The U.S. House passed legislation that would promote access to affordable mortgage credit without overturning the important consumer protections and sound underwriting required under the Dodd-Frank Act's "ability to repay" provisions. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.
“A qualified mortgage is the gold standard of home loans. Hardworking families should not be denied access to a qualified mortgage because of technicalities that are largely out of their control,” Huizenga said. “The Mortgage Choice Act enacts commonsense reforms to Dodd-Frank making it possible for low- and middle-income families to achieve a portion of the American Dream. I am glad to see strong bipartisan support for the effort to make home ownership an attainable goal.”
The Mortgage Choice Act provides clarity to the calculation of points and fees in mortgage transactions, allowing more loans to be classified as qualified mortgages and increasing affordable options for borrowers. The bill does not allow “high-cost” loans to be qualified mortgages but allows loans with the same points and fees to be treated equally under the law.
The Mortgage Choice Act, H.R. 685, passed on a bipartisan vote of 286-140. Michigan Republican Reps. David Trott, Tim Walberg and Dan Benishek co-sponsored the legislation. In addition to the co-sponsors, Republicans John Moolenaar, Justin Amash, Fred Upton and Candice Miller voted in favor. Michigan Democrats supporting the bill were Reps. Dan Kildee, Debbie Dingell and Brenda Lawrence.
As part of Financial Independence Week, the House also approved several bills that would be beneficial to Michigan.
The bills include:
H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tennessee, will ensure consumers – especially low- and moderate-income consumers – can continue to have access to affordable manufactured housing. This bipartisan legislation continues existing consumer protections, including protections that prohibit steering consumers to predatory loans.
H.R. 650 passed the House on April 14 by a vote of 263-162.
H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act, sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Missouri, and co-sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York; Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California; and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colorado, reduces confusion among consumers by clarifying that they will receive privacy notices after opening a new account when their financial institution’s privacy policies change rather than an annual notice.
H.R. 601 passed the House on April 13 by voice vote.
H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act, sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Kentucky, and co-sponsored by Rep. Reuben Hinojosa, D-Texas, provides a petition process for areas to be designated as rural for the purpose of federal consumer financial laws, which could enable more loans to rural borrowers to qualify for special treatment under CFPB rules.
H.R. 1259 passed the House on April 13 by a vote of 401-1.
H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act, sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, brings greater transparency and accountability to the CFPB by subjecting it to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Only three agencies are exempted by statute from open meeting provisions in the Federal Advisory Committee Act – the Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Federal Reserve. The CFPB is not involved in intelligence collection, covert operations, or the formation of monetary policy, so there is no reason that it cannot hold its committee and subcommittee meetings in public.
H.R. 1265 passed the House on April 13 by a vote of 401-2.