MBA Advocacy Update
The partial government shutdown continued into a third week, as President Trump and newly installed leaders in Congress failed to reach agreement on spending--once again largely over the issue of "border wall" funding.
On Thursday, the 116th Congress was sworn in, with Democrats taking control of the House and Republicans establishing a slightly enhanced majority in the Senate. Negotiations to reopen portions of the federal government remain ongoing.
Because a portion of the various appropriations bills had already been approved by Congress, only certain agencies are currently impacted by the shutdown. Among these agencies are HUD (including FHA and Ginnie Mae), USDA (including RHS), and Treasury (including the IRS). Last weekend, FEMA announced that it had rescinded a prior decision and will allow insurers to issue and renew National Flood Insurance Program polices (https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2018/12/28/fema-resumes-selling-flood-insurance-policies-during-appropriations-lapse).
Twice last week, President Trump met with congressional leadership at the White House, though the meetings did not yield a conclusive deal to end the shutdown. On Thursday, the House considered two shutdown-related measures offered by new Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
The first proposal a bill included a six-bill spending package modeled after the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills (Interior/Environment, State/Foreign-Ops, Agriculture, Commerce-State-Justice, Transportation and HUD, Financial Services and General Government) which the Senate approved late last year. The second measure was a continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 8. Neither measure included any additional money for border security.
While the measures passed the House by tallies of 241-190 and 239-192 (respectively), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has indicated he will not have the Senate move to consider any funding legislation the President will not sign. The White House issued a veto threat regarding the two House funding proposals yesterday.
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.
Rural Development Contingency Plan: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/usda-rd-shutdown-plan.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.
New Congress Selects Leadership
The 116th Congress convened on Thursday with Democrats reclaiming the majority in the House and (as expected) Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., elected Speaker. In contrast, there were minimal leadership changes in the Senate, though both parties have the customary new leaders at their respective campaign committees.
On the Republican side of the aisle, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., replaces Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, as Majority Whip, while Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., have ascended to Majority Policy Committee Chair and Majority Conference Chair, respectively. You can find additional details regarding the full slate of House and Senate leadership positions here: http://mba-pc.informz.net/mba-pc/data/images/AdvocacyDocuments/116th%20Congress%20Leadership.pdf.
Congressional Reauthorization of the NFIP Ensures Continued Policy Issuance, Renewal
Despite legislators reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program hours before the beginning of the partial federal government shutdown on Dec. 21, FEMA issued guidance on Dec. 26 discontinuing issuance of new and renewed policies. FEMA rescinded the decision two days later in response to outcry from legislators and MBA and other advocates (https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2018/12/28/fema-resumes-selling-flood-insurance-policies-during-appropriations-lapse?elqTrackId=1f5052a9b37943ee846a3214fd3f2a53&elq=9bef3720ebda40d3b4cca968318b52c2&elqaid=17911&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=9746).
MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit issued the following statement prior to FEMA's welcome policy reversal: https://www.mba.org/2018-press-releases/december/mbas-broeksmit-statement-about-fema-decision-on-nfip.
Senate Confirms HUD Inspector General
On Jan. 2, the last official legislative day of the 115th Congress, the Senate confirmed Rae Oliver Davis as HUD Inspector General by voice vote.
The statutory mission of the Office of Inspector General is detecting and preventing fraud, waste and abuse and promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of government operations. While organizationally located within HUD, the OIG operates independently with separate budgetary authority.
CFPB Releases Final Privacy Guidance on HMDA Data
On Dec. 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its final privacy guidance governing how it will publicly disclose the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data reported in early 2019.
MBA Urges CFPB to be Mindful of Privacy Concerns amid Emerging Security Risks
On Friday, December 21, MBA submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to a Request for Information regarding the Bureau's data collections.
While the Bureau was not seeking comments on the substance of any particular rule, MBA urged it to place consumer privacy concerns at the forefront of any of its data collection efforts. The letter also suggests that in light of intrusions to government systems that the Bureau be modest in what it seeks to collect initially, be transparent if its data is compromised, and have clear and predefined policies to identify how it intends to respond to a data breach. In this letter, MBA recommended that the Bureau consider the risks associated with re-identification, be mindful of documents subject to attorney-client confidentiality, limit the scope of the burden placed on industry during section 1022 reviews and use the existing industry standards provided by MISMO.
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 email@example.com.