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News from the MBA Advocacy Update

MBA and New York MBA Weigh In on Request for Information Regarding Online Lending
May 18

In response to a request for input for a report to be submitted by July 1st to the New York State Legislature discussing the state of "online lending" in the New York, MBA and the New York MBA this week submitted a letter to the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The report is required by legislation enacted last year (A8260-A/S6593-A) to study the practices, economic impact, and operations of online lending. The MBA/NYMBA letter pointed out that neither the Legislature nor NYDFS offered a definition for "online lending," and that such clarity is important to improve the specificity and quality of feedback that NYDFS receives and to ensure the report satisfies the legislative intent. 

Tennessee Legislature Sends Remote Online Notarization Legislation to the Governor
May 11

On May 7, the Tennessee General Assembly sent legislation to Governor Haslam for his signature that would enable remote online notarization (RON) in the state. Both the House and Senate unanimously passed companion bills (HB 1794/SB1758) that would allow Tennessee to join Indiana, Virginia, Montana, Texas and Nevada in permitting RON. This would be the second state in 2018 to enact RON legislation if signed by the Governor. The language of the bill closely follows the contours of the MBA-ALTA model bill, which can be found on the MBA Remote Online Notarization Resource Center.

California Energy Commission Approves Nation's First Solar Power Requirement on New Homes Adding to Costs in an Already Tight Market
May 11

In a unanimous vote on Wednesday the California Energy Commission approved sweeping first-in-the-nation rules to require all new homes built in the state to have solar panels. The new requirements go into effect on January 1, 2020 for new single-family home permits in subdivisions of 10 or more homes, and new multi-family housing of three stories or fewer (i.e. low-rise multifamily properties). There are very few exceptions to the rule, including for example, for structures built in the shade or in the shadow of another building. The Commission's report indicated they expect the increase in upfront costs to average $9,365 per household using average system size, although other estimates are higher. The Commission acknowledged that this "could have an adverse impact on homebuyers by pushing homes out of their available borrowing range," but voted 5-0 nonetheless. MBA is concerned that this public policy will indeed have detrimental effect on the availability of affordable housing stock in what is already the nation's highest cost housing market.

New York Department of Financial Services Studying Online Lending; Requests Comments
May 11

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has invited comment on the business practices, economic impact and operations of online lending in New York. Consistent with legislation (S.7294/A.8938) enacted earlier this year, comments will be considered for a public report prepared by the NYDFS and submitted to the state legislature by July 1, 2018. While the language of the request for comments and the commanding legislation fail to define "online lending" and whether it relates to mortgage lending, it does note the inclusion in the report of, among other topics, business and lending practices online lenders, interest rates and costs charged, and consumer complaints and investigations about the industry. The report will also include an analysis of the primary differences between online lending products and services and those of traditional lending institutions. Comments are due by May 24th and can be submitted to OnlineLending@dfs.ny.gov.

Texas Secretary of State Proposes Remote Online Notarization Regulation
May 11

In a much anticipated announcement, on May 4th the Texas Secretary of State released proposed rules to direct the use of remote online notarizations (RON) within the state. The proposed rules require online notarizations to have minimum standards for credential analysis and identity proofing similar to the MBA-ALTA model bill and the standards proposed by the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO). These are also the first rules proposed by a state since the February 2018 release of model RON standards by the National Association of Secretaries of State. The deadline for industry comments is June 3, 2018. The proposed rules can be found here. MBA is working closely with counsel for the Texas MBA on this issue.