Coalition EffortsConsumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see "More Information" at the end of each article.
Protecting borrowers, not banks, from risky loans
Coalition advocates wrote to Congress asking them to oppose H.R. 1210. The bill would change the new Qualified Mortgage rules in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Ability-to-Repay requirement. Lenders should make a good-faith effort to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage before extending them a loan. Instead, H.R. 1210 contains an unnecessary exemption that puts all the risk on the borrower and protects the lenders from legal responsibility.
Advocates oppose effort to suspend lender liability under new mortgage rules
Coalition advocates wrote to the House of Representatives asking them to oppose H.R. 2213. The bill suspends homebuyer rights by absolving lenders from accountability for five months after new mortgage disclosure rules take effect this summer, and lets lenders off the hook even when a homeowner has been harmed. This means that homeowners who receive misleading mortgage cost disclosures during that period would have no recourse. Moreover, the legislation sets a dangerous precedent by suspending liability where legal rules apply.
In favor of improving mortgage data to prevent housing discrimination
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) is proposing to improve the quality and type of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data collected, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. HMDA data is used to evaluate mortgage lending activity, particularly to understand the dynamics of the mortgage market for underserved borrowers and communities of color. Consumer Action joins coalition advocates in supporting the CFPB's efforts to improve HDMA data collection and urges the Bureau to expand on its collection fields and take further steps to improve the quality of the data collected.
Mortgage Choice Act of 2014 protects lenders - leaves homebuyers out in the cold
The Mortgage Choice Act of 2014 (H.R. 3211) contains certain provisions that would both increase fees for homebuyers and provide additional legal protections for lenders who make riskier loans. The passage of this bill may deter consumers seeking to purchase a home or refinance their current mortgage. As the housing market continues to recover, Consumer Action joins consumer advocates in urging Congress to oppose H.R. 3211 in order to protect basic, existing, consumer safeguards.
Homeowners could see an increase in fees if mortgage rule is weakened
S. 1577—the “Mortgage Choice Act of 2013” reintroduces some of the higher fees borrowers faced in the lead up to the mortgage crisis; fees that the new mortgage rules were designed to prevent. Specifically, this bill creates a loophole that would allow many more risky, high-cost loans to qualify as Qualified Mortgage (QM) loans by creating exceptions to the points and fees threshold. Consumer Action joins advocates in urging Congress to refrain from weakening the QM standard by rejecting this bill.
Strengthening mortgage reform protections
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in supporting Sen. Brown's amendment to the Housing Finance bill (Johnson-Crapo) that would require servicers to disclose any new fees, the loan's default status and whether a loan modification application has been submitted prior to transferring servicing duties to a new mortgage servicer.
Proposed Freddie and Fannie reform needs work
Significant changes are needed to improve and strengthen the proposed Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform legislation before it could provide the access to affordable credit guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If this bill became law in its current form, it would be a giant step backward for the working class, people of color, Millennials, and other traditionally under-served communities.
Housing counseling helps families in crisis and prevents foreclosures
Consumer Action joined hundreds of housing advocates in urging Congress to increase federally funding for housing counseling in 2015. Housing counseling is a proven, cost-effective tool for Americans facing all sorts of housing challenges, including homeowners facing foreclosure, young families looking to purchase their first home, and seniors considering a reverse mortgage.
Wall Street is about to crash the housing market -- again
In a letter to housing regulators, Consumer Action joins advocates demand "immediate federal intervention" to rebalance the housing market in favor of qualified borrowers who currently can't get affordable mortgage loans. All-cash buyers keep the lending high, making it seemly impossible for first-time homebuyers to enter the market.
Homeowners could face extra tax burden in 2014
The foreclosure crisis is far from over for many homeowners. The expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act means those who were forced to short sell their homes will be subject to higher tax rates by the IRS.
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