Advocacy Update: MBA Urges VA to Amend Regulations on Buyer Agent Commissions; FHFA’s Title Pilot Sparks Concerns; MAA Call to Actions in Mass. and Fla.

MBA Urges VA to Modify Prohibition on Commission Payments by Veterans

Following recent discussions with the Department of Veterans Affair, MBA sent a letter last Wednesday addressing the implications of the proposed settlement recently entered into by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This settlement, if approved, will modify the way buyers and sellers negotiate compensation for buyer agents. In some cases, Veteran buyers may need to pay their agent directly. Notably, the VA currently prohibits Veterans from paying fees to real estate agents, placing them at a disadvantage during the home-buying process.

MBA’s letter advocates for the VA to amend its regulations, permitting Veterans to pay reasonable fees to retain agent representation in the home buying process.

Why it matters: Without the flexibility to choose to pay their agent, Veterans seeking to utilize their VA benefits for home purchases could find the program unfeasible in instances where sellers refuse to pay buyer agent commissions.

What’s next: MBA will continue to engage with the VA as the ramifications of the NAR settlement become more clear.

For more information, please contact Darnell Peterson at (202) 557-2922.

MBA Expresses Concerns Regarding FHFA’s Title Pilot

Last week, MBA sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) expressing concerns regarding their recent announcement of the approval of a “Title Acceptance Pilot,” which aims to reduce costs for a small group of borrowers.

The pilot would allow Fannie Mae to remove existing requirements that a lender’s title insurance policy or Attorney Opinion Letter (AOL) be obtained for certain transactions.

Go deeper: MBA’s concerns center on the fact that this program has not gone through the proper procedures required by FHFA for new products and activities and that the pilot appears to violate MBA’s long standing “bright line” principles by encroaching into the primary mortgage market.

The letter also highlights the possible for increased risk, particularly to taxpayers, that could result from the elimination of title insurance.

Why it matters: Based on the definitions established in FHFA’s New Enterprise Products and Activities Final Rule, MBA believes the title acceptance pilot should be considered a new activity and a new product, which would merit a public notice and comment period.

Bypassing the established requirements prevents FHFA from receiving important feedback regarding the possible wide-ranging impacts of this pilot, especially as it seeks to take over a primary mortgage market function currently performed in the private sector at no risk to taxpayers.

What’s next: MBA has requested the opportunity to discuss this issue further with FHFA. We will remain engaged with FHFA and will continue to monitor developments with the title acceptance pilot and the larger ongoing conversation surrounding mortgage origination costs.

For more information, please contact Sasha Hewlett at (202) 557-2805.

FHFA Advances Implementation of Certain FHLBank System at 100 Recommendations

Last week, FHFA provided an update on the implementation of recommendations included in its FHLBank System at 100 Report.

FHFA is publishing a regulatory interpretation that clarifies how Cooperativas in Puerto Rico can pursue membership in the FHLBank System. This follows a significant finding of the report that the FHLBanks must appropriately support housing and community development in their districts, in addition to providing liquidity to members.

Go deeper: According to FHFA, Cooperativas are a critical part of the financial system in Puerto Rico and many are Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

FHFA also highlighted three other priorities for 2024, which include clarifying the FHLBank System mission, aligning eligibility requirements for different types of FHLBank members, and streamlining requirements related to the Affordable Housing Program.

Why it matters: While the FHLBank System at 100 report failed to address longstanding MBA advocacy issues including diversifying the FHLB system through the expansion of membership to reflect todays housing finance system, the report did contain several recommendations related to the FHLB mission, liquidity, housing and community development, and operational effective and governance.

What’s next: FHFA will continue to provide updates on this initiative and will hold stakeholder engagement sessions on various topics highlighted in the report.

MBA will remain engaged with FHFA, the FHLBs, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and continue to advocate for expanding membership to institutions like IMBs and mortgage REITs – critically important sectors of our financial market that are almost exclusively focused on housing finance.

For more information, please contact Sasha Hewlett at (202) 557-2805.

MAA Call to Action in Massachusetts Urges for Restoration of Remote Counseling Options for Reverse Loans

Last week, MBA’s Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA) and the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association (MMBA) issued a call to action urging members to contact their representatives to allow telephone and video counseling for reverse mortgages in Massachusetts to continue.

The provision in state law, which permitted these forms of consumer counseling on reverse mortgage loans, expired on March 31, 2024, via sunset.

Why it matters: Thanks to MMBA’s advocacy, language was included in the House version of an emergency funding bill (sections 11 & 12 of H.4466) that would restore and make permanent these flexibilities for delivering consumer counseling. Massachusetts MAA members must ask their representatives to tell the six-member conference committee to resolve final language differences between the two chambers and include the House language in a final bill.

What’s next: MBA will continue to support MMBA in its efforts to get these sections enacted in this emergency legislation. If you are a resident of Massachusetts and have not taken action yet, please click here to do so now.

For more information, please contact William Kooper (202) 557-2737 or Liz Facemire at (202) 557-2870. For more information about MAA, please contact or Jamey Lynch (202) 557-2818.

Florida MAA Members Urge Governor DeSantis to Veto Harmful Residential PACE Legislation

In another MAA Call to Action last week, Florida MAA members and the MBA of Florida (MBAF) asked Governor Ron DeSantis to veto SB-770, which would significantly expand the number and types of projects eligible for financing by Florida’s residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program without first subordinating residential PACE liens to mortgages.

MBA has long opposed residential PACE programs because they create risk to lenders and consumers due to the priority status the PACE lien is granted ahead of previously recorded first-mortgages. They also expose consumers to further risk because they are not yet covered by MBA-supported federal consumer protection regulations currently being written by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Why it matters: Expanding the PACE program, which MBA opposes, would preclude borrowers from future refinancing of their first mortgages with a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and VA, or with a loan sold to the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (GSEs). Similarly, buyers of homes with PACE liens cannot obtain federally backed financing unless the PACE lien is first paid off in its entirety.

What’s next: MBA will continue to support the MBAF in its efforts to stop this harmful legislation. If you are a resident of Florida and have not taken action yet, please click here to do so now. To read the MBAF letter to Governor DeSantis, click here.

For more information, please contact William Kooper (202) 557-2737 or Liz Facemire at (202) 557-2870. For more information about MAA, please contact or Jamey Lynch (202) 557-2818.

Mortgage Call Report Version 6 (MCRV6) Office Hours Next Monday

On Monday, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) will host its biweekly “Office Hours” on MCRV6 implementation. MBA urges members to participate in these office hours to ensure all issues are addressed prior to the April 2024 filing date. CSBS has continued to make updates to their FAQs document, provided a list of states who have agreed to use the State Specific Supplemental Form (SSSF), and updated the list states offering a grace period for Q1 2024 MCRV6 filings.

All updates can be found on the new Mortgage Call Report page. Office hours will remain on Mondays at 1:00pm ET on Zoom. To join the Zoom meeting (all sessions), use the following link and ID and Passcode:


Meeting ID: 821 0299 5323

Passcode: 102696

Why it matters: Licensees should already be collecting the appropriate MCR data for this new version and preparing to file.

What’s next: MBA and its state partners continue to collaborate in reaching out to state regulators to urge them to offer licensees a grace period or other flexibility for Q1 2024 MCR filings. The next office hours call is scheduled for April 22 – the series is expected to end May 6, before the first quarter filing deadline.

For more information, please contact William Kooper (202) 557-2737 or Liz Facemire (202) 557-2870.

Get Involved in MAA Action Week: April 29 – May 3!

MBA’s annual MAA Action Week is arriving soon, April 29 – May 3! Sign up today and promote the importance of advocacy within your company or organization. This industry-wide campaign allows ALL of us to take part and engage in the legislative and regulatory process on issues that directly impact real estate finance professionals. Membership in MAA can make a difference in how YOU and your company drive positive change by adding your voice to our collective efforts.

Why it matters: Advocacy happens 365 days a year. Through regular contact with your lawmakers and their staff members via MAA Calls to Action and other sustained “grasstops” efforts, you can establish yourself as a “go-to” constituent for our industry.

What’s next: Save the date for MAA’s Quarterly Webinar Series hosted by the Legislative & Political Affairs team on Thursday, May 2, at 2:00 PM ET. Hear key policy updates – along with case studies describing how the MBA staff is advocating on behalf of our association’s members to help achieve pro-industry outcomes. More information will be shared in the coming weeks.

For more information, please contact Jamey Lynch, AMP at (202) 557-2818 or Erin Reilly at (202) 557-2751.

Upcoming MBA Education Webinars on Critical Industry Issues

MBA Education continues to deliver timely single-family and commercial/multifamily programming that covers the spectrum of challenges, obstacles and solutions pertaining to our industry. Below, please see a list of upcoming and recent webinars – which are complimentary to MBA members:

Mastering Compliance, Efficiency, and Successful Adoption with Consumer Permission Platforms – April 11

Rethink Everything: You “Know” To Be A Next Gen Loan Officer – A Deeper Dive With the Writers & Experts Webinar Series: Social Media – April 17

Climate-Change Disclosure Rules and Impact on Mortgage Lending – April 18

Basics of Commercial Loan Closing and Loan Documentation – May 9

Using Data and Technology to Connect with Today’s Buyers to Increase Homeownership – May 14

MBA members can register for any of the above events and view recent webinar recordings by clicking here.

For more information, please contact David Upbin or (202) 557-2931.