U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., believes the proposed qualified-residential mortgage rule defies the original intent of Dodd-Frank in its current form.
The Senator jumped off Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's Thursday comments about lending being too tight, citing those statements as proof regulators have gone too far in drafting Dodd-Frank mortgage rules.
Isakson said he agreed early on with Dodd-Frank addressing the issue of qualified homebuyers. Still, he believes the proposed 20% down payment requirement for compliance with the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule is too steep and not in line with the legislation's original intent.
The qualified residential mortgage rule is part of risk-retention requirements that force financial firms to maintain a 5% stake in loans sold off to investors when the transaction is not supported by mortgages that meet QRM requirements. One of the proposed requirements, which has yet to be finalized, is a 20% downpayment in order for a loan to be exempt from the risk-retention rules.
"If the administration is serious about improving the economy, it cannot impose overly restrictive rules like the one that is on the table now and expect economic recovery," Sen. Isakson wrote Friday.
He added, "The financial regulators who are preparing to implement this provision have interpreted the Isakson-Hagan-Landrieu QRM provision in a way that the senators did not intend."
Isakson believes Bernanke's statement on overly restrictive lending guidelines should spark interest in revisiting how Dodd-Frank rules are drafted.