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Regulatory Relief Bills Advance; CBA to Soon Issue Grassroots Alert

Last week, two bills, H.R. 4521 and H.R. 2673, which the CBA, ABA and state banking trade associations have strongly advocated for, cleared a significant hurdle when the House Financial Services Committee approved them. H.R. 4521, which would exempt lenders with less than $10 billion in assets from the Dodd-Frank Act’s escrow requirements and servicers handling fewer than 20,000 loans from the servicing rule, was approved with a bipartisan 43-16 vote. And H.R. 2673, which would deem all mortgage loans held in portfolio “qualified mortgages” for purposes of the ability-to-repay rule, cleared with a 36-23 vote.

Committee members will now work with House leadership to schedule floor time for these two measures. Although the bills received some bipartisan support, the lack of Democratic support, particularly for the portfolio lending bill, will make it difficult to move these measures on the House suspension calendar, which is reserved for non-controversial legislation. However, Democrats on the panel have expressed interest in working with Rep. Andy Barr, the congressman who introduced H.R. 2673,  to attract more support.

That means there is a good chance that both bills can clear the full House, which in turn would encourage Senate action. The CBA will soon be issuing a grassroots alert asking our member bankers to please contact their respective members of Congress to urge support for both bills. The key factor that will determine whether these bills make it all the way to the president’s desk is bankers’ engagement, since a divided Congress will only spend time on legislation that has strong bipartisan and grassroots support. 

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