Huizenga's Bipartisan Qualified Mortgage Legislation Passes House Unanimously
Tonight, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 3211, the Mortgage Choice Act, authored by Congressman Bill Huizenga. H.R. 3211 amends and clarifies the qualified mortgage definition in the Dodd-Frank Act thereby improving access to credit and qualified mortgages for low and moderate income borrowers while protecting consumers from bad loans. Below are Congressman Huizenga's written remarks on the Mortgage Choice Act as well as video of his speech on the House floor.
Remarks as Prepared:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3211, the Mortgage Choice Act. As someone who worked in the housing industry, this is a very important issue to me and more importantly, to my constituents in Michigan as well as all of our constituents across the country.
Earlier this year, the Qualified Mortgage (QM)/Ability to Repay Rule as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act went into effect. The QM rule is the primary means for mortgage lenders to satisfy their “ability to repay” requirements. Additionally, Dodd-Frank provides that a QM may not have points and fees in excess of 3 percent of the loan amount. As currently defined, “points and fees” include (among other charges): (i) fees paid to affiliated (but not unaffiliated) title companies, (ii) salaries paid to loan originators, (iii) amounts of insurance and taxes held in escrow, (iv) loan level price adjustments, and (v) payments by lenders to correspondent banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers in wholesale transactions. As a result of this confusing and problematic definition, many affiliated loans, particularly those made to low- and moderate-income borrowers, would not qualify as QMs and would be unlikely to be made or would only be available at higher rates due to heightened liability risks. Consumers would lose the ability to take advantage of the convenience and market efficiencies offered by one-stop shopping.
I, along with Rep. Gregory Meeks, introduced H.R. 3211, a strong, bipartisan bill that would modify and clarify the way "points and fees" are calculated. This legislation is narrowly focused to promote access to affordable mortgage credit without overturning the important consumer protections and sound underwriting required under Dodd-Frank's "ability to repay" provisions.
Specifically, H.R. 3211 would:
These common-sense changes will promote access to affordable mortgage credit for low and moderate income families and first-time homeowners by ensuring that safer, properly underwritten mortgages pass the QM test.
I'd like to thank my colleague, Rep. Meeks, along with the many others who have worked tirelessly to help fix this flawed provision currently being implemented.Mr. Speaker, this evening, Congress has the opportunity to help more Americans realize a portion of the American Dream. Not by some grandiose law or decree, but by simply reforming a burdensome regulation. Homeownership has been a pillar in American life for generations. Tonight, we can reaffirm that pillar and reassert that homeownership can and should be an attainable goal. I urge my colleagues to vote in support of H.R. 3211, and make the dreams of so many Americans a reality by ensuring that all consumers have greater access to mortgage credit and more choices in credit providers.