Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 22, 2013

Reiss on Qualified Mortgages and Fair Housing

By David Reiss

Law360 ran Banks Fear CFPB Rule Could Spur Fair Lending Fights (behind a paywall) which asked for my thoughts:

banks may be getting a bit ahead of themselves when it comes to worrying about how the fair lending law will work in the qualified mortgage context, said David Reiss, a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

Any mortgage that is purchased by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and — key for low-income borrowers — the Federal Housing Administration for seven years after the rules take effect in January will be deemed qualified mortgages. The FHA currently backs around $1.1 trillion worth of mortgages.

Unless the FHA drastically reduces its presence in the market that should cover many of the loans that have banks worried, he said.

The banks are not wrong to flag potential problems that may arise in the future, and the issue of fair lending law bumping up against decisions regarding extending only qualified mortgages is a legitimate potential problem, Reiss said.

It’s simply a bit premature with the federal government’s heavy role in the housing finance market.

“They are predicting a scenario, but there’s a lot that’s going to happen between now and that scenario ever being actualized,” Reiss said.

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