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Panel: Consumer protection bureau may eventually regulate mortgage banking

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could be responsible for the regulation of 85% of the mortgage banking industry when supervision responsibilities shift in July 2011. A panel discussion at the Wolters Kluwer CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium in Las Vegas focused on the formation of the CFPB and how this new bureau will affect mortgage lenders after its inception July 21, 2011, as stipulated by the Dodd-Frank Act. Because the CFPB will regulate banks with more than $10 billion in assets, Steven Rosenbaum, chief of housing and civil enforcement at the U.S. Department of Justice said the biggest banks will receive the most attention. "The really large banks will see the brunt of the initial attention, and as lending becomes more and more concentrated, 75% to 85% of mortgage banks will be regulated by the CFPB," Rosenbaum said. Some panelists believed the reach of the CFPB to be a good thing like John Taylor, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. "I think it's a good thing," Taylor said. "We will have a CFPB that is nimble enough to respond." But Andrew Sandler, of the financial services law firm BuckleySandler, said the formation of the CFPB rules and supervision will only form new problems and possibly stunt the recovery of the housing market. "I think it's a huge mistake," Sandler said. "I think this is going to lead to constricted lending, and it will be something 16 to 18 months from now we'll have to re-fix." Taylor said Elizabeth Warren, whom President Obama selected as the architect of the CFPB and former chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, would not do something to cut off lending, and that she was good for the industry. He cited her stance against a national foreclosure moratorium in light of the foreclosure issues at major banks. Such an act, she said at the time, would have only created more backlog and delays in the recovery. Richard Nieman, the superintendent of banks of the state of New York and a member of COP, said Warren is making an effort to reach out to the industry and that there was no one more passionate about credit issues. "For this to work, the CFPB rulemaking and examination role will depend on a a kind of cooperation that really hasn't been seen," Nieman said. Sandler admitted that Obama has displayed "incredible confidence" in Warren. While the panel disagreed on the merits of the CFPB, one thing was certain. The banking industry will look very different next July. "On July 21, 2011, the Federal Register will be the tome of all tomes," said William Uffleman, CEO of the Nevada Bankers Association. Write to Jon Prior.

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