MBA Advocacy Update
Last week, 130 MBA member lenders sent an open letter to Congress calling for comprehensive GSE reform.
The Trump administration released its FY 2019 budget--which is merely a framework and has no force of law--for consideration by House and Senate appropriators.
And on Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 3978, a bill amended to include the language of H.R. 2948, an MBA-supported proposal that would maintain the important consumer protections established under the federal SAFE Act and offer enhanced workforce mobility for mortgage loan officers.
Mortgage Bankers Post Open Letter to Congress on GSE Reform
On Feb. 13, more than 130 mortgage banking leaders from 40 states, including current and former MBA officers, sent an open letter to Congress emphasizing the need for comprehensive secondary mortgage market reform.
The letter outlines common core principles, similar to those advocated by MBA in its white paper, GSE Reform: Creating a Sustainable, More Vibrant Secondary Mortgage Market (https://www.mba.org/issues/gse-reform). The GSE reform debate is at a critical juncture, with parallel proposals being drafted for possible introduction and consideration by leaders in both the House and Senate.
House Again Passes Key SAFE Act Amendments
On Feb. 14, the House passed H.R. 3978, the TRID Improvement Act, as amended, by a 271-145 vote. The bill packaged together a series of individual financial services bills, including the previously free-standing H.R. 2948, the SAFE Transitional Licensing Act. Just prior to the floor debate, MBA sent a letter of support highlighting the two mortgage-related sections of the bill, its Title I and Title V (http://mba-pc.informz.net/mba-pc/data/images/FSC Bills House Floor Letter 2.13.18.pdf).
--Title I, Section 101 (the language of the former free-standing H.R. 3978), entitled "TRID Improvement," allows title insurance companies to disclose available discounts and accurate title insurance premium costs to consumers.
--Title V, Section 501 (the language of H.R. 2948), entitled "Eliminating barriers to jobs for loan originators," amends the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 to provide 120 days of temporary origination authority to mortgage loan officers transitioning from federally-insured depositories to non-depositories, as well as across state lines.
MBA commended the House for passage of the bill, particularly the SAFE Act which have been a major MBA priority. Focus now turns to the Senate, where similar transitional origination authority language is contained within Section 106 of S. 2155, a broad bipartisan regulatory relief package introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. The Mortgage Action Alliance recently issued a call of action supporting swift consideration and passage of the Crapo bill (https://action.mba.org/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=417794).
Register Now for MBs National Advocacy Conference April 24-25
With major MBA priorities such as GSE reform and transitional licensing at such critical junctures, it is more important than ever for MBA members to come to Washington in April to advocate for these issues. T This year's National Advocacy Conference takes place April 24-25 at the Capital Hilton. NAC is the premier advocacy event designed to empower MBA members and demonstrate to policymakers the strength of our industry's unified voice.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson will be a featured speaker and highlight his policy priorities for the agency. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, will discuss the Committee's 2018 legislative priorities, including the status of debate on regulatory relief and housing finance reform. Additional details regarding other speakers will be announced as they are confirmed.
Trump Administration Releases Budget Proposal
On Feb. 12, the Trump Administration released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 (https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/). MBA has done an analysis of the budget, which you can find at http://mba.informz.net/MBA/data/images/Public_Affairs/Trump_Budget_Summary_FY_2019.pdf. It's important to remember that this is just a framework, does not have the force of law and represents the first step in the much lengthier federal budget/appropriations process. Throughout the budget process, MBA will work to ensure the government continues to support vibrant real estate markets that grow and strengthen America's communities.
CFPB Publishes Five-Year Strategic Plan
On Feb. 13, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a five-year Strategic Plan covering FY 2018-2022 (https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_strategic-plan_fy2018-fy2022.pdf).
The plan differs significantly from the draft Strategic Plan released October 2017 and commented on by MBA, and reflects a number of the principles articulated in MBA's CFPB 2.0 White Paper.
Consistent with other recent statements by Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, the accompanying press release states that "the Bureau will now focus on equally protecting the legal rights of all, including those regulated by the Bureau, and will engage in rulemaking where appropriate to address unwarranted regulatory burdens and to implement federal consumer financial law." Importantly, the strategic plan also reflected other MBA priorities including:
--Promoting fair competition by enforcing laws consistently regardless of the regulated entity's business model or status as a depository institution.
--Focusing supervision and enforcement efforts on businesses and products that "pose the greatest risk to consumers based on the nature of the product, field and market intelligence, and the size of the institution and product line."
CFPB Publishes RFI on Bureau's Supervision Program
On Feb. 14, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a Request for Information on the Bureau's supervision program (https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_rfi_supervision-program_022018.pdf). This is the fourth in a series of RFIs issued as part of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney's ongoing assessment of Bureau operations and practices.
The RFI seeks comments on "how best to achieve meaningful burden reduction or other improvement" to the Bureau's supervision program "while continuing to meet the Bureau's statutory objectives and ensuring a fair and transparent process for parties subject to enforcement authority." As with the preceding RFIs, the scope of this RFI is broad, covering all aspects of the Bureau's enforcement processes. All interested members of the public are encouraged to submit comments. The Bureau anticipates issuing RFIs on the several topics noted in its press release.
Congress Extends Mortgage Insurance Deductibility Another Year
On Feb. 9, H.R. 1892, the "Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018," was signed into law by President Trump. The bill includes two pertinent provisions for the mortgage industry. One extends the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums through the end of the most recent tax year, and the other extends protections for individuals to avoid tax liability on "phantom" income via the forgiveness of prior mortgage debt. These two provisions (amongst a host of others) expired at the end of 2016, and this legislation extended (or reinstated) them through December 2017.
The legislation, which made the MIP provision effective retroactively to January 1, 2017, creates significant burdens for mortgage servicers who have to mail IRS Form 1098 to borrowers. The instructions for Form 1098 for 2017 state that MIP should only be reported in Box 5 if section 163(h)(3)(E) applies for the applicable tax year (i.e., if such MIP is deductible for the year). Servicers are required to file the form with the IRS and mail copies to borrowers no later than January 31 each year. Since the MIP deductibility provision was not in effect by the time Servicers were required to file and mail the Form 1098 to borrowers, Servicers who complied with the timely filing requirement sent out these forms to borrowers without completing box 5. The result essentially would be that borrowers who filed their tax returns early (at least before February 9) would not have taken the deduction for MIP paid. For Servicers/Issuers who file and mail millions of Forms 1098, the reprinting and postage costs that will be incurred as a result of this retroactive application of the law will be significant. MBA expects that the IRS will issue necessary guidance as quickly as possible that will address next steps for borrowers (i.e., Form 1098 recipients), as well as Servicers/Issuers who mailed out the Forms before February 9, inadvertently completing box 5 or without completing box 5.
MBA Requests Status on Finalization of Basel III Capital Rules Simplification Proposal
On Feb. 14, MBA sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve requesting a status update on the Agencies' September 27, 2017 proposal to simplify the Basel III Capital rules (http://mba-pc.informz.net/mba-pc/data/images/AdvocacyDocuments/Basel 3 NPR status letter (final) (Feb 14 2018)FINAL Signed SAO.pdf).
The Proposal, which would increase the cap on amount of mortgage servicing assets that a bank can include in Tier 1 capital from 10% to 25% and retained the increased and punitive 250% risk weighting assigned to MSAs, was open for comments until December. MBA submitted comments on the proposal, especially advocating that the proposed 25% cap be further increased to 50% and the punitive 250% risk weighting be reduced to no more than 130%.
In the February 14 letter, MBA requested the Agencies finalize the proposal incorporating MBA recommendations as quickly as possible, as it is important for banks to have the final rule in place as they implement plans to meet their capital needs for 2018.
For more information, please contact Fran Mordi at (202) 557-2860 email@example.com.
MBA, ALTA Express Support for Remote Notarization Standards Proposed by Task Force of State Secretaries of State
MBA and the American Land Title Association last week wrote to the co-chairs of the National Association of Secretaries of State Remote Notarization Task Force to express support for their proposed set of uniform standards for the regulation of Remote Online Notarization (http://mba-pc.informz.net/mba-pc/data/images/AdvocacyDocuments/MBA-ALTA Letter to NASS RON Task Force 2-14-2018.pdf).
The letter encouraged Task Force members to approve the proposed standards as written at their upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C. on February 18, which MBA and ALTA representatives will attend. The considerations presented in the draft standards will provide strong consumer protections for all users of this technology, as well as help mitigate risks when bringing this a new technology to the marketplace. The NASS proposal, as written, is consistent with the MBA-ALTA model state legislation to permit RON, which can be reviewed here along with other RON campaign materials (https://www.mba.org/audience/state-legislative-and-regulatory-resource-center/remote-online-notarization).
MBA Education Webinar on How to Measure and Improve Customer Trust Feb. 21
Join Edelman and a panel of experts from commercial/multifamily and single-family lending on February 21 as they discuss the level of trust in the financial services industry, as well as steps companies can take to measure trust and learn ways to build customer confidence in your business. To register for this webinar, click https://www.mba.org/store/events/webinar/customer-trust-how-to-measure-it-and-how-to-improve-it?utm_source=Informz&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=mba.org&_zs=hbo7D1&_zl=n1jI4.
For more information, please contact Allison Yaworske at (202) 557-2912 firstname.lastname@example.org.
MBA Education Webinar on Tax Reform, Important Considerations for Mortgage Companies
Join MBA Education on Feb. 20 for continued training on everything members need to know regarding tax reform. Now that tax reform legislation has become law, several provisions are game changers for businesses, and particularly, for the mortgage lending industry. Panelists will cover topics such as pass-through deduction rules, changes to deduction for business interest, enhanced expensing rules and amended corporate tax rates. To register for this webinar, click https://www.mba.org/store/events/webinar/tax-reform-important-considerations-for-mortgage-companies.
For more information, please contact Allison Yaworske at (202) 557-2912 email@example.com.