MBA President Calls for Industry to Unite, Respond to New Policies

MBA President Calls for Industry to Unite, Respond to New Policies

02/20/2013 BY: ESTHER CHO


The regulatory tidal wave has come upon the industry, declared David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), in a written speech Wednesday.

“Over 3500 pages of regulations have been released in just the first few weeks of 2013 and many more will be released by mid-year. These changes will impact business operations and the future of mortgage access for years to come,” said Stevens in his remarks for the MBA’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo.

In light of the rules, Stevens advised “listening to the CFPB staff explain the rules,” while also “letting them know, respectfully, what works, what doesn’t and what we need to work on together.”

Stevens also stressed the need for the industry to come together to make their voices heard by policymakers, explaining that until officials understand the industry and understand what servicers do, only then, Stevens said, “will they have the knowledge to propose useful, productive changes.”

Stevens also took time to spotlight the role of servicers during the housing crisis, noting millions of struggling borrower were assisted.

“In a very short amount of time, servicing went from a low cost, low touch, efficient business to a high cost, high touch, and tough environment. You were on the front lines taking, absorbing and implementing a slew of new programs and new government guidelines, with new ‘experts’ and auditors looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do and how to do it, causing major disruptions to servicing,” he said.

He went on to highlight an achievement from servicers that he said “isn’t talked about nearly enough,” which is “how much the servicing industry accomplished on its own, achieving much more than any government program.”

Citing data from HOPE NOW, he pointed out that out of the 6.06 million loans modified, nearly 5 million were proprietary modifications compared to about 1.1 million mods from the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

With new policies to respond to, Stevens reminded the industry that the burden is now upon them “to be a voice of reason in this debate.”

Admitting the MBA does not always agree with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which recently released new servicing rules, Stevens says the association has been heard by the CFPB and expressed appreciation for times when the MBA was able to sit down and explain the practical implications of proposed changes.

Stevens did say the MBA agrees with the CFPB’s objective of creating one set of rules “so that borrowers know how they will be treated and servicers know what is expected of them,” but questioned if the new servicing rules actually achieve that objective.

Stevens ended the speech by reminding everyone of their role as stakeholders in the industry.

“As stakeholders it is our duty, and our responsibility, to find workable solutions, create efficiencies and provide the best service possible to the many families we serve,” he said.

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