WASHINGTON (6/10/14)--The U.S. House passed the Mortgage Choice Act (H.R. 3211) by a voice vote Monday evening under suspension of the rules. Both houses of the U.S. Congress are in session this week, and they will remain in session through the end of the month.
H.R. 3211 would make two adjustments to the Truth in Lending Act definition of fees and points to ensure greater consumer choice in mortgage and settlement services, which is why it has been supported by the Credit Union National Association.
Under the current Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule, points and fees may not exceed 3% of the loan amount. According to CUNA, what constitutes a "fee" and a "point" toward the cap varies depends on who makes the loan, and what arrangement the borrower makes to obtain title insurance.
The bill would clarify those definitions, as well as exclude title insurance and escrowed homeowner insurance premiums from points and fees, making sure those amounts are not counted toward the 3%.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), sponsor of the bill, spoke on the floor about the negative effects of the current 3% cap on points and fees, and praised the bipartisan support the bill received. Supporters on the floor also said the bill was about "fairness and opportunity," and that the bill will allow more access to credit and choice for consumers, especially low- and moderate-income consumers.
Later in the week, the House will consider H.R. 4800, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015.
H.R. 4800 makes fiscal year 2015 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration the Farm Credit Administration, and specifies certain uses, limits and prohibitions for the use of funds appropriated by the act.
Also this week, the Senate is expected to hold votes on several nominations, which could include the nomination of J. Mark McWatters to the National Credit Union Administration board.
In addition, Senate action is expected on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act (S.2432). The bill would allow most individuals with both federal and private student loans to refinance those loans into new federal direct loans at interest rates specified in the bill. Additionally, the legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to impose a new minimum tax on certain high-income taxpayers.