Industry keeps up pressure on CFPB over QM

A group of 22 industry trade associations sent a fresh letter Friday to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, lobbying for a safe harbor provision under the upcoming Qualified Mortgage rule.

The CFPB will finalize the QM rule his summer, outlining the steps lenders must take to ensure a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage.

Two weeks ago, a group of 33 industry groups sent a letter to the CFPB, asking for a broad approach to the rule. Executives at the Mortgage Bankers Association and some members of the trade group had meetings with administration officials over the rule in March.

“The outcome was positive and I think we made significant progress in moving the views of so many,” the MBA said in a note.

In the most recent letter sent Friday, industry groups pressed the bureau to adopt a version of the rule that would shield lenders from potential litigation should the loan go into foreclosure. Under a “rebuttable presumption of compliance” option, some of the industry believe the bureau could allow any future foreclosure be thrown out if the loan did not fit the criteria.

Borrower advocates and attorneys argue the rebuttable presumption would hold lenders accountable to the guidelines or face a potential lawsuit.

The influential groups, including the MBA, American Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors claim without the safe harbor many smaller lenders would leave the space, effectively reducing competition and driving up costs.

“Smaller lenders will have great difficulty managing this degree of risk and the resultant litigation costs,” the letter reads. “A presumption can be expected to result in the exit of lenders — large and small — from the market and a reduction in credit from those remaining. This will harm consumers by depriving them of robust competition and lower costs.”

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