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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keating Calls for Safe Harbor for All Qualified Mortgages

It’s essential for lenders that the CFPB structure the “qualified mortgage”—or QM—standard under its pending ability-to-repay rule as a legal safe harbor with clear, well-defined standards, ABA President and CEO Frank Keating said in a Bank Think column in yesterday’s American Banker newspaper.

“The bottom line is: The CFPB has to get this right,” Keating wrote. He noted that in recent weeks there have been suggestions that the CFPB might be considering “splitting the baby” by providing a safe harbor for some QM loans, which it would consider mainstream loans, but only a flimsy rebuttable presumption for other high-quality loans.
That will only swing the pendulum further in the wrong direction. The CFPB should be working to craft the best QM rule possible to determine what borrowers meet the ability-to-repay test, not working to further stratify the rule in a way that will make it needlessly more difficult—and more costly—for creditworthy borrowers to get loans.
He emphasized that such a course could put homeownership out of reach for thousands of hard-working, creditworthy Americans and bring the housing recovery to an abrupt halt. “That's not something our economy, which already faces daunting ‘fiscal cliff’ challenges, can afford,” Keating said.

Read Keating’s column.

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