The Oakleaf Group recently attended the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Regulatory Compliance Conference. Mortgage compliance professionals from across the country gathered in Washington, DC to hear from regulators and policymakers and discuss the challenges faced in today’s regulatory environment.
This year’s event included speakers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), top law firms, and various regulatory and compliance professionals.
Here are a few of the hot topics from this year’s conference.
Fair Lending: As evidenced by the number of sessions featuring this topic, fair lending is at the forefront of everyone’s mind in the current regulatory environment. Related discussion topics included appraisal discrimination, marketing risks, redlining, price exceptions, and algorithmic bias. Issues and outcomes tied to recent cases such as Trident, Townstone, and Meta helped guide the conversations and highlighted the need for impacted entities to monitor all internal documentation (including emails) as part of any compliance management system.
On a related note, policies and tools intended to address the homeownership gap were also emphasized. From a lunch session led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Ben Kluber to a well-attended session regarding special purpose credit programs, attendees learned about policy goals and options to support underserved communities.
Technology in the industry: Numerous sessions recognized the ever-increasing role of technology in the industry. Sessions focused on regtech, providing insight into the future use of technology to assess regulatory compliance, while also delving into how to properly vet and implement such technologies and avoid potential pitfalls. Algorithmic bias was again a hot topic, particularly given the emphasis the CFPB has placed on this issue.
Impact of West Virginia v EPA: Historically, courts have deferred to a regulatory agency’s interpretation of a statute when considering the acceptability of an agency rulemaking. The Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v EPA, however, eliminates this deference in certain “extraordinary cases” (e.g., where there is an issue of significant economic or political concern). Ultimately, this decision limits an agency’s ability to regulate in certain yet to be fully defined circumstances. Not surprisingly, much discussion at the conference focused on the potential impact of West Virginia v EPA on the mortgage industry, with several speakers suggested the CFPB might run afoul of this decision as it tries to expand its use of ECOA as an enforcement tool in the fair lending arena.
TRID, RESPA, etc.: Finally, old stand-bys such as TRID, loan originator compensation, and RESPA section 8 were popular topics, particularly during attendee-driven discussion sessions, which were both well-attended and quite spirited. Interestingly, emerging topics shared the stage with issues that have been on the regulatory community’s radar for many years, likely due to an increased focus on enforcement by various regulatory agencies.
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