MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) newly installed president and CEO, delivered his inaugural speech to MBA's annual convention on Monday, and he appears, at least from his prepared remarks, to be coming out swinging.  His address opened with the sentence, "Mortgage market regulations are increasing costs and limiting YOUR ability to serve YOUR customers."

After presenting his background in the mortgage industry, Broeksmit went on to detail what he and MBA plan to do about those regulations, noting that new leadership in seven regulatory offices* that oversee the mortgage industry presents new opportunities to educate and inform policymakers. He also said MBA will be working with the new Congress to be elected next month regardless of who wins. The goal is to recommend reasonable changes to the regulations and laws which he said have increased costs or prevented MBA members from serving their customers.

Broeksmith said he has held meetings with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery to address loan-level and annual certifications and the use of the False Claims Act "to extract treble damages from lenders for what are often TRIVIAL loan defects that have no bearing on loan performance" The association has also suggested amendments to FHA origination and servicing guidelines, technology funding, the defect taxonomy, and other policies.  MBA is also asking HUD, along with the Department of Labor, to address Davis-Bacon split wage rates that he said raise costs on FHA-financed multifamily projects.

Among other priorities on MBA's advocacy schedule are:

  • To make sure Treasury and IRS allow commercial and independent mortgage banks the full benefits of the recent tax bill.
  • Ensuring that the BCFP (apparently the name of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been reorganized) "upholds its intended mission to protect consumers and enable more consumer choice" through "helping to rationalize and streamline regulations that impede competition but don't benefit consumers."
  • Asking BCFP to improve the loan officer compensation rules and re-examine Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage rules, the Consumer Complaint Database, and HMDA requirements.

Broeksmit echoed the principle topic of new MBA Chairman Chris George in his speech earlier in the day - GSE reform will be a major goal of MBA when a new director replaces Melvin Watt at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) early next year.  MBA will continue to educate policymakers on the impacts of reform on the mortgage industry and the market and how much the market has changed in the 10 years since the GSEs were placed in conservatorship.  The GSEs and FHFA have played a vital role in these changes, he said, and in leveling the playing field for participants. But GSEs' long-term ability to support the housing market greatly depends on permanently reforming some of the structural problems that contributed to the crisis.

MBA will continue pushing for an explicit government guarantee on mortgage backed securities issued by the GSEs and equal access to the secondary market regardless of business model or size and will  pave the way for the return of private capital to the secondary market.

*FHA, FHFA, BCFP the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Comptroller of the Currency, DIC, OCC, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.