Legislative Activity

Housing Policy in Spotlight as HUD Turns 50

This week the House Financial Services Committee will focus the majority of its attention on housing policy, as part of a look at the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fifty-year anniversary.  Financial services lawmakers will hold two hearings: one looking at the role HUD has played in the development of the nation’s housing policy, and the other considering reforms to housing policy that will “create housing opportunity.”  Specifically, this hearing will feature H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015 – legislation introduced by Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) – that would “take the first steps to reform the programs and processes at HUD and [Rural Housing Service].”

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, October 21: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing titled “Examining Legislative Proposals to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Main Street Job Creators.”
  • Wednesday, October 21: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will hold a hearing titled “The Future of Housing in America: Federal Housing Reforms that Create Housing Opportunity.”
  • Thursday, October 22: The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Future of Housing in America: 50 Years of HUD and its impact on Federal Housing Policy.”

Regulatory Activity

DOL to Make Changes to Fiduciary Rule

On Friday, October 16, following increased bipartisan pressure over concerns regarding the Department of Labor’s (DOL) re-proposed Fiduciary Rule and its potential negative impact on the retirement investment market, DOL Secretary Thomas Perez announced that his Department will make changes to the proposal, which he is “confident” will resolve concerns and improve the rule. What such changes will look like and when they will be released remains unclear, as Secretary Perez noted that he “can’t really get specific [] because of where we are at in the rulemaking process.”

CFPB Finalizes HDMA Reporting Rule, Considers Proposal to Ban Arbitration Clauses

On Thursday, October 15, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized a rule aimed at improving information reported about the residential mortgage market. The final rule makes changes to what data financial institutions are required to provide in an effort to improve the quality of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data in the housing market. The Bureau is also working with other federal agencies to streamline the reporting process for financial institutions.  Most of the rule’s provisions are set to take effect on January 1, 2018.  During 2018, lenders will be required to collect the new information and report on the information collected by March 1, 2019.

Additionally, earlier this month, the CFPB announced that it is considering proposing rules to ban consumer financial companies from using “free pass” arbitration clauses to block consumers from using class action suits to obtain relief. In making this announcement, the CFPB referenced a study from March of this year, which found that arbitration clauses restrict consumers’ relief for disputes with financial service providers by allowing companies to block class action suits. As the first step in the process toward a potential rulemaking, the Bureau on October 7, published an outline of the proposals under consideration in preparation for convening a Small Business Review Panel to gather feedback from small industry stakeholders.