On the Mortgage Horizon

I just got this from a lender we frequently do business with regarding the new Qualified Mortgage rule expected from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau …it is an interesting read.

Mortgage questions?  Call us for answers! 703-836-1464

Mortgage questions? Call us for answers! 703-836-1464

This week CNN discussed the new Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is likely to release.  The new QM Rule is not expected to become effective until January 2014.

The new Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule is designed to establish new lending rules that will move us between the footloose times of no documentation loans and the current strict credit standards.  The QM proposes that borrower’s total debt to income ratios be capped at 43% of their monthly gross income.  It would also limit the risky products offered by lenders.  Such as, no more loan terms greater than 30 years, mortgage loans can’t have a balloon payment due, no loans in which the principle due increases over time, and interest only loans would go out the window as well.  Homebuyers who choose adjustable rate mortgages will no longer be qualified on low introductory teaser rates, but rather the fully indexed rate.

The QM rule is designed to help lenders determine the borrower’s ability to repay the loan by evaluating all aspects of their credit profile.  Such as current income and assets, employment history, credit history, the proposed mortgage payment to include insurance, real estate taxes, HOA dues, mortgage insurance and a borrower’s total monthly debt to income ratios.

This is not designed to alter the housing market’s recovery and assist consumers who can’t meet the 43% debt to income ratios, the agency said it was establishing a second, temporary category of qualified mortgages that meet most of the new guidelines and would qualify to be purchased or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “The legitimate concern is that this will cement the tight mortgage underwriting standard that we currently have in place, and most people agree that they are too tight.”

Mary Ellen Podmolik of the Chicago Tribune reported:

Under the new rules, lenders who make qualified mortgages to well-qualified borrowers that carry a lesser chance of defaulting could be shielded from lawsuits from these prime borrowers who say the lender did not satisfy the ability-to-repay requirements.  Riskier, subprime borrowers could challenge the lender’s assessment of their ability to repay the loan but borrowers would have to prove that a lender didn’t adequately factor in the living expenses and other debts.

Diane Thompson, of counsel at the National Consumer Law center said, “They appear to favor lenders’ interest above consumers.  You have to prove what’s in the creditor’s records.  It may be that no homeowners are able to challenge it.  Otherwise, you’re relying on regulatory oversight, and we say how well that worked.”

In summary, the QM rule is designed to protect consumers from irresponsible mortgage lending and protect taxpayers from having to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Lenders will be restricted from offering risky products to the consumer and charged with the task of responsible lending.  CFPB director Richard Cordray explained, the ability to repay rule is a common-sense answer to curb the borrowing and lending behavior that led to the financial crash.  Cordray says, “When consumers sit down at the closing table, they shouldn’t be set up to fail with mortgages they can’t afford.  Our ability to repay rule protects borrowers from the kinds of risky lending practices that resulted in so many families losing their homes.  This common-sense rule ensures responsible borrowers get responsible loans.”

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