In late April, FHFA released its 2018 Scorecard Progress Report for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While it may not have received widespread attention, I found the Progress Report notable in the context of recent discussions around housing finance reform and the path forward for Fannie and Freddie (the GSEs).
The report touches on a number of important reforms that have been made at the GSEs to date. These are reforms that can and should be locked in — in order to set the stage for permanent, comprehensive reform that involves both the Administration and Congress. They include: Continue reading
Last year, MBA responded to a series of 12 requests for information (RFIs) issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or the Bureau), looking for ways the CFPB could better serve its statutory mission by improving its supervisory practices and regulatory framework. I, along with others in our industry, was encouraged by the Bureau’s openness to listening to stakeholder proposals to improve its regulation and enforcement to ensure strong consumer protections.
With the start of New Year just behind us, it’s a good time to take stock of the landscape for real estate in 2019 and beyond. As MBA’s President and CEO, I am often asked for my views on the outlook for the housing sector. There’s no doubt that a combination of low inventory, a significant drop in refinance activity, and uncertainty caused by trade wars, government shutdowns, and a volatile stock market have given many pause. Overall, however, I agree with MBA’s most recent forecast commentary that 2019 will be a good year for borrowers and lenders alike.
It’s been just over 100 days since I started as MBA’s President and CEO, and it’s been a wonderful experience meeting our members and hearing their priorities for MBA and our industry. It’s no secret that real estate finance is facing headwinds, with limited housing inventory, high home prices, and lower demand for refinancing due to climbing rates (although refis have rebounded somewhat in recent weeks). Bank, nonbank, or credit union — everybody is feeling the pinch, and MBA is working with all its members to see what we can do to help.
As the partial government shutdown drags on, MBA has been active in ensuring that interruptions in critical federal services needed to serve homebuyers, homeowners and furloughed workers are limited. As The Washington Post reported in a front-page story, we were instrumental in advocating for the resumption of the IRS IVES (Income Verification Express Service) system for processing Form 4506-T tax transcript requests. Why did we do this? We wanted to avoid having home purchase transactions delayed or canceled, and we wanted borrowers closing on refinance loans to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates to close their loans before their interest rate lock-ins expired.
I took my son, George, to pay our respects to President George Herbert Walker Bush last night, a good and decent man. We expected that any after work crowd would have dispersed by the time we arrived around 9:45, but we instead encountered throngs of people, wrapped around the block, who had come to bid adieu to a great leader. Continue reading
Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on cash-out refinances entitled, “Borrowers Are Tapping Their Homes for Cash, Even as Rates Rise.”
Because of the numerous misconceptions in the article, MBA submitted a letter to the editor in an attempt to address them. Unfortunately The Wall Street Journal decided not to run it—but I’d like to share the content of the letter with you.