#housing finance

23 10, 2023

M102323

2023-10-23T12:03:15-04:00October 23rd, 2023|6- Client Memo|

Why the New CRA Rules Won’t Serve Communities Any Better Than the Old CRA Rules

On Tuesday, the banking agencies will release the final version of their 679-page proposal to rewrite the Community Reinvestment Act.  Regrettably, much of the proposal reflected the worst of false-science staff seeking complex new models defining subjective goals combined with certainty-loving compliance officers and lawyers who just want to be told the number they need to hit, not if the number makes any sense.  Unsurprisingly, there were hundreds of comment letters in which banks generally said the agencies should ease up and community groups urged still more stringent standards.  But the story doesn’t end with this unremarkable line-up– in just the last few months, two major bank trade associations and one often-virulently anti-bank advocacy group agreed on one crucial thing:  anything close to what the agencies proposed won’t work.

m102323.pdf

23 10, 2023

Karen Petrou: Why the New CRA Rules Won’t Serve Communities Any Better Than the Old CRA Rules

2023-10-23T12:03:22-04:00October 23rd, 2023|The Vault|

On Tuesday, the banking agencies will release the final version of their 679-page proposal to rewrite the Community Reinvestment Act.  Regrettably, much of the proposal reflected the worst of false-science staff seeking complex new models defining subjective goals combined with certainty-loving compliance officers and lawyers who just want to be told the number they need to hit, not if the number makes any sense.  Unsurprisingly, there were hundreds of comment letters in which banks generally said the agencies should ease up and community groups urged still more stringent standards.  But the story doesn’t end with this unremarkable line-up– in just the last few months, two major bank trade associations and one often-virulently anti-bank advocacy group agreed on one crucial thing:  anything close to what the agencies proposed won’t work.

There are of course sharp differences between what banks and public advocates want in a new CRA rule, but what unites them is the over-arching understanding that the new approach is a cumbersome exercise remote from the reality confronting both banks and borrowers in the least-served urban and rural communities.  Banks complain – often with good reason as I showed in my book on economic inequality – that risk-based capital rules over-estimate the risk of lending to many community-focused borrowers.  The new capital proposals would ameliorate some of this in their “enhanced” risk weightings, but these weightings actually don’t count for much of anything since the proposed “higher-of” standards applies current, higher weightings.

The agencies in fact acknowledge as much …

14 09, 2023

CAPITAL235

2023-09-14T14:23:57-04:00September 14th, 2023|5- Client Report|

GOP Blasts Basel End-Game Regs, Dems Seek a Few Changes

With HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) leading the way, GOP Members of the panel’s Financial Institutions Subcommittee today blasted the banking agencies’ end-game proposal (see Client Report CAPITAL234).  Republicans were unanimous in joining leadership’s attack on the proposal’s process and substance, pointing to what they called incomplete impact analyses, an inexplicably short comment period, and adverse macroeconomic and regional-bank implications.  Democrats led by Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) were more restrained and in some cases supported the proposal, but concerns were also noted with specific provisions (e.g., re the treatment of certain mortgage and securitization assets) and the interface with the pending CRA final rule.  We continue to expect the banking agencies to hold firm to the proposal in broad terms and make minimal, if any, changes to the comment deadline.  However, pressure from Republicans and the industry could well force renewed and what many would consider improved impact analyses designed not only to allay political opposition, but also the courts if litigation challenges the final rule.

CAPITAL235.pdf

24 08, 2023

DAILY082423

2023-08-24T16:11:54-04:00August 24th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Pressley Presses for Audit of Racial Equity Pledges

Rep. Pressley (D-MA) late yesterday sent letters to the five largest US banks requesting a comprehensive financial audit of the racial equity pledges made after the George Floyd murder.  She requests detailed updates on how the commitments have been met along with any changes to the bank’s offerings.  The letter also criticizes banks for continuing to entrench racial-wealth disparities by diminishing Black-owned businesses access to credit, “modern day redlining,” and increasing the amount of unbanked and underbanked households by closing physical bank branches in majority Black neighborhoods.  Responses are requested by October 23.

Daily082423.pdf

25 07, 2023

DAILY072523

2023-07-25T17:18:26-04:00July 25th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Key Democrat Takes On Fed Rate Hikes

Ahead of today’s FOMC meeting, Joint Economic Committee Chair Heinrich (D-NV) yesterday sent a letter to Fed Chair Powell cautioning against additional policy tightening.

Second HFSC Markup Targets Stablecoins, Regulatory Restrictions, ESG

Thursday’s HFSC has now added another day to its mark-up calendar this week, moving the stablecoin and ESG bills to Thursday doubtless in order to avoid an endurance contest before the August recess and still meet Chairman McHenry’s (R-NC) commitments.

Senate GOP Tries to Block Capital Rewrite

Just days before the banking agencies take up new capital rules, Senate Banking Ranking Member Scott (R-SC) and ten other committee Republicans sent a letter to Chairman Powell demanding greater transparency and prior consultation.

Waters Presses FHFA for FHLB Reform

Following FHFA listening sessions and in anticipation of a final report this September on the FHLB system, HFSC Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) late yesterday sent a letter to FHFA Director Thompson laying out a series of recommendations to significantly reform the system.

Ag Committees Slam SEC Custody Proposal

In a letter to SEC Chairman Gensler released today, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Boozman (R-AR) and Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) along with House Ag. Committee Chairman Thompson (R-PA) and Ranking Member Scott (D-GA) raised strong objections to what they called serious flaws in the SEC’s proposed custody rule (see FSM Report CUSTODY5).

Warren, Scott Renew Fed-Ethics Campaign

Continuing their bipartisan campaign against the Fed, Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Scott (R-FL) yesterday sent a letter

14 07, 2023

DAILY071423

2023-07-14T16:23:06-04:00July 14th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

HFSC ESG Efforts Tackle Insurance Risk Pricing

Today’s HFSC Subcommittee hearing on ESG’s housing and insurance market impacts focused almost entirely on insurance.  Chairwoman De la Cruz (R-TX) argued that ESG regulations drive up home costs and distort insurance and homebuilding markets, while Ranking Member Cleaver (D-MO) asserted that climate risk is material to insurance costs, calling for long-term housing resiliency solutions.

HFSC Republicans Target Bank Supervisors

The HFSC memo ahead of next week’s hearing looking at the political independence of the banking agencies makes it clear that top agency supervisors will principally be grilled on climate-risk initiatives.  However, bills on which the session will set a record would require prior Congressional notice prior to action on any initiative advocated by the FSOC or an executive order.

Senate GOP Targets “ESG” Lending, Ideological Bias

Sens. Vance (R-OH), Lummis (R-WY) and Marshall (R-KS) yesterday introduced legislation that would bar regulators from taking action against any regulated entity based on fears of reputational risk and establish a Treasury special IG tasked with collecting tips on regulatory misconduct with a focus on ideological bias.  The IG would be responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by the FDIC, NCUA, Fed, OCC, SEC, CFTC, FHFA, and CFPB, offering recommendations or submitting quarterly reports to Congress on the nature and number of complaints.

Daily071423.pdf

17 05, 2023

DAILY051723

2023-05-17T17:44:04-04:00May 17th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Bipartisan Senate Consensus Demands Structural Change To Fed IG

At today’s Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing on Fed accountability, Chairwoman Warren (D-MA) was unsparing in her criticism of the Fed and its current IG, Mark Bialek.  She elicited the fact that he is the Fed’s highest-paid employee and, while he may be dismissed only by two-thirds of the Board, she argued that he is essentially captive and thus cannot be relied upon to investigate ethics challenges, bank failures, and internal operations.

HFSC GOP Demands LLPA Changes No Matter FHFA’s RFI

As anticipated, Chairman Davidson (D-OH) reiterated GOP demands that the FHFA rescind the entirety of its LLPA proposal at today’s HFSC Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance hearing, despite FHFA conceding to some Republican demands and issuing an RFI on the Enterprises’ single-family pricing framework earlier this week.  Mr. Davidson also pushed back on FHFA’s assertion that LLPA pricing must be set with regard to private mortgage insurance, saying that MI does not reduce taxpayer risk or GSE capital even though it is required for risk reduction and captured in the GSE capital standards.

Daily051723.pdf

26 04, 2023

Daily042623

2023-04-27T10:27:37-04:00April 26th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Senate Banking Housing Plans Focus on Affordability, Access

At today’s Senate Banking hearing on affordable housing, Chairman Brown (D-OH) framed the committee’s legislative agenda in his opening statement but did not indicate any timing or future action.

CFPB Targets Piggyback-Mortgage Collection

The CFPB today issued guidance on debt collection practices it asserts violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by attempting to collect time-barred debt where the statute of limitations has expired.

Comment Deadline Set For Sweeping FHFA Equitable Housing NPR

The Federal Register today includes FHFA’s NPR codifying Sandra Thompson’s equitable- and fair housing agenda in a body of rule that future directors would find more difficult to reverse and FHFA could enforce with more punitive standards.

HFSC GOP Demands FHFA Reverse LLPA Changes

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) and Rep. Davidson (R-OH) sent a letter to FHFA Director Thompson today demanding that the agency reverse changes to the GSEs loan level pricing adjustments (LLPAs).

LIBOR Transition Still Too Slow, Agencies Say

The Fed, FDIC, NCUA, OCC, and CFPB along with state bank and state credit union regulators today issued a joint statement reminding supervised institutions that USD LIBOR panels will end on June 30.

FDIC, OCC Deploy UDAP Powers for Targeted Deposit Fees

So far without the Fed, the FDIC and OCC today released supervisory guidance asserting that authorize-positive, settle-negative (ASPN) charges are an unfair practice under UDAAP criteria and present consumer compliance risk.

HFSC GOP Leaders Press Banking Agencies on Digital “Chokepoint” Policy

HFSC Chairman McHenry (R-NC) was …

12 04, 2023

DAILY041223

2023-04-12T17:20:45-04:00April 12th, 2023|2- Daily Briefing|

Hill Charts Different FDIC Course

In remarks today, newly-confirmed Republican FDIC Vice Chairman Travis Hill for the first time lays out his thinking ahead of a raft of FDIC decisions in SVB’s wake.

CFPB UDAAP Policy Now Effective

The Federal Register today includes the CFPB’s policy statement expanding the scope of the Bureau’s UDAAP framework, which is now effective upon this publication.

Scott Lays Out Housing Plan

In conjunction with advancing his Presidential campaign, Senate Banking Ranking Member Scott (R-SC) late yesterday announced his new federal housing framework via planned legislation, the Renewing Opportunity in the American Dream (ROAD) to Housing Act.

Basel Turns to Capital, LCR Revamp

The Basel Committee’s head, Pablo Hernández de Cos, today spoke out strongly against regulatory liberalization, implicitly criticizing the U.S. tailoring rules and urging jurisdictions to adhere tightly to Basel’s “multi-metric” standards given their proven value in the recent crisis.

Daily041223.pdf

1 03, 2023

GSE-030123

2023-03-01T16:13:02-05:00March 1st, 2023|4- GSE Activity Report|

Now, Home-Equity Discrimination, Too?

A recent FRB-Atlanta study finds that closing the racial homeownership gap alone would not redress housing market racial disparities because minority homeowners cannot equitably access home equity and thus enjoy comparable access to the economic opportunities afforded by homeownership.

GSE-030123.pdf

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