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House passes bill to expand QM legal protections

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a mortgage-industry favored bill that would greatly expand the definition of a Qualified Mortgage (QM) but one that also faces a potential presidential veto.

By a 255-174 vote mostly along party lines, the House approved the “Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act,” which would grant the status of a QM mortgage to all loans held in portfolio. Currently only loans held in portfolio by small lenders primarily in rural and underserved areas are granted QM status, and the safe harbor legal protections.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas touted the bill as a pathway to increase credit, and reverse bad policy brought on by the Dodd-Frank legislation. Most Democrats and the White House, however, oppose it, saying it puts consumers at risk by granting safe harbor to all portfolio loans, including riskier balloon loans.  


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