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News Link • Federal Reserve

Fed Aims at Mortgage Fraud, Shoots Housing Market in the Gut

Mark Helling, a licensed loan officer based in Ohio, summed up the view from inside the industry: “After April 1st, a Loan Officer will have to be paid the same rate whether it is an easy loan that takes two weeks to close or a foreclosed property in need of rehabbing for marginal borrowers that takes three months of work to close. Just when the country needs the most experienced and knowledgeable mortgage professionals to help liquidate the flood of foreclosed homes, the Fed is making it unprofitable for loan officers to accept these deals." From the point of view of those in the mortgage industry trenches, what the rules do is increase the regulatory expenses of being in sales but eliminates the commissions that are the lifeblood of any sales enterprise. “Prohibits a loan originator that receives compensation directly from the consumer from also receiving compensation from the lender or another party.” In other words a loan originator cannot collect payments from both the consumer and the lender in a single transaction. If a broker is paid a commission by the lender based on the loan amount, then the broker is barred from charge the borrower “points” or fees for the loan processing. This prohibits loan officers from paying borrowers’ fees or issuing them a credit from their own commission. This has been a common practice within the industry, and from the inside perspective, it that has offered a flexible way to lower borrower’s costs. These major regulatory changes are being made in the service of fair lending practices, but to those seeing their livelihoods threatened, it looks like a sledgehammer is being used where a flyswatter would have sufficed.

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