It now seems all but certain that 2014 will end without any further progress on comprehensive mortgage finance legislation.
But the coming months will offer little comfort for those who rooted for such a stalemate in hope of avoiding hard decisions about fundamental parts of the current system.
Before Mel Watt could even get his name plate on the door as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, top federal regulators are already urging him to end contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund.
The mortgage industry is leveraging technology like never before, streamlining processes across the spectrum of lending, servicing, investing and real estate. The combination of regulatory pressure and consumer expectations have set a high standard for efficiency and transparency, requiring a significant investment of time, money and talent to hit the right notes for both.
Ironically, the monkey on the mortgage industry’s back for the past 10 years — increasing regulation — is the very thing that forced companies to find efficiencies in every part of the process, which serves them well as they look to engage tech-savvy consumers. Even as the enforcement of some of those regulations is now in question, the long-lasting benefits of investing in automation will stand.
Mortgage banks have traditionally been slow to embrace new technologies, and while the technology that has improved efficiency, security and customer experience in a multitude of other industries (transportation, education and retail, to name a few) is finding its way into the loan production process, a lot of opportunity still exists in other stages of the mortgage life cycle.