Reform Storm Nowhere Near Over, MBA Leader Warns

Julie C. Nichols General

Banker & Tradesman – Colleen M. Sullivan

In a speech that was half pep talk and half talking-to, David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, warned lenders that they weren’t going to be left alone.

Despite the feeling among many in the industry that waves of successive regulation were only holding back the housing recovery, Stevens made it clear that the industry’s most prominent advocacy group has no hope that the federal regulatory juggernaut can be held back or reversed-only gently nudged in a more productive direction.

Stevens joked with the crowd at the New England Mortgage Banking Conference, alluding to a famous speech in the movie "Network" when describing the kinds of calls he gets from industry members, provoking some chuckles from the crowd.

"I get the calls. They all say ‘Get Whiz! I’m mad as hell, I can’t take it anymore. Stop touching me! Lay of the GSEs, they’re printing money, why do you gotta mess with them? FHA is making enough money, in fact they’re over-charging! Why are you putting new regulations in place? What do we do with QRM? Why can’t we get a delay on QM? Points and fees? Stop, stop, stop! You’re making it impossible for me to survive!’" Stevens said.

But he said that the bipartisan consensus for reform of the industry was too strong for such complaints to move legislators. "This isn’t about helping our business. This is about one thing, and one thing only: the consumer. The same one who’s going to pay to the higher prices, and be rejected from those loans. We need to keep the focus on that one person," he explained.

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