The House Financial Services Committee passed three bills last week that could make mortgage lending a little easier.

The Financial Regulatory Clarity Act, introduced by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, (R-W.Va.), and Gregory Meeks, (D-N.Y.)., is designed to streamline the regulatory processes of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, National Credit Union Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It would require financial regulators to determine whether new
regulations are duplicative or inconsistent with existing federal regulations. It passed 34-25.

Two other bills were passed by the committee to enhance capital formation for small and emerging growth companies and provide regulatory relief for community financial institutions.

Those bills include:

    •    The Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, introduced by Rep. Andy Barr, (R-Ky.), which would treat mortgage loans held in portfolio as qualified mortgages. It passed 34-25.

    •    The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act, introduced by Rep. Blain Luetkemeyer, (R-Mo.), which would exempt credit unions and other lenders under $10 billion from certain RESPA escrow requirements and exempt mortgage servicers that service fewer than 20,000 loans from certain RESPA servicing requirements. It passed 43-16.

Committee chair Rep. Jeb Hensarlin (R-Texas) said the Senate is not considering any of the bills, including the Financial Regulatory Clarity Act.

"I would strongly encourage my Democratic colleagues, who may spend more quality time with the Senate Majority Leader and the President than do I, to encourage them to take up these bills, to contact their friends and colleagues in the Senate and in the White House and urge them to pay attention to what our committee has put forth on a bipartisan basis. This would indeed be very, very constructive. But again, despite the Senate’s failure to act, we must act," he said.

"When we, as a committee, have the opportunity to help put Americans back to work, to help create jobs, we have the responsibility to do so and hopefully to do so on a bipartisan basis," Hensarlin added. "This is why our committee has already guided 22 regulatory relief bills to House passage. The vast majority of those bills, once again, have received strong - not just token - but strong bipartisan support."

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