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Blog: Senate committee passes Dodd-Frank relief

The Senate Banking Committee moved forward a Dodd-Frank regulatory relief bill on Tuesday that contains numerous items that the mortgage industry has been wishing for this holiday season.

regulatreliefThe Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, S-2155, a bipartisan-sponsored bill, does not call for a sweeping overhaul of the financial sector as was proposed by the Republican-led House bill, the Financial CHOICE Act. Instead, it packages several small bills that were strongly supported by the mortgage industry, small banks and credit unions, but couldn’t gain traction during the Obama years.

The committee voted 16 to 7 to move the bill to the full Senate. Four Democrats on the committee voted in favor of it.

On the top of the mortgage-industry’s wish list is a section that would revise the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 to allow bank loan officers to obtain a temporary 120-day license while completing the extra licensing requirements for nonbank originators. This would also allow nonbank originators to move more freely to other states.

Another section would give safe-harbor legal protections to portfolio loans held by banks and credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets. The bill also takes aim at a problematic section of the TRID consumer-disclosure rules that sometimes require originators to wait three days before closing on a loan if any of the terms of the loan change.

Under this bill, an originator would not have to wait, if the lender offers a lower percentage rate. The bill also writes into the law that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) should endeavor to provide clear guidance to the industry — a longstanding complaint of the industry.

Another section of the bill would exempt smaller lenders who originate fewer than 500 mortgages or 500 open-ended lines of credit a year from many of the mandatory reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Other sections of the pending bill that directly pertain to the mortgage industry would make it possible to originate federally-backed loans with balances less than $400,000 for properties in rural areas that have not been appraised, when a state-licensed or certified appraiser is not available. The bill also would make Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans subject to federal regulations and oversight in what would be another win for the mortgage lobby.

In other business of interest to the industry, the Banking Committee voted to approve the nomination of Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump’s pick to succeed Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve. Only Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, voted against. Powell’s nomination will now got to the full Senate. Yellen’s term ends on Feb. 3. 


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