On April 18th and 19th ten members from CMLA joined over 400 Mortgage Lenders from all over the country at MBA’s National Advocacy Conference. All told, those in attendance held nearly 210 meetings with Members of Congress representing 38 states and Puerto Rico.  Those attending as part of our Colorado delegation were: Don Brown from Secondary Interactive,  Patricia Cannon and Debbie VanHoosen from AmeriSphere Multifamily, Leslie Duchene from CBRE Capital Markets, Kim Starley from Lender Live, Jerra Ryan and Terry Jones from Cherry Creek Mortgage, Mike Rosser from QBE First, and Debra Still and Keegan Zimmerman from Pulte Mortgage.

During the general briefing sessions on the 18th, prior to the Capitol Hill visits on the 19th,  all conference attendees heard from Senate Banking Committee member Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) of the Senate Banking Committee, and House Financial Services Committee members Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan also addressed attendees at a breakfast on Thursday morning.  A common theme that ran through all of the presentations was that it is unlikely that a great deal of substantial progress will be made on the legislative front prior to the election this year.  On the other hand, the lame duck session, after the election and before the new congress is sworn in will bear careful watching as there will likely be a number of members of Congress that will not win reelection or will have retired and it is difficult to predict what a lame duck congress might do.

Our Colorado Residential Delegation met with Representative Gardner, Degette, Coffman, Perlmutter and Polis’ staff.  We also met with both Senator Bennet and Senator Udall’s staff as well.  In the seven meetings we had on the 19th we talked about the need for Congress to restore certainty to real estate finance for the benefit of consumers and the mortgage industry alike.  In many ways we were drawing the attention of our Representatives and Senators to the Regulatory Agencies such as the CFPB and the need to watch the development of regulation carefully to be sure it does not exceed its congressional mandate.  In particular, we discussed the need for a safe harbor QM as part of the Ability to Repay rule soon to be issued by the CFPB and the need to remove the down payment and Income ratios from the QRM definition in the Risk Retention Rule.  We talked about the need to strengthen the Real Estate Market and the need to attract private Capital to the market along with the need to provide FHA with the resources, staffing and funding to make sure that they are capable of meeting the needs of the marketplace in a safe, sound and prudent manner.

We also discussed our concerns that Congress stop “raiding the real estate “piggy bank” as was done when the Fannie and Freddie’s guaranty fee was raised 10 basis points for the next 10 years to pay for the first two months extension of the payroll tax cut late last year.  We talked about GSE reform and what that might look like along with raising our concerns that the GSE’s limit their repurchase requests to reasons tied to the loans lack of performance and cease requiring repurchases for technical reasons that have nothing to do with the reason for a default or the quality of the mortgage purchased by Fannie or Freddie.  All of our visits on the hill went very well.

New at the NAC this year was a separate track of Capitol Hill meetings for MBA's Commercial/Multifamily members to provide a more focused forum to discuss the unique nature of their issues. In addition to key committee staff, participating in this discussion were Senate Banking Committee members Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and House Financial Services Committee members Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).

On Thursday, April 19, 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin clarifying that states may grant transitional loan originator licenses to individuals who holds a valid loan originator license from another state.  The bulletin indicated that the CFPB's current SAFE Act regulations, however,  do not allow states to provide transitional licenses to registered loan originators who work for banks and seek to work for state regulated mortgage lenders.  CMLA and MBA have worked very hard advocating transitional licenses for both categories of qualified originators.  While the CFPB’s announcement is an important first step, it is now important to advocate appropriate revisions, by the CFPB to its rules and the states to state requirements, to implement transitional licensing.  Implementation of transitional licensing for all qualified originators will help ensure that consumers benefits from strong competition and high quality service by originators for sustainable mortgage credit