
The following day, before attendees travel to Capitol Hill to visit with their elected officials as part of their respective state delegations, they will hear from House Financial Services Committee Members Rep. French Hill, R-Ark. who also serves as the committee's Majority Whip; and Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., who chairs the New Democrat Coalition's Housing Task Force. This in addition to a separate, tailored commercial/multifamily conference track that will include dialogue with a bipartisan group of House and Senate members and key staffers.
CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney Testifies before Congress
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney testified before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees last week as part of the Bureau's semi-annual testimony before Congress. This was the first time Mulvaney, who also serves as Chairman of the Office of Management and Budget, testified about the Bureau before his former colleagues.
The hearings were ripe with tension from two angles: Democrats openly questioned the validity of his post and Republicans doubted the constitutionality of the Bureau itself. Topics discussed included Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting, the need for more transparent regulatory guidance vis-à-vis enforcement actions, payday lending, the governance of and funding for the Bureau and questions about the salaries of some political appointees (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/business/cfpb-mick-mulvaney-pay-raises.html). A link to the hearing can be found here.
FHFA Inspector General Testifies before Congress
On Apr. 12, the House Financial Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing, Oversight of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, in which Laura Wertheimer, Inspector General of FHFA, was the only witness.
In a lightly attended hearing, Subcommittee Chair Ann Wagner, R-Mo., noted there may be general defects in oversight of Fannie and Freddie by FHFA, while Ranking Member Al Green, D-Texas, focused on issues such as access to credit issues for a broad scope of consumers, and took issue with the language used by the IG giving the appearance of a lack of safety and soundness at the GSEs.
Referencing the Housing and Economic Recovery Act's statutorily required comment period on new products from the GSEs, Rep. Scott Tipton, D-Colo., asked Wertheimer why the IMAGIN product was introduced by Freddie Mac. Wertheimer stated that IMAGIN is not a program that has been examined by FHFA and that she lacked fundamental knowledge of the product to offer an opinion. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind., later revisited the general issue of the GSEs not crossing the bright line from the secondary- to primary-market activities. Wertheimer offered no opinion on IMAGIN but instead pledged to Hollingsworth that market blurring is a crucial item that bears monitoring from the perspective of FHFA.
MBA Joins Trade Group Coalition Letter Supporting New CFPB Leadership Structure
Last week, MBA joined 22 other financial services and housing groups in a letter of support for H.R. 5266, the Financial Product Safety Commission Act, a bill that would transition the leadership structure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to a commission from a sole director.
This bipartisan bill was introduced by Reps. Dennis Ross, R-Fla.; Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Ann Wagner, R-Mo.; and David Scott, R-Ga. MBA has previously supported efforts to shift the CFPB from a single director to a five-person commission to balance consumer protections, transparency and certainty.
CFPB Publishes RFI regarding Consumer Complaint and Inquiry Handling Processes O
n Apr. 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a Request for Information about the Bureau's consumer complaint and consumer inquiry handling process. This is the 12th and final RFI announced as part of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney's call for evidence to ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions (https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_rfi_consumer-complaints-inquiries_042018.pdf).
The RFI seeks to "assist the Bureau in assessing its handling of consumer complaints and consumer inquiries and, consistent with law, considering whether changes to its processes would be appropriate" given the Bureau's statutory objectives to "(1) establish reasonable procedures to provide timely responses to consumers and (2) centralize the collection of consumer complaints regarding consumer financial products or services." The Bureau is seeking specific feedback on several areas and requests that comments include: "specific discussion of the positive and negative aspects of the Bureau's complaint and inquiry processes;" "specific suggestions regarding any potential updates or modification to the Bureau's" processes; and "specific best practices" for the Bureau's processes.
MBA will work with its members to develop a response to this RFI, which will be open for comment for 90 days from date of publication in the Federal Register.
FTC Denies Louisiana Appraisers Board Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Complaint
On Apr. 11, The Federal Trade Commission denied the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board's motion to dismiss a complaint filed by the FTC for violation of federal antitrust laws.
To comply with Dodd Frank, the Louisiana Board issued rules requiring appraisal fees to equal or exceed the median fees identified in a Board survey. In 2017, the FTC filed a complaint against the Board, alleging its rule unreasonably restrained price competition for appraisals. The FTC alleged in the complaint that the Board's regulations exceeded the scope of the federal mandate.
Following issuance of the FTC's Complaint, Louisiana officials took several procedural steps intended to insulate the Board from the FTC's antitrust scrutiny. The Board followed those procedures, reissued the identical rule and then filed a motion to dismiss. The FTC's action on Wednesday rejected that move, finding that it was insufficient to demonstrate that the State of Louisiana will take an active role in promulgating the new rules and provide the proper oversight required to promote state public policy over private interests.
MBA Education Mortgage Servicing Rules Deep Dive Workshop Apr. 29
Join MBA Education and the Compliance Essentials program on April 29 for an intensive and interactive workshop that will address issues impacted by updated mortgage servicing rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Leading experts will cover the ins and outs of the different requirements and provide information to ensure policies and procedures are in compliance. Of particular emphasis will be the following topics: Successors in Interest, Acceleration, Loss Mitigation, Periodic Statements and Bankruptcy. At the end of the session, attendees will have the opportunity for "office hours" with our panelists. Attendees of the Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance are eligible to receive a discount when registering for both the conference and workshop.
To register for the workshop, click https://www.mba.org/store/events/classroom-course/cfpbs-mortgage-servicing-rules-deep-dive-workshop.
For more information, please contact Lisa Volb at (202) 557-2919 firstname.lastname@example.org.