The Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014 (H.R. 5461).

According to our sources on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., proponents of the so-called Mortgage Choice Act (H.R. 3211) have attached their bill to a new piece of federal legislation heading to a roll-call vote today.  The new bill is “The Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act of 2014” (H.R. 5461).  H.R. 5461 is designed as a means for allowing a depository institution (read: a bank) holding company to avoid the requirement of being regulated by federal banking authorities if they also file holding company registration statements as an insurer and maintain adequate levels of capital in accordance with state regulation for such insurers.  In other words, banks that want to acquire interests in insurance companies can do so in an attempt to avoid minimum capital requirements under the Federal Reserve rules created as a consequence of Dodd-Frank.   If anyone is afraid of banks in the business of title insurance, this is your day for action!   In a procedural move, the GOP proponents of H.R. 3211 have attached their bill to H.R. 5461 to push both through Congress in an attempt to present them as election theater for the upcoming November mid-terms.  A vote on the whole package of legislation will happen today.  We need you to help us stop this from happening!  We need all of you to take ten minutes of your time this morning to place a call to your Representative and to each Representative in your state delegation to tell them to vote “no” on H.R. 5461.   To find your representative in the House, please click here.   To find your representative in the Senate, please click here.       Most members of...

NAILTA Weighs In on Stonebridge Title, CFPB Enforcement and the Henson Case

The question of regulation and enforcement of RESPA Sections 8 (a) and (b)have been hot-button issues for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the federal courts.  Recently, two matters have arrived on the regulatory scene that helps to define and, perhaps, alter what was previously known about compliance and we want to make NAILTA members aware of them. The first is a decision reached in a class action case currently pending in California known as Henson v. Fidelity National Financial.  That case involves the question of whether delivery services — such as from UPS or FedEx are covered under RESPA. [Editor’s note: The answer is “yes”.] To help you understand the importance of the Henson case, we have authored the enclosed memo which is available by clicking here. The second is a CFPB enforcement action against a New Jersey title insurance agency known as Stonebridge Title Agency.  The question in that case is whether “independent salespeople” can receive compensation solely from title insurance premiums based upon the referral of title insurance business if they are not also acting as an “employee” of the title agency. [Editor’s note: The answer is “no”.] Again, to help you understand the importance of the CFPB’s actions against Stonebridge Title, we have authored the enclosed memo which is available by clicking here. If you have any questions about the memos or the cases, please contact NAILTA by reaching out to our volunteers and experts at...

What is H.R. 4383? What Does it Do For You?

The title insurance industry is finally mobilizing itself to take positions on bills currently pending in Washington, DC.  With all the chatter recently making its way through the wires, we thought it was important to let you know how independent real estate settlement service providers and those who follow policy with NAILTA viewed the recent movements. What is Going On? The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) recently convened a hearing concerning eleven (11) separate legislative bills that are each directed at the Dodd-Frank Act, and specifically the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  This is not the first effort for the HFSC on Dodd-Frank.  Since 2011, there have been over fifty (50) such bills designed to alter, restrict or outright repeal Dodd-Frank and the CFPB. None of any consequence have been signed into law. Of the 11 current bills being pushed by the leadership of the HFSC, one has appeared on the radar screen for the title insurance industry.  That bill is known as H.R. 4383, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Small Business Advisory Board Act. What Does H.R. 4383 Do? The stated goal of the bill is to modify those portions of Dodd-Frank to mandate that the CFPB Director establish a Small Business Advisory Board (SBAB) to: (1) advise and consult with the Bureau; and, (2) provide information on emerging practices of small business that provide eligible financial products or services — i.e., information on what you do every day. The bill would mandate that 12 representatives of small business meet with the CFPB at least two times per year to discuss these trends and issues, regardless of rulemaking efforts.   To see the bill’s language, click here. What is Missing From H.R. 4383? H.R. 4383...

HR 3211 – The bull-rush is on

Last week, the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), in a surprise move, convened a full committee hearing on 15 pending bills including HR 3211 and “voice-voted” HR 3211 onto the House floor for further consideration. The Chairman of the HFSC, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), ordered the voice vote on HR 3211 instead of a roll call vote, or the typical voting pattern for committee legislation because he suspected that several Republican members on the committee would vote “no” and thereby jeopardize the chances HR 3211 can move successfully in the House and the Senate.  The voice-vote was called with barely twenty members present.  It was a procedural passage of the bill. Despite our pronouncements to the contrary, we are now firmly back at work on HR 3211.  We need you and your staff to help us engage members of Congress to understand why HR 3211 and the Senate version, known as S 949, are bad for consumers and worse for small business owners in the title insurance industry. Who Stood Up for Independent Title Insurance Agents? Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) was the lone voice of dissent in the poorly attended hearing and entered two amendments to HR 3211 that would have extended the time frame for a consumer to make a RESPA-related claim from 1 year to 3 years under the statute and would limit the amount of return a referral source would derive from their ownership in an affiliated business arrangement. Both amendments were referred to the House Judiciary Committee and additional movement on them in the Republican-controlled House is unlikely. What Now? With HR 3211 moving to the House floor, we need...

Don’t let RESPRO and others determine your fate?

This is another important update on the pending legislation known as the Mortgage Choice Act and efforts by the affiliated business lobby to decrease your efforts to compete for settlement business and to raise the cost of closings for American consumers. Members of NAILTA were in Washington DC on February 24th to meet with members of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee to discuss potential bill alternatives to H.R. 3211, H.R. 1077 and S. 949. Our Policy and Legislative Affairs team will be back in Washington DC on March 11, 2014 to meet with more members of Congress to continue the fight against RESPRO and the banking lobby’s efforts to modify Dodd-Frank to favor their affiliated business arrangements. Our all-volunteer contingent of independent settlement professionals have over 40 meetings scheduled in one day with members of the House and Senate concerning the issues important to you and your livelihood. No other trade organization is working this hard for your interests. The Mortgage Choice Act is the pro-affiliated business arrangement bill that is designed to modify the Dodd-Frank Act’s qualified mortgage provision and exempt all points and fees charged by lender affiliates from the 3% cap on points and fees for qualified mortgages. It was introduced in the House as H.R. 3211 and in the Senate as S. 949. NAILTA opposes both pieces of legislation. Who is Fighting For the Affiliates? RESPRO, the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Credit Unions, Quicken Loans, and others linked to the lending industry. Each of these trade organizations has an army of lobbyists...