Senate Committee passes Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 MortgagePress.comFederal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008, Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd, Richard Shelby, Rep. Spencer Bachus The Senate Banking Committee passed the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 today by a vote of 19-2. A summary of the Manager's Amendment to the legislation, submitted by Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd and Ranking Member Sen. Richard Shelby. Key points of the revised version of the bill would: " Provide up to $300 in refinanced loans for troubled homeowners; " Establish a new fund to create affordable housing; " Create a more powerful regulator to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Spencer Bachus applauded the inclusion of a national licensing system for mortgage originators in the bill. Bachus proposed a national registry to enhance accountability and professionalism in the mortgage origination industry in legislation (HR 3012) he first introduced last July. The provisions were included in sub-prime lending legislation passed by the House last November and in the Republican housing stimulus bill. The language served as a model for the Secure and Fair Enforcement in Mortgage Licensing Act introduced in the Senate by Sens. Mel Martinez and Dianne Feinstein in February. A press release issued by Senator Feinstein's office noted that "the legislation is similar to HR 3012, introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Spencer Bachus." Bachus said, "Elimination of unscrupulous brokers and lenders from the mortgage market has been a goal since I first started working on subprime lending issues three years ago. The licensing and registration of mortgage originators will provide a major protection for families seeking fair and equitable financing of their most valuable asset. The inclusion of this title in the Senate GSE bill is a much needed step towards enactment of this important provision." Creation of the registration system has been endorsed by organizations including the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. In a November 13, 2007 letter addressed to Congressman Bachus, CSBS expressed its "strong support" for provisions establishing national registration and licensing standards for mortgage lenders and brokers. "The bill gives the new regulator broad new powers that make it vital that the regulator's three key deputy directors--those for enterprise regulation, Federal Home Loan Bank regulation and housing mission and goals--be subject to Senate confirmation. Senate confirmation of these deputies would enhance transparency and accountability at the new agency," said Camden Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). "ICBA looks forward to working with Congress to include this requirement in its final bill and to address other concerns of community banks." Full text of the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 is available here.