MBA State Relations Committee Update Federal Highlights

Advocacy News and Information from the Latest Issue of the MBA State Relations Committee Update

Senate Passes Broad Regulatory Relief Bill: After more than a week of discussions on the Senate floor, S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act passed by a vote of 67-31. MBA sent a letter of support ahead of the bill which you can read here. Additionally, MBA CEO David H. Stevens, CMB, released a statement applauding the bill's passage. The legislative package marks years' worth of work by a group of bi-partisan Senators and advocacy by the legislative and policy teams at MBA. This broad regulatory relief package contained several MBA-supported priorities including: SAFE Act Amendments to create a transitional authority to originate loans, consumer protections for Property Assessed Clean Lending (PACE) loans, relief from HMDA reporting requirements for some institutions, and a partial fix to TRID. Additional priorities were included in substitute amendment extends critical consumer protections to U.S. veterans who utilize the VA Home Loan program and promotes sustainable construction and development through clarification of the current High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) rule. Focus now shifts to the House, where a number of provisions contained in S. 2155 have already passed as standalone bills on a bipartisan basis. 

House Passes Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act: H.R. 4545, the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, was passed on by the House of Representatives by a vote of 283-133. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), addresses a number of important concerns about the manner in which lenders face regulatory scrutiny, including improving the timeliness of examinations, ensuring examiners adhere to their agencies' standards, and creating a new, more independent examination appeals process. Originally introduced in December 2017 and passed out of the Financial Services Committee on March 6, H.R. 4545 amends the definition of "financial institution" to include depository- and non-depository lenders alike - as a result of MBA's direct advocacy.  The MBA sent a letter of support for H.R. 4545 earlier this week, a copy of which can be found here.

MBA Emphasizes Key CFPB Reform Priorities Following Meeting with Acting CFPB Director: Following a meeting between MBA President and CEO David H. Stevens, CMB and the CFPB's Acting Directory Mick Mulvaney, MBA sent a letter to the Acting Director to offer further thoughts on how to best improve the Bureau's operations. Many of the reforms emphasized in the meeting and detailed in the letter are outlined in MBA's "CFPB 2.0" white paper which was released last year. The key recommendations from that paper touch on many of the areas the Bureau's is seeking input on through their recent call for public suggestions and the associated requests for information (RFIs). Primarily, MBA recommended the Bureau use guidance, rather than regulation by enforcement, as the Bureau's primary tool for regulatory interpretation. Reliable guidance, designed with stakeholder input, fosters greater communication and would provide the Bureau with a better understanding of industry practices and consumer needs. To help eliminate uncertainty, rulemakings should be followed by periodic invitations for questions with the Bureau providing timely answers with authoritative written guidance. When changes to rules or guidance is provided, the Bureau should provide adequate advance notice. MBA also asks that the Bureau adopt a clearly defined regulatory process, highlighting the importance of predictability in the regulatory regime and the need to modernize the existing regulatory structure in a manner that promotes responsible innovation. In addition to guidance, MBA emphasized that the Bureau should reform its enforcement processes with a focus on due process and consistency. This includes providing a definition for "abusive" under UDAAP, a source of great uncertainty surrounding the Bureau's enforcement conduct. Other key regulatory principles and concerns raised include maintaining a level playing field for market participants, addressing rules which encroach on business-purpose commercial real estate transactions, and addressing the consequences of publishing inaccurate complaint information.

CFPB Issues Request for Information on the CFPB's Adopted Regulations and New Rulemaking Authorities: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a Request for Information about the CFPB's adopted regulations and new rulemaking authorities. This is the eighth in a series of RFIs announced by Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. The RFI seeks to "assist the Bureau in considering whether it should amend any rules it has issued since its creation or issue rules under new rulemaking authority provided for by the Dodd-Frank Act." The Bureau is not seeking feedback on the "Bureau's rulemaking processes, implementation initiatives that occur after the issuance of a final rule, or the Inherited Regulations." The Bureau will accept feedback on rules currently under assessment pursuant to section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act. The RFI will be open for comment for 90 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.  

IRS Creates Tax Transcript Working Group: Recently, the IRS has created a workgroup of industry professionals, IRS leaders, and other experts to address issues within the IRS IVES program (i.e. tax transcripts). The Workgroup will discuss potential improvements to the existing tax transcript process. The IRS created this Workgroup in response to requests by the MBA and other organizations to address multiple inefficiencies and concerns within the existing process.