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MBA lobbyist: Here’s what a Democrat-led House means to us

One expert offers insight on what the finance industry is saying

On Tuesday night, Democrats reclaimed control of the House of Representatives, securing more than 200 seats across the country.

As more Democrats head to the House, representatives are expected to shake things up and housing groups are calling on the new House to focus on the housing industry. 

Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Lobbyist Bill Killmer spoke with HousingWire about changes that are likely to come to the finance industry. 

For one, Killmer believes there will be an emphasis on issues ranging from consumer protection, affordable housing and more.

"There will be a large shift on consumer data, privacy issues, and I also think a big emphasis on affordable housing and the role of the Federal Housing Administration," Killmer said, adding that government housing programs are also likely to be a hot topic. 

Notably, Killmer also said the industry predicts that Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is likely to become the next chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and will most likely be leading the charge on some of these issues. 

Throughout this year, Waters has been extremely vocal on policies impacting the finance and housing industry, calling for increased regulation of big banks.

In September, Waters and 18 legislators demanded the Federal Reserve continue to regulate megabanks, calling into question Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles request to weaken capital requirements.

In the letter, Democrats highlighted evidence that indicated that high capital standards and regulatory improvements have strengthened the financial system since the financial crisis. 

From the letter:

“Strong capital requirements are the cornerstone of an effective regulatory regime that promotes financial stability while supporting stable economic growth,” the members stated. “The financial crisis a decade ago taught a painful lesson about how damaging an undercapitalized financial system can be – a recent Federal Reserve study estimated the crisis cost every American about $70,000. Thus, we urge the Federal Reserve not to forget that costly lesson and maintain the appropriately tough capital requirements on G-SIBs."

Waters' advocacy transcends the finance sector, even championing policies directly impacting the housing industry.

In July, Waters and 61 legislators demanded that Congress keep the National Flood Insurance Program active.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the legislators outlined their concerns, citing Congress’ lack of certainty that the NFIP would be available for American families facing inevitable floods.

Although Killmer says the MBA is excited about Waters making housing a top concern, the industry will have to see how things shake out, especially as the Senate is still under GOP control.

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