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Lending

Fear and loathing of QM rule is not necessary

CFPB director attempts to calm market fears

January 7, 2014

The Qualified Mortgage and Ability-to-Repay rules tend to incite images of a tightly constricted and heavily regulated mortgage market. At least that's the perceived scenario circulating throughout the industry.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unveiled QM at the beginning of 2013, giving lenders and servicers ample time to comb through the issues. 

But even with a full-year's notice, there are still some companies who are lagging behind or fearful of the impending restrictions.

As covered in a previous HousingWire article, Laurie Spira, chief compliance officer for DocMagic, said that while she has customers who are already originating under QM, there are others who are closing loans ahead of time to ensure borrowers outside of the QM parameters get loans before Friday.

However, in a meeting Tuesday with the National Association of Realtors, CFPB Director Richard Cordray reiterated that the QM rule is not the end of the mortgage market.  

"The rule does not mean consumers, realtors and lenders will have to jump through unreasonable hoops to get a loan," Cordray said. "And the rule does not mean only Qualified Mortgage loans will be allowed; lenders can continue to use their own reasonable judgment when looking at a consumer’s ability to repay."

Taking it a step further, Cordray explained that the rule does not restrict down payments and says nothing about how much of a down payment the consumer has to make on the house.

And for those still concerned, the director said the ATR rule does not alter anything about a consumer’s current mortgage.

QM and the ATR will only apply to new mortgages that people originate on or after Jan. 10.

Despite industry skepticism, even the director of the CFPB encouraged lenders to lend outside of QM.

"As long as lenders ensure the best underwriting standards, they should be fine," Cordray said in a previous HousingWire article.

"Lenders that have long upheld such standards have little to fear from the ability-to-repay rule; the strong performance of their loans over time demonstrates the care they have taken in underwriting to ensure that borrowers have the ability to repay," Cordray concluded.

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