Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

October 31, 2013

Qualified Residential Mortgage Comments

By David Reiss

The agencies responsible for the Qualified Residential Mortgage rules that address the issue of credit risk retention for mortgage-backed securities requested that comments on the proposed rulemaking be submitted by yesterday.  And comments there were.  Here is a sampling:

The Urban Institute argues that

In formulating their QRM recommendations, the Agencies have done an admirable job balancing these considerations: on one hand, they wanted QRM loans to have a low default rate; on the other hand, if QRM is too tight, it will impede efforts to bring private capital back into the market and will further restrict credit availability. The right balance would thus appear to be precisely where they have landed with their main proposal: that QRM equal QM. (2)

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association effectively agrees with this and argues that

QM should be adopted as the standard for QRM, rather than QM-plus. QM is a meaningful standard for high quality loans. The characteristics of QM-plus, particularly the 70 percent LTV ratio, would exclude most borrowers from these loans. We believe the adoption of QM-plus would reduce the competitiveness of private mortgage originators and delay the transition of the housing finance system away from the GSEs. (vi)

The American Enterprise Institute, on the other hand, argues that

The preferred response, in our opinion, is to implement the Dodd-Frank Act by creating a combination of the QM and a standard for a traditional prime mortgage that Congress intended for the QRM. For this reason, we have filed this comment with the agencies, detailing how it is possible to comply with the clear language and intent of the act and still provide a flexible set of standards for prime mortgages — which have low credit risk even under stress. (4)

My thoughts on the proposed QRM rule can be found here, here, here and here.

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