ALTA has focused on improvements to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) in three areas that improve how CFPB affects ALTA members: (1) a mechanism for the public to provide feedback on CFPB policy statements, guidance and bulletins; (2) the use of advisory opinions to provide more specific guidance so that businesses can meet Bureau expectations in their daily business practices; and (3) a Small Business Advisory Board, similar to advisory boards created for community banks and credit unions, with whom the Bureau also does not have regular contact.
Impact to the Industry
ALTA members discovered how valuable public input is to successful implementation of informal guidance after the Bureau published an April 2012 bulletin on third-party service providers. This bulletin was not directed at or intended for ALTA members, but produced serious unintended consequences for their businesses. The Bureau, consumers and industry would benefit from more public input on informal Bureau guidance.
Advisory opinions – The use of advisory opinions by the CFPB would enable businesses that design, operate, or maintain a consumer financial product or service to obtain more clear guidance from the Bureau as to whether a certain specified, prospective product or service is in compliance with federal consumer financial law. This improved certainty would prevent consumer harm and reduce costly guesses about how to comply with consumer financial law.
CFPB advisory opinions would help “covered persons” (individuals subject to CFPB rules, orders, guidance, interpretations, statements of policy, examinations, and enforcement actions) to receive guidance on whether a proposed design, operation or maintenance of consumer financial product or service would comply with federal consumer law.
Small business advisory board – The CFPB does not have supervisory authority regarding credit unions and depository institutions with total assets of $10 billion or less. Since it does not have regular contact with these institutions, the Bureau created a Community Bank Advisory Council and a Credit Union Advisory Council as a mechanism to ensure that their unique perspectives are shared with the Bureau. These advisory councils share information, analysis and recommendations to better inform CFPB policy development, rulemaking and engagement work.
Although non-banks can participate in one-time Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panels, there is no standing body for these non-bank small businesses (like ALTA members) to share information, analysis and recommendations to better inform CFPB policy development, rulemaking and engagement work. The Bureau, consumers and industry would benefit from more public input from non-bank financial institutions, like real estate settlement providers.
ALTA Policy Statements
ALTA Board Statement on ALTA's Priorities (adopted February 2015)
In 2015, the Board of Governors of the American Land Title Association will work with Congress and the Administration to: (1) ensure implementation of TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosures is as smooth as possible and improve how the CFPB works with ALTA members; (2) promote responsible reform of our nation's housing finance; (3) improve FHA's onerous rules for title clearance of REO property and condo eligibility; and (4) advocate on tax policies important to ALTA's small business members and their real estate customers.
ALTA Policy Statement on CFPB Authority to Issue Advisory Opinions (adopted February 2014)
The American Land Title Association supports providing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with authority to issue advisory opinions.
ALTA Policy Statement on Improved Public Feedback about CFPB (adopted February 2014)
The American Land Title Association supports improved public feedback about CFPB policy statements, guidance and bulletins to better facilitate industry’s interpretation and implementation of CFPB policy.
ALTA Policy Statement on the Small Business Advisory Board at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (adopted February 2014)
The American Land Title Association supports legislation creating a Small Business Advisory Board at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
ALTA Policy Statement on the Federal Housing Administration (adopted February 2013)
The American Land Title Association supports policies to ensure that responsible homeowners have access to affordable mortgage credit through the Federal Housing Administration.
ALTA Policy Statement on Housing Finance (adopted February 2012)
The American Land Title Association supports policies to ensure that responsible homeowners have access to affordable mortgage credit.
ALTA Policy Statement on Conforming Loan Limits (adopted February 2011)
The American Land Title Association supports improving home affordability in certain high-cost areas by maintaining expanded conforming loan limits for mortgages sold to or guaranteed by the Government Sponsored Enterprises until private capital returns to the market.
ALTA Policy Statement on Reforming the Housing Finance System (adopted February 2011)
The American Land Title Association supports the following principles as part of the housing finance reform and restructuring process: ensure a national mortgage market that provides equal access to credit for all Americans; help consumers with mortgage credit through standardization; lower costs of providing credit to consumers; encourage liquidity through the secondary market; provide market responsive regulation. The title industry strongly urges the Congress and the Administration to preserve the uniform standards currently provided by the GSEs, including title insurance, in a newly developed housing finance system.
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