The House and Senate are both in recess until October 15, while MAA members from around the country continue to meet with their Members of Congress to discuss important industry issues back home. Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to help avoid a government shutdown and fund the federal government through November 21, 2019. Importantly, the CR also included an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. Also last week, MBA signed on to a coalition letter in support of H.R. 4351, the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act. And MISMO issued draft language to help lenders and other parties comply with a new requirement included in the recently passed Taxpayer First Act.
MORPAC Speaker Series
MORPAC Speaker Series is an incentive exclusively available to MORPAC contributors that features a slate of political speakers, including MORPAC-supported Members of Congress and key staff at national party committees, providing our supporters with key legislative and political updates from Capitol Hill.
As part of our MORPAC Speaker Series, MORPAC hosted an in-person event featuring Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) during MBA’s Regulatory Compliance Conference in Washington, DC.
Senator Menendez serves as a senior member of both the powerful Senate Banking and Senate Finance Committees –and serves as the Banking Committee’s Ranking Member of its Housing and Transportation Subcommittee. He offered interesting insights into congressional discussions surrounding GSE Reform in the wake of the release of Treasury and HUD housing finance plans and the subsequent Senate Banking Committee hearing where Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and FHFA Director Mark Calabria all testified.
Senate Passes Continuing Resolution, Funding Federal Government Through November 21, 2019
Last Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the FY 2020 Continuing Appropriations Act, another Continuing Resolution that will avoid a government shutdown and fund the federal government through November 21, 2019. The bill also extends several programs that are scheduled to expire at the end of FY 2019, such as the National Flood Insurance Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and the Export-Import Bank, among others. The bill also includes a provision that permits the Department of Agriculture to continue making payments to farmers affected by tariffs. President Donald Trump is expected to quickly sign the measure (which had already passed the full House) into law.
Housing Subcommittee Holds Hearing on FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program
Last Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance held a hearing on the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. The hearing’s purpose was to explore the reverse mortgage program’s benefits and challenges, as well as to examine program reform proposals. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) questioned witnesses on whether policymakers should consider separating FHA’s HECM and forward mortgage programs – which are both supported by the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Rep. Beatty received an affirmative response from hearing witness Laurie Goodman, Vice President of housing policy at the nonprofit Urban Institute.Additionally, Subcommittee members discussed a recently released Government Accountability Office report that includes nine open recommendations for improving FHA’s monitoring and oversight of HECM loan outcomes and servicing.
House Passes Cannabis Banking Bill that Includes Real Estate–Related Provisions
Last Wednesday, the full House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act), which would create certain legal safe harbors for depository institutions that provide financial services to cannabis-related businesses in states where that business is lawful. The bipartisan bill passed by a bipartisan margin of 321-103. Amendments that would prevent the Federal Housing Finance Agency from taking an adverse supervisory action on a loan made to an owner or employee of a cannabis-related business were added to the bill before its consideration on the House floor. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where the Banking Committee, which is examining this issue, will likely put together its own proposal rather than take up the House-passed bill.
The bill also includes forfeiture protections for depository institutions that would protect collateral securing those institutions’ loans to cannabis-related businesses; to businesses that lease or sell real estate to cannabis-related businesses; or to individuals associated with either of those businesses. MBA has, and will continue to, engage both House and Senate offices to ensure the bill’s forfeiture (and other) protections are extended to non-depository institutions that make, service, hold, or guarantee mortgages, including independent mortgage bankers and non-depository commercial/multifamily lenders.
MBA Joins Coalition In Support of ‘Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY)’ Legislation
Two weeks ago, the House version of the so-called Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act (H.R. 4351) was introduced by Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN). The proposal is a bipartisan companion to legislation introduced previously by Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Specifically, the YIMBY Act requires Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients to report the extent to which they are implementing specific pro-affordability and anti-discriminatory housing policies.
Rather than dictating to local governments the policies that they should implement, the bill creates a reporting requirement under existing Consolidated Plan Reporting guidelines that would require localities to publicly detail policies that they are implementing pursuant to a specified list of options. The broad coalition in favor of the proposal, which includes MBA and a number of other housing-related trade groups, sent a letter to Capitol Hill this week to push for swift action on the measure.
Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Texts of THUD and FSGG FY 2020 Spending Bills
Two weeks ago, after passing its FY 2020 THUD and FSGG spending bills, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its legislative and report language. Some of the highlights of the THUD bill included an additional $20 million for FHA technology, increased staffing and salaries for Ginnie Mae, $45 million for housing counseling, and increased funds for its rental assistance programs. In the FSGG report, the Committee addressed FASB’s CECL standard and directed Treasury to consult with federal regulators to conduct a study on the need, if any, for changes to regulatory capital requirements necessitated by CECL, and to submit the study within 270 days of the bill’s enactment.
Temporary Authority Implementation Developments
Last week, as the industry prepares for temporary authority’s effective date on November 24, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offered its interpretation of the SAFE Act as it pertains to this new authority to operate. In an update to its SAFE Act FAQs, the CFPB affirmed that MLOs employed by a state-licensed mortgage company, and who satisfy certain statutory requirements, may operate as MLOs while completing their state loan originator license application in that state. Moreover, the CFPB makes clear that as long as an MLO satisfies the minimum requirements for temporary authority, that he or she must be allowed to operate, regardless of whether the state has amended its SAFE Act implementing law to reflect the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (EGRRCPA) amendments.
Also last week, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) issued a notice that MLOs wishing to obtain temporary authority from the DRE must first have/obtain the DRE’s real estate license. Those MLOs who do not have their real estate license from the DRE will receive an “intent to deny” notice from the department. As a reminder, both the DRE and the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) license MLOs in the state. Seeking temporary authority from the DBO will not require a real estate license.
MBA Education is developing a new Compliance Essentials guide to help companies understand the new law and it will be available in the coming weeks. Recently, MBA recorded a webinar on this issue.
MISMO Issues Draft Consent Language to Comply with New Tax Law; Opens Public Comment Period
MISMO®, the mortgage industry standards organization, issued draft language to help lenders and other parties comply with a new requirement included in the recently passed Taxpayer First Act. The Taxpayer Consent Language will permit lenders to share the tax information received from the Internal Revenue Service with other parties involved in the mortgage transaction.
MISMO is releasing the draft consent language now to give the industry an opportunity to comment on the model language. This is in response to the July 1, 2019, passage of the Taxpayer First Act, which says taxpayers must give permission for their tax information to be shared. The comment period will remain open until October 23, 2019. MISMO expects that the finalized version will be ready ahead of the law’s December 28 implementation date.
“We are pleased that the MISMO community came together to develop useful and clear consent language to ensure compliance with the new law,” said JPMorgan Chase Assistant General Counsel Suzanne Garwood. “Over the next 30 days, we encourage the industry to review the consent language and share any questions or concerns they may have.”
The new Taxpayer Consent Language can be accessed here and will be available for public comment until October 23. Industry participants who have comments or questions about the Taxpayer Consent Language can contact MISMO at firstname.lastname@example.org.