WASHINGTON, DC-The Mortgage Bankers Association of America doubts that the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve’s recent vote to amend the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act will deter predatory lending practices and help borrowers. MBA also claims the changes will lead to the lending industry’s exposure to unsubstantiated claims.

The most notable points in the regulatory amendments include lowering the annual percentage rate requiring lenders to gather documentation showing consumers’ ability to repay HOEPA loans, and adjusting fee-based triggers to include amounts paid at closing for loss-of-income insurance and other debt-protection products. Another key provision prohibits a creditor from holding any loan subject to HOEPA from refinancing the loan within twelve months of its origination.

“MBA is genuinely concerned that the Board’s decision to finalize these rules could result in reductions of credit availability to those consumers that are most in need,” MBA Chairman-Elect John Courson says in a news release. He continues, “Under the new provisions lenders will be thrust in an unfair position of having to divine the definition that a judge will give to the ambiguous term of ‘borrower’s interest.’ ”

MBA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rod Alba tells GlobeSt.com that the problem of predatory lending goes beyond what the Board’s regulatory changes can accomplish. He says the amendments will not work, “unless you increase enforcement, increase education and reform the current system of disclosure that exists.” Alba continues, “[the changes] are well intentioned attempts at going after some of the more pernicious practices–the board should be commended for that, but this will simply not resolve the fraud issues that are causing the predatory lending going on.”

Additionally, not only will predatory lending remain uncurtailed, but borrowers will not be helped in the process, MBA asserts. “Investors generally don’t want to cover HOEPA loans — they simply don’t want the headache,” he explains. “Expanding the reach, is expanding the number of loans that will be rejected by [lenders such as] Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. MBA has consistently worked closely with the Board in the past and plans to continue to work with it on this issue. But for now, Alba says, “we’ll go forth and see what happens, [see] how lenders are going to react.”

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