10/28/2013

Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rules May Affect You in 2014

New loan rules were made law last year and will take effect on January 10, 2014.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency created in 2011 as part of the  Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in response to the financial crisis that evolved starting in 2007.  As a result, new loan borrowers are going to be subjected to what many think will be onerous and perhaps unnecessary new loan guidelines which may affect the housing market sales volume in the future. And, as of right now, not all future guidelines are yet known and may not be completely settled on until the end of 2013.

The CFPB has jurisdiction over banks, credit unions, mortgage servicing operations, payday lenders, and more.

Buyers who are obtaining financing should start learning what this means for home purchases.  The link goes to a 6-page brochure outlining essential facts about new loan rules established so far.

The lender must now perform an ability to repay (ATR) as part of the loan approval process, by looking at your assets and coming to the determination you have the ability to repay.  Next, the borrower hoping to qualify for a Qualified Mortgage (QM) -- those loans with the best rate and terms -- may not get a loan with interest only feature, negative amortization, generally no balloon payments, or loan terms longer than 30 years.  A thirty-year loan, by the way, was considered radical back during the Great Depression when up until that time it was standard for banks to be able to call their loans after 5 years, or continue them as they saw first for another 5 years.  There can be no excess upfront points or fees.  Yes, a borrower could still obtain a mortgage out of these guidelines, but the lender on those loans, but a lender who makes follows QM guidelines gets certain legal protections if the borrower defaults on the loan.

What's the big deal about these loans?  Well, for a while, governmental agencies wanted only 20% down loans to qualify, but that proposal was defeated.  More recently, there are six governmental agencies backing a new proposal that 30% down loans will be able to obtain a QM.  See Kenneth Harney's article: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20131020,0,6931943.story#axzz2j4RPAzgO

One of the results of stricter guidelines already is a much higher percentage of FHA loans in the marketplace compared to past history.  What the future will be is not known, but naysayers believe that requiring 30% down payments for non-FHA loans will definitely impact housing sales. 
The Mortgage Bankers Assn. of America (which strongly opposes the 30% plan) estimates that only 18% of people who purchased homes during 2012 would have been qualified for their mortgages under the alternative proposed by the regulators.

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