We get it done: Policy & Advocacy
In This Section
MBA’s policy and advocacy successes are member-driven. Emerging issues and policy positions are developed from the robust engagement of our members. Even in unprecedented times, we demonstrated an ability to quickly pivot priorities and produce fresh and real-time insights from industry leaders to keep our members equipped with information and access.
MBA Members are Influencing Residential Housing Policy
Because of you, MBA policy staff can effectively communicate the experiences and outcomes of everyday policy decisions on the mortgage industry and advocate for better regulations.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response:
- Achieved Implementation of policies and programs supporting servicer liquidity. During the period of high forbearance rates due to the COVID-19 crisis, MBA worked doggedly to ensure a lack of servicer liquidity wouldn't paralyze the market. This included advocating for GInnie Mae's PTAP program and securing the 4-month limit on servicer advance obligation from the GSEs
- Advocated for MLO Employment Flexibilities in states. MBA urged state regulators to obtain written guidance for mortgage loan originators and others to work from home in states where they are required to work from a licensed office or branch. MBA also advocated with state policy makers to add financial services to "essential worker" authorizations.
- Successfully secured implementation of origination flexibilities. MBA was able to convince multiple agencies of the need for flexibilities such as alternatives to traditional appraisals and verbal verification of employment.
- Advocated for alignment between state COVID-related legislation and the federal CARES Act. MBA worked with its partner state and local associations nationwide to address the challenge of coronavirus relief legislation that sought to go well beyond the requirements in the federal CARES Act. MBA and the Mortgage Action Alliance helped defeat such legislation in California. In New York and Washington, DC, MBA led efforts to successfully amend legislation to align state compliance with federal requirements.
Other Residential Policy Wins:
- Achieved long-advocated process reforms from CFPB that will help reduce "regulation by enforcement." The Bureau has announced an advisory opinion program, no action letter program and trial disclosure program to better help regulated entities understand their obligations and end the practice of regulation by enforcement. MBA pushed for these specific changes and other process reforms in our Roadmap to CFPB 2.0.
- Reduced False Claims Act risk for FHA lenders by securing revisions to the Annual and Loan-Level certifications, and implementation of a defect taxonomy that ensures remedies are appropriate for the severity of the origination error.
- Expanded eligibility for the FHA's Claims Without Conveyance of Title program, which will increase the use of direct conveyance, improve the bid process, and reduce servicing costs and re-conveyance risks for FHA servicers.
- Successfully advocated for changes to the OCC's final revised CRA rule to provide full credit for mortgage banking activities. The proposed rule would have provided only partial credit for mortgage banking and would have created a disincentive for home mortgage lending activities in CRA assessments.
- Enacted Remote Online Notarization in four additional states. Overall, 27 states have now enacted RON legislation, in which 26 align with the MBA model bill for state laws. Since January, Alaska, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oregon have enacted RON laws.
MBA Members are Shaping Commercial/Multifamily Policy
Because of you - our diverse membership representing all forms of CRE finance - we are able to provide industry-wide answers to policymakers to better advocate for the industry.
- Successfully Advocated for Life Insurance Company Accounting and Regulatory Capital Relief: MBA has led the effort to garner life company accounting and risk-based capital relief for loans modified to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) responded, granting the requested accounting relief and provided capital reporting relief for loan modifications that occur during 2020.
- Obtained TDR Relief for Banks and Non-Banks Alike: In response to MBA advocacy, federal prudential regulators provided Troubled Debt Restructuring Relief (TDR) to banks in March. In May, MBA joined an industry coalition seeking clarification that the regulators' Interagency Statement on TDR also relates to lending arrangements with non-bank lenders, including warehouse lines of credit and repurchase agreements. Both the OCC and FDIC confirmed in June that such lending arrangements fall within the Interagency Statement.
- MBA and industry partners continue to advocate for including new-issue AAA CMBS and single-asset, single-borrower (SASB) CMBS. The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) established to address the pandemic did not initially permit any CMBS to qualify as collateral for the program. In response to a March joint letter on CMBS eligibility, the Federal Reserve revised the program specifications in April, extending TALF eligibility on April to seasoned AAA CMBS.
- MBA worked with HUD, FHA, and Ginnie Mae to prepare the documentation necessary to implementation CARES Act forbearance on FHA-insured mortgages, and successfully advocated for Ginnie Mae to provide liquidity relief through its Pass-Through Assistance Program (PTAP). MBA has also worked with the FHFA on the multifamily forbearance provisions related to the GSE's, and continues to urge the Federal Reserve to deploy its CARES Act liquidity facility to ease liquidity needs of servicers obligated to remit timely payments of principal and interest despite CARES Act forbearance.
- Defeated or Modified Several Problematic State Legislation Related to COVID-19: Working hand-in-hand with our industry partners and state MBAs, MBA defeated or amended several bills detrimental to CRE finance in New York, California, Colorado and many other states (e.g., extended forbearance, rent holiday, interest holidays, legislative modification of loan or lease terms).
- Secured a higher HMDA threshold for reporting business-to-business multifamily mortgages: In April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule that increased the threshold for Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting from 25 to 100 loans in each of the two preceding years - which effectively exempts many of our Multifamily members - and that permits affected lenders to stop reporting activity. The final rule was responsible to MBA and MBA-led coalition letters to the CFPB at the end of 2019.
MBA Members are Advocating on Capitol Hill
Because of you, MBA’s subject matter experts have the concrete operational examples to drive home MBA’s policy positions to agency and legislative staff.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response Legislative Policy Wins:
- Improved the processes to implement forbearance requirements for COVID-affected borrowers, including advancing legislation that would compel FHA to insure loans in forbearance and the GSEs to purchase loans (regardless of mortgage type) without any punitive pricing.
- MBA continues to urge Congress to clarify that Section 4022 of the CARES Act applies over the same covered period as the related section 4023 of the CARES Act.
Other Legislative Policy Wins:
- Promoted legislation that would provide the federal government with new tools to encourage localities to remove regulatory barriers to housing affordability.
- Promoted bipartisan, bicameral legislation, which would offer tax credits to attract private investment for building and rehabilitating owner-occupied homes, creating a pathway to neighborhood stability through sustainable homeownership.
- Ensured adequate federal funding to modernize FHA’s antiquated IT infrastructure.
- Advanced legislation that would prevent the use of Fannie/Freddie guaranty fees to pay for non-housing related federal programs.
- MBA worked closely with a broad range of member firms and led the effort with trade groups and policymakers -including the IRS, Treasury Department, FHFA, the GSEs, and Congress- to obtain much-needed clarification from the IRS regarding the effective date for Section 2202 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which granted certainty to market participants that seasoned loans and loans that were in the pipeline with transcript information received from the IRS prior to December 28 were never intended to be covered by the new consent requirement, ensuring liquidity in those markets.
MBA Members are Delivering Affordable Housing
Because of you, we are working to increase minority and low- and moderate-income access to homeownership during this turning point in our nation's history.
- In March, MBA launched CONVERGENCE Memphis, a minority homeownership initiative involving local, state, and national partners such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.
- The Affordable Rental Housing Advisory Council provided key input regarding emergency rental assistance in response to COVID-19, which resulted in MBA signing onto a letter with 41 other industry partners calling for Congress to pass rental assistance.
- MBA formed a joint working group with the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) to explore standardization of certain aspects of down payment assistance offered by the state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs).
- CONVERGENCE Memphis launched a four-part webinar series designed to inform stakeholders of key tools, products, and programs that can used to promote minority homeownership in Memphis.
- MBA has begun laying the groundwork for CONVERGENCE Columbus, a new minority homeownership initiative in Columbus, Ohio.
More Wins Happening All the Time
These highlights were compiled in July 2020, at the beginning of the MBA membership renewal period. We've done more great work since then!
We lead the charge
Our recent quick action and record-setting response to changes in the GSE Adverse Market Refinance Fee paved the way for victory. We led the charge for an outcome with an estimated industry savings of $750 million.