Regulatory Compliance: Getting it Right

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Mortgage bankers must work together–and work with regulators–to get the mortgage lending process back on track, said Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO David Stevens.

“This conference is really about trying to do things right; your entire job description is making certain the institutions that you represent get this extraordinary environment of new rules implemented in a way that doesn’t create headlines for your company,” Stevens said here at the MBA Regulatory Compliance Conference. 

Nearly 1,000 people attended this year’s conference. “If we think back a decade or two, you would never have had a conference of this size, but today’s environment is so different that it creates the need to get together to discuss these issues,” Stevens said. 

Stevens cited several recent regulatory successes for the industry. “Just under a year ago we brought a team of CEO-level leaders from banks, non-bank institutions, community banks and credit unions to the White House to meet with President Obama’s senior team, including the heads of HUD, the Office of Management and Budget, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to talk about what’s causing credit constraints and how we can we work together to expand the market,” he said.  

In addition, rep and warrant changes were needed from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Stevens said. “They announced them after long discussions on how to make changes in these protocols. And we’ve also been working with FHA, the GSEs and industry leaders to think about remedies to defects,” he said. “Just having QRM and QM in the final rule was a major accomplishment.”

Stevens called for a balance between protecting consumers and having an environment so strict that lenders are afraid to lend. 

“Without getting clarity [from regulators] we are risking Americans’ access to housing,” Stevens said. “I know who constitutes the borrowers in the FHA program. The worst thing that could happen is having this new enforcement regime make it economically impossible for you to originate mortgages in that space.”