Senate Begins Crucial Week of Reg Relief Bill Debate

Mike Sorohan msorohan@mba.org

March 13, 2018


The Senate yesterday kicked off another week of debate on a sweeping regulatory relief bill that includes several provisions strongly supported by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

MBA on Friday sent a letter to senators in support of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2155). The Senate last night voted 66-30 to limit further debate on the bill, entertain several announcements and move toward a final vote, possibly by Thursday, according to MBA Senior Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Bill Killmer.

S. 2155, introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, includes a number of MBA-supported provisions, including:

--SAFE Act amendments to provide mortgage loan originators with 120 days of transitional authority to originate when moving from a federal depository to a non-bank (or across state lines);

--Subjecting Property Assessed Clean Lending (PACE) or property retrofit loans to Truth In Lending Act consumer protections;

--Exempting financial institutions originating fewer than 500 closed-end mortgages from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting requirements; and

--Targeted TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure fixes.Other issues involving Qualified Mortgage portfolio relief, Systematically Important Financial Institution thresholds, veterans' credit reports and the Volcker rule.

MBA continues to pursue addition of other favorable provisions to the bill within a "Manager's Amendment" to S. 2155. This amendment offered by Crapo would preserve provisions of the bill noted above, but also now extend consumer protections to U.S. veterans who use the VA Home Loan program and promote sustainable construction and development through clarification of the current High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) rule.

In the letter (http://mba-advocacy.informz.net/MBA-advocacy/data/images/S2155 MBA Letter of Support - Senate Leadership FINAL.pdf), MBA said it believes that, in the aggregate, the revised bill provides "important regulatory relief" to the housing market, extends critical consumer protections to U.S. veterans who use the VA Home Loan program, removes the impediments that currently limit employment mobility for qualified loan officers, establishes important consumer protections for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans and promotes sustainable construction and development through clarification of the current HVCRE rule.

"MBA supports S. 2155 and would urge all Senators to vote to preserve the bill's key elements throughout the amendment process, and, in turn, to vote in favor of the bill's final passage at the conclusion of the debate," MBA said. "We applaud and appreciate the collective, bipartisan coalition efforts that led to the crafting of S. 2155 (and the substitute amendment), and believe that these outlined portions of the legislation will remove many of the barriers and regulatory burdens that have impacted consumers' current access to mortgage credit. We look forward to continuing to work with the House and Senate leadership to address any areas of remaining concern, but strongly support the underlying bill and urge all Senators to vote in favor of S. 2155."

Additionally, MBA, through its grassroots advocacy arm, the Mortgage Action Alliance, has also issued two Calls to Action urging its members to contact their senators to support the bill. Killmer said MAA members have already collectively contacted 96 Senate offices in support of the legislation, helping to add to the growing list of 25 co-sponsors.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.

Share this article