MBA Advocacy Update

Steve O'Connor soconnor@mba.org; Bill Killmer bkillmer@mba.org  

January 14, 2019

The partial government shutdown shows no sign of ending soon, though negotiations between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats to reopen portions of the federal government are ongoing.  

Despite these continued negotiations, the partial federal government shutdown that began on December 22 remains ongoing. Because a portion of various appropriations bills had already been approved by Congress, only certain agencies are currently impacted by the shutdown. Those remaining agencies include HUD (including FHA and Ginnie Mae), USDA (including RHS) and Treasury (including the IRS).  

Notably, as of January 7, and as a result of direct advocacy by MBA and coalition partners, the IRS reversed an earlier decision and began processing requests for tax transcript information made through the Income Verification Express Service.  

Both President Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress appeared on national television last week to make their cases to the public, though meetings later in the week failed to produce an agreement or a meaningful path forward.  

For further details regarding how the shutdown impacts specific departments or agencies, please see the following:

HUD Contingency Plan: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/HUDCONTINGENCYPLANFINAL.PDF.

Ginnie Mae FAQs: https://ginniemae.gov/newsroom/Pages/PressReleaseDispPage.aspx?ParamID=149.

Rural Development Contingency Plan: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/usda-rd-shutdown-plan.pdf.

IRS Contingency Plan: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/266/IRS-Lapse-in-Appropriations-Contingency-Plan_Nonfiling-Season_2018-12-03.pdf.

Fannie Mae Lender Letter: https://www.fanniemae.com/content/announcement/ll1806.pdf.

Freddie Mac Press Release: http://www.freddiemac.com/singlefamily/news/2018/1226_government_shutdown.html.  

For more information, please contact Erin Barry at (202) 557-2913 ebarry@mba.org; or Dan Fichtler at (202) 557-2780 dfichtler@mba.org.  

Michael Bright Departs Ginnie Mae; Maren Kasper to Serve as Acting President
Last week, Ginnie Mae announced Acting President Michael Bright will step down Jan. 16 (https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_19_002). Bright will be replaced by Maren Kasper, who has served as an Executive Vice President at Ginnie Mae since mid-2017.  

MBA will be working closely with Kasper, as well as the rest of the Ginnie Mae senior leadership team, to continue important collaboration on issues such as counterparty risk management and abusive refinancing practices in the VA lending market.  

For more information, please contact Dan Fichtler at (202) 557-2780 dfichtler@mba.org.  

House Passes Four Appropriations Bills Including Spending for T-HUD
Last week, the House passed four individual appropriations bills, including H.R. 267, which allocated spending for the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD). MBA sent a letter detailing our industry's priorities within H.R.267. Notably, this included the need for additional funding for the modernization of FHA's antiquated information technology infrastructure. H.R. 267 passed the full House yesterday by a 244-180 vote; its prospects in the Senate are murky, at best.  

For more information, contact Dan Grattan (202) 557-2712 dgrattan@mba.org; or Kelley Williams at (202) 557-2741 kwilliams@mba.org.  

CFPB Issues Assessment on RESPA Servicing, Ability-to-Pay/QM Rules
On Jan. 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released reports detailing findings from its first two 1022(d) assessments. Under section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB must conduct a formal assessment of each of its significant rules and publish a report of each assessment within five years of the rule's effective date.  

These assessments focused on the Bureau's 2013 Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule (https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_ability-to-repay-qualified-mortgage_assessment-report.pdf) and the 2013 RESPA Mortgage Servicing Rule (https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_mortgage-servicing-rule-assessment_report.pdf).  

The Bureau used both its own research and external sources to evaluate the effectiveness of the rules in meeting (1), the purposes and objectives of the Bureau and (2), the specific goals of the rules as stated by the Bureau prior to their effective dates. MBA has begun the process of analyzing these lengthy reports. Summaries will be made available within the next few days.  

If you have any questions concerning the RESPA Mortgage Servicing Rule, please contact Sara Singhas at (202) 557-2826 ssinghas@mba.org; or Hanna Pitz at (202) 557-2796 hpitz@mba.org. For questions on the Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule, please contact Justin Wiseman at (202) 557-2854 jwiseman@mba.org; or Blake Chavis at (202) 557-2930 bchavis@mba.org.  

FASB to Hold Jan. 28 Roundtable to Discuss CECL Implementation Issues
On January 28 the Financial Accounting Standards Board will hold a roundtable meeting to discuss a host of issues, including implementation related to the new current expected credit loss accounting standard.  

MBA and other trade groups have been advocating for a delay in implementation, pending a comprehensive study of the potential impact of CECL, including an analysis of adverse unintended consequences of the new rule. Although finalized in 2016, CECL will become effective for SEC registrants in 2020 and in 2021 for non-SEC registrants. It will significantly change the way that institutions account for loan or credit losses. The push for FASB to pause implementation of the new standard, and conduct a necessary qualitative study and analysis has been ongoing.  

In the past few months, banking regulators have issued statements that provide short-term or temporary relief. Several members of Congress have recently taken a more serious interest in the topic and joining in the push for FASB to delay implementation in order to conduct a qualitative impact study (as MBA has requested).  

The event will take place at the FASB headquarters in Norwalk, Conn.; participants will include FASB staff, banking regulators, representatives of banks and other stakeholders. Click for more details on the meeting: https://www.fasb.org/cs/Satellite?c=FASBContent_C&cid=1176171901969&pagename=FASB%2FFASBContent_C%2FNewsPage.  

For more information, contact Fran Mordi at (202) 557-2860 fmordi@mba.org.  

Momentum for Remote Online Notarization Continues into 2019
Last year, six states introduced and enacted remote online notarization legislation, which allows a notarial act to be completed when a principal is not in the same physical location as the notary public. This brings the total of states that enable the use of RON to 10 (New Jersey; Utah; North Dakota; Idaho; South Carolina; Wisconsin; Missouri; Alaska; Nebraska; and Arizona.)  

Continuing the trend into 2019, an additional 10 states have either introduced or drafted bills that would enable the use of RON. MBA will continue to work with state associations and the American Land Title Association to advocate for introduction and enactment of RON legislation. The MBA model bill and additional resources can be found on MBA's Remote Online Notarization Resource Center (https://www.mba.org/audience/state-legislative-and-regulatory-resource-center/remote-online-notarization).  

For more information please contact William Kooper at (202) 557-2737 wkooper@mba.org; or Kobie Pruitt at (202) 557-2870 kpruitt@mba.org.  

MBA Education Webinar Jan. 17 on 10 Things Your Company Must Do in 2019
Join MBA Education on January 17 for its popular annual kick-off webinar that every lending executive should attend.  

For most companies, 2018 was a challenge with volumes dropping and profits shrinking, and 2019 looks to start out the same way. Now, early in the year, is the right time to make take steps to improve your business for 2019, while it can make a real difference. This webinar will provide participants with a Top Ten list of strategic initiatives that all mortgage bankers should be implementing in 2019. These very specific and very actionable suggestions will help you and your team focus on what will increase revenues, control costs, and better manage risk, not only in 2019 but also every year thereafter.  

To register for the webinar, click https://www.mba.org/store/events/webinar/ten-things-your-mortgage-company-must-do-in-2019.  

For more information, please contact Laura Vanegas at (202) 557-2785 lvanegas@mba.org.

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