The federal Ability to Repay Rule has always been a study in contradiction. Back in 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued the rule to instill strict underwriting standards for mortgage loans, but also hoped not to hamper the availability of affordable home loans for creditworthy borrowers.
The rule provided a safe harbor that would promote compliance certainty, but still claimed that lenders have the flexibility to underwrite loans outside that safe harbor. The rule encouraged lenders to make Qualified Mortgages, but hoped that a safe non-QM market would develop. The CFPB predicted the eventual return of private capital to fund mortgage loans, but cemented the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Does the CFPB’s recent proposal to revamp QMs, issued in June, send a clearer message?