Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

December 24, 2013

Qualified Mortgages and The Community Reinvestment Act

By David Reiss

Regulators issued an Interagency Statement on Supervisory Approach for Qualified and Non-Qualified Mortgage Loans relating to the interaction between the QM rules and Community Reinvestment Act enforcement. This statement complements a similar rule issued in October that addressed the interaction between the QM rules and fair lending enforcement.

The statement acknowledges that lenders are still trying to figure out their way around the new mortgage rules (QM & ATR) that will go into effect in January. The agencies state that “the requirements of the Bureau’s Ability-to-Repay Rule and CRA are compatible. Accordingly, the agencies that conduct CRA evaluations do not anticipate that institutions’ decision to originate only QMs, absent other factors, would adversely affect their CRA evaluations.” (2)

This is important for lenders who intend to only originate plain vanilla QMs. There have been concerns that doing so may result in comparatively few mortgages being CRA-eligible. It seems eminently reasonable that lenders not find themselves between a CRA rock and a QM hard place if they decide to go the QM-only route. That being said, it will be important to continue to monitor whether low- and moderate-income neighborhoods are receiving sufficient amounts of mortgage credit. Given that major lenders are likely to originate non-QM products, this may not be a problem. But we will have to see how the non-QM sector develops next year before we can know for sure.

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