House Financial Services Committee Approves “Madden Fix” Bill
A bill to provide a “Madden fix” and three other bills relevant to mortgage lenders were included among the more than 20 bills approved by the House Financial Services Committee on November 15, 2017. With the exception of H.R. 3221, “Securing Access to Affordable Mortgages Act,” the bills received strong bipartisan support.
The “Madden fix” bill is H.R. 3299, “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.” In Madden, the Second Circuit ruled that a nonbank that purchases loans from a national bank could not charge the same rate of interest on the loan that Section 85 of the National Bank Act allows the national bank to charge. The bill would add the following language to Section 85 of the National Bank Act: “A loan that is valid when made as to its maximum rate of interest in accordance with this section shall remain valid with respect to such rate regardless of whether the loan is subsequently sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred to a third party, and may be enforced by such third party notwithstanding any State law to the contrary.”
The bill would add the same language (with the word “section” changed to “subsection” when appropriate) to the provisions in the Home Owners’ Loan Act, the Federal Credit Union Act, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act that provide rate exportation authority to, respectively, federal and state savings associations, federal credit unions, and state-chartered banks. The bill was approved by a vote of 42-17. (A bill with identical language was introduced in July 2017 by Democratic Senator Mark Warner.)
Adoption of a “Madden fix” would eliminate the uncertainties created by the Second Circuit’s Madden decision. However, it would not address a second source of uncertainty for banks that lend with assistance from third parties—the argument that the bank is not the “true lender” and accordingly cannot exercise the usury authority provided to banks by federal law. As we have previously urged, the OCC and its sister agencies should adopt rules providing that loans funded by their supervised financial institutions their its own name as creditor are fully subject to federal banking laws (and not state usury laws). The OCC and FDIC have previously emphasized that their supervised entities must manage and supervise the lending process in accordance with regulatory guidance and will be subject to regulatory consequences if and to the extent that loan programs are unsafe or unsound or fail to comply with applicable law.
The other approved bills relevant to mortgage lenders are:
H.R. 3221, “Securing Access to Affordable Mortgages Act.” The bill would amend the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to exempt a mortgage loan of $250,000 or less from the higher-priced mortgage loan and general property appraisal requirements if the loan appears on the creditor’s balance sheet for at least three years. The bill would also exempt mortgage lenders and others involved in real estate transactions from incurring penalties for failing to report appraiser misconduct. The bill was approved by a vote of 32-26.
H.R. 1153, “Mortgage Choice Act of 2017.” The bill would amend TILA by revising the definition of “points and fees” to exclude escrowed insurance and fees or premiums for title examination, title insurance, or similar purposes, whether or not the title-related charges are paid to an affiliate of the creditor. The bill would direct the CFPB to issue implementing regulations within 90 days of the bill’s enactment. The bill was approved by a vote of 46-13.
H.R. 3978, “TRID Improvement Act of 2017.” The bill would amend RESPA to require that the amount of title insurance premiums reflect discounts required by state law or title company rate filings. The amendment would override the TRID rule approach to the disclosure of the lender’s and the owner’s title insurance premiums if there is a discount offered on the lender’s policy when issued simultaneously with an owner’s policy. In such cases, instead of requiring the disclosure of the actual owner’s policy premium and the actual discounted lender’s policy premium, the TRID rule currently requires the disclosure of the full, non-discounted amount of the premium for the lender’s policy, and an amount for the owner’s policy equal to the full amount of the owner’s policy premium, plus the amount for the discounted lender’s policy premium, less the full amount of the lender’s policy premium. The bill was approved by a vote of 53-5.