With More Support in Senate, New Reverse Mortgage Oversight Seems Inevitable

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine both said they would support the Wall Street reform bill, which should give Majority Leader Harry Reid enough votes to clear the 60-vote threshold to bring the financial overhaul bill to the floor this week.

The bill already passed the House of Representatives several weeks ago and Senate passage would send the bill to the White House, where President Obama is expected to quickly sign it into law.

“While it isn’t perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote,” Brown said in a statement. “It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes.”

The bill includes over 2000 pages and impacts just about every part of the financial industry, including reverse mortgages. Specifically, it creates a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which has the independent authority to write and enforce rules about consumer lending in mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

Housed in the Federal Reserve, the bureau would be required to conduct a reverse mortgage study to determine any deceptive or abusive practices within one year. It would also determine whether suitability standards are necessary, as well as safeguards to protect consumers from being sold reverse mortgages to fund inappropriate annuities, investments, and other financial products.

The bureau would also have the authority to issue regulations, orders, or guidance that apply to reverse mortgages prior to the completion of the study.

Exactly what type of regulations will come from the bill isn’t clear, but lobbying firms and associations are turning away from legislators and to the agencies that will carry out the measures.  According to the Financial Services Roundtable, 199 rules could be put into practice and 68 studies will need to be conducted after the bill is signed into law.

Finance Bill Close to Passage in Senate

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