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IRS Rejects Developer-led Attempts to Expand 8,700 Opportunity Zone Boundaries

Originally published on May 17, 2021 by TheRealDeal.com. 

Developers who had hoped for potential expansion of Opportunity Zones won’t be getting their way.

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House Passes Legislation Addressing FHA Appraisals

The House on May 18 passed HR 3008, the Homebuyer Assistance Act, legislation reintroduced by Reps. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., and Van Taylor, R-Texas, that would amend the National Housing Act and allow state-licensed appraisers to perform appraisals for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The legislation would require compliance with existing appraiser education requirements.

A previous version of the bill was introduced in the last Congress and passed the House, but did not receive a vote in the Senate. House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters is working with Sherman and Taylor to help advance this version of the legislation.

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FHFA Announces New Refinance Option for Low-Income Families with Enterprise-Backed Mortgages

Originally published on April 28, 2021, by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

​​​​​​Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced today Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will implement a new refinance option for low-income borrowers with Enterprise-backed single-family mortgages. Eligible borrowers will benefit from a reduced interest rate and lower monthly payment. FHFA estimates that borrowers who take advantage of the new refinance option could save an average of between $100 and $250 a month.  

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CFPB Delays Mandatory Compliance Date for General Qualified Mortgage Final Rule

Originally published on April 27, 2021, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) formally delayed the mandatory compliance date of the General Qualified Mortgage (QM) final rule from July 1, 2021 to October 1, 2022. The CFPB is taking this action to help ensure access to responsible, affordable mortgage credit, and preserve flexibility for consumers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects.

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FHFA Extends Appraisal Loan Flexibilities Due to COVID-19

Originally published on April 21, 2021, by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

​​Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced today that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend some temporary loan origination flexibilities until May 31, 2021. All temporary flexibilities were originally set to expire on April 30, 2021.

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House Approves Real Estate Valuation Fairness Legislation

Oriignally published on April 21, 2021, for the Appraisal Institute.

The House Financial Services Committee on April 20 approved HR 2553, the Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act, legislation that would establish an interagency task force to analyze federal collateral underwriting standards and guidance, and provide resources for promoting diversity within the valuation profession. The bill now moves to a full House vote, but no date has been set.

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Biden Seeks More Affordable Housing with $5B in Incentives

Originally published on April 8, 2021, by Andy Sullivan for Reuters.com.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden is seeking to ease a national affordable housing shortage by pushing local governments to allow apartment buildings in neighborhoods that are currently restricted to single-family homes.

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CFPB Looks to Ban Foreclosure Starts Until 2022

Originally published on April 5, 2021, by The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today proposed a set of rule changes intended to help prevent avoidable foreclosures as the emergency federal foreclosure protections expire. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, millions of families nationwide have suffered the loss of income and nearly 3 million homeowners are behind on their mortgages. The CFPB’s proposal seeks to ensure that both services and borrowers have the tools and time they need to work together to prevent avoidable foreclosures, recognizing that the expected surge of borrowers exiting forbearance in the fall will put mortgage servicers under strain.

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$2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Includes Billions for Real Estate

Originally published on April 2, 2021 for The Real Estate Roundtable.

President Joe Biden on March 31 announced the first part of his sweeping economic growth proposal focused on infrastructure and clean energy – a $2.3 trillion, eight-year plan that White House officials said would be funded, over 15 years, by corporate and international tax increases. (Wall Street Journal and White House Fact Sheet: The American Jobs Plan, March 31)

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CFPB Rescinds Temporary Appraisal Flexibilities

Originally published on March 31, 2021, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today announced it is rescinding seven policy statements issued last year that provided temporary flexibilities to financial institutions in consumer financial markets including mortgages, credit reporting, credit cards, and prepaid cards. The seven rescissions, effective April 1, provide guidance to financial institutions on complying with their legal and regulatory obligations. With the rescissions, the CFPB is providing notice that it intends to exercise the full scope of the supervisory and enforcement authority provided under the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB is also rescinding its 2018 bulletin on supervisory communications and replacing it with a revised bulletin describing its use of matters requiring attention (MRAs) to effectively convey supervisory expectations.

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Fed Says Financial Conditions Remain ‘Accommodative,’ No Rate Hikes Expected

Originally published on March 17, 2021, by Mike Sorohan for MBA Newslink. 

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AI Supports Legislation Focused on Fairness in Valuation

Originally published on March 9, 2021 by Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry.

The Appraisal Institute on March 9 sent a letter to the House Committee on Financial Services expressing its support for the Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act of 2021. The legislation would establish an interagency task force to analyze federal collateral underwriting standards and guidance and provide resources for promoting diversity in the valuation profession.

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FHFA Extends Moratorium on Single-family Foreclosures

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend the moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until February 28, 2021.  The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by an Enterprise through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The current moratoriums were set to expire on January 31, 2021.

“To keep our communities safe, and families in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHFA is extending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's foreclosure and eviction moratorium," said Director Mark Calabria. 

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SBA Re-opens Paycheck Protection Program for New and Some Current Borrowers

The Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, on Jan. 11 re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program for new borrowers and select current ones. The latest round of funding authorizes up to $284 billion for small business owners to aid in job retention for their employees and to assist with other expenses.

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Supreme Court Denies Further Stay in FTC Case Against LREAB

The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 18 declined to intervene or issue a further stay of the administrative proceedings brought by the Federal Trade Commission against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, making it the first case concerning real estate appraisers to reach the Supreme Court in almost 60 years.

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that certain LREAB regulatory actions regarding appraisal management company payments of reasonable and customary fees to appraisers are anti-competitive and in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

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FHFA Seeks Input on Appraisal Policies, Practices and Processes

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Request for Input (RFI) on appraisal-related policies, practices, and processes. The input received in response to the RFI will be used by FHFA to determine the necessary modifications needed to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) operate in a safe and sound manner.

“Modernizing the appraisal process has the potential to create a more streamlined and accurate collateral valuation process. But if modernization is not properly adopted, it could have negative unintended consequences," said Director Mark Calabria. “Today's RFI will improve FHFA's understanding of how the Enterprises can improve the appraisal process while at the same time ensuring they don't take on unintended or inappropriate levels of risk. The comments we receive will inform how we will modernize appraisals to improve both loan quality and the origination process."

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Fannie, Freddie Need "Significant Capital" to Exit Conservatorship, Mnuchin Says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee Dec. 2 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need “significant capital” to get out of conservatorship, but noted that no definitive plans have been made for the government-sponsored enterprises, HousingWire reported. The Federal Housing Finance Agency plans to stay its course even with the incoming Biden presidency.

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AI Urges Swift Passage of Appraisal Portal Legislation

The Appraisal Institute sent a letter urging swift passage of the Portal for Appraisal Licensing Act of 2020 in the 116th Congress, which would amend the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to establish a portal for appraisal credentialing and AMC registration information, and for other purposes.

“Appraisers need help reducing their administrative burdens and servicing clients, particularly in a socially distant workplace where clients may be located in other states,” said Appraisal Institute President Jefferson L. Sherman, MAI, AI-GRS.

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FHFA Rereleases Proposed Capital Rule for Fannie, Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it is seeking comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking that establishes a new regulatory capital framework for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). The proposed rule is a re-proposal of the notice of proposed rulemaking published in July 2018. Comments will be due 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. 

The 2018 proposal remains the foundation of the re-proposal. The enhancements in the new proposal preserve the mortgage risk-sensitive framework of the 2018 proposal, while increasing the quantity and quality of the Enterprises' regulatory capital and reducing the pro-cyclicality of the aggregate capital requirements. Together, the enhancements in the re-proposal ensure each Enterprise's safety and soundness and its ability to fulfill its statutory mission across the economic cycle, in particular during periods of financial stress. The re-proposal is also a critical step toward responsibly ending the conservatorships.

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ECOA Valuations Rule Updated to Address Coronavirus

Creditors have flexibility regarding when they must provide appraisals to mortgage applicants, according to an updated Q&A on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act Valuations Rule released April 29 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under ordinary circumstance, creditors are required to provide appraisals promptly upon completion or three business days prior to consummation of a transaction.

Read the Rule Here