NAR Participates in BCFP Roundtable
Earlier this month, NAR participated in an Industry Roundtable Discussion at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) with Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, newly named Deputy Director Brian Johnson, and other high-level Bureau staff. NAR joined other consumer, banking, and lending trade associations in discussing the recent Requests for Information (RFIs) issued by the Bureau seeking feedback on important agency operations.
The discussion focused primarily on how enforcement processes, rulemakings, and external engagements, affect consumers and industry practitioners. NAR specifically raised the need to increase communication and transparency, throughout investigations, enforcement actions, and during the rulemaking process, to facilitate improved compliance and certainty in the marketplace. There was also broad agreement among roundtable participants regarding the need to improve Bureau coordination with federal and state regulatory agencies enforcing consumer protection laws.
NAR requested additional guidance from the Bureau in light of the recent PHH court decision and the need to provide clarity on co-marketing relationships, especially for online portals. Staff requested the Bureau adopt NAR’s best practices on co-marketing so that firms can better inform agents of their RESPA compliance responsibilities. In regard to external engagements, NAR thanked the Bureau for participation at member-focused events, including the recent Regulatory Issues Forum during the May Legislative Meetings, and how important it is to connect with REALTOR® members, as they are the first to touch base with consumers.
The Acting Director also provided important details on what the Bureau is doing to prepare for a new permanent director. Kathy Kraninger, associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, has been nominated but must first be confirmed by the Senate. The Acting Director explained how the RFIs are helpful to educate the incoming leadership and to prioritize future Bureau activities.
The roundtables will likely continue under the Acting Director’s tenure, as will follow up with specific industry groups on pertinent issues. One of the new Bureau priorities is to increase engagement with consumers and practitioners across the country, so NAR looks forward to providing additional feedback on important issues to REALTORS® and the consumers they serve through those initiatives.
FHFA Ends Single Family Rental Program
On August 21, 2018, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Enterprises) are ending their single-family rental pilot programs, stating that that the larger single-family rental investor market continues to perform successfully without the liquidity provided by the Enterprises. Moreover, the Enterprises will limit their participation in the single-family rental market to their prior investments over the past two years.
NAR has long opposed the Enterprises providing financial guarantees to large Wall Street investors, who can use their financial advantage and outbid homebuyers, which reduces the supply of affordable homes for Americans. The Enterprises’ single-family rental deals with Wall Street giants have clearly not advanced affordable homeownership.