MReport August 2020

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14 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY SOMETIMES, IT'S GOOD TO BE A FOLLOWER. Follow MReport on social media to put the latest mortgage banking news, stories, strategies, and insights at the touch of your fingertips. MReport @TheMReportNews The MReport tion options for homeowners. Ed Pinto, Director, Senior Fellow, AEI Housing Center, said that while there are some smaller impacts—the tightening credit availability—the market is, overall, performing well during this time of financial strain. However, he said the real question is where sufficient housing will come from in order to support demand. "Supply was tight before we entered the COVID-19 crisis," Pinto said. "But even at that point, there might've been three or four months' supply, and if that supply goes down to two months, that is going to generate higher prices. You can't go from two months to zero." Pinto added he expects to see demand slow in response to insufficient inventory, and he expects home prices to continue their ascent. Interestingly, Pinto said he sup- ports the government's decision to not set up a specialized facility for the mortgage banking industry, al- though it was strongly requested. "[The government] focused on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and in particular the FHA and Ginnie Mae, to develop policies and pro- cedures that were specific to those particular programs," Pinto said. "Back in March, the hue and cry were that unless the Fed did this and Treasury did that, that was the end of the world. But here we are in July, and it hasn't happened." What did happen was that Ginnie Mae implemented the Pass-Through Assistance Program, which forwarded funds to servicers who faced a liquidity shortfall due to the pandemic. Ginnie Mae called the program a "last resort" option. "The payments are being advanced to investors, and things are still in flux, but we continue moving forward, step by step, without having taken the big plunge into some new, large program that housing lobby was proposing," Pinto continued. The Supreme Court Steps In T he Supreme Court, mean- while, has had a busy summer, both releasing rulings and announcing its intent to weigh in on several other impor- tant industry-related cases. During the end of June, the high court ruled that the structure of the CFPB was unconstitutional but found that it should be able to operate under new rules. "The CFPB's single-Director configuration is also incompat- ible with the structure of the Constitution, which—with the sole exception of the Presidency— scrupulously avoids concentrating power in the hands of any single individual," the ruling stated. Additionally, the court said that the CFPB's director "must be re- movable by the President at will." In response, the Bureau an- nounced Thomas Pahl as the new Deputy Director of the CFPB. A few days later, the Supreme Court invalidated a 2016 amend- ment from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and ruled that Congress "impermissi- bly favored debt-collection speech over political speech—violating the First Amendment." The court's judgment on the Bureau has also brought into the questions the structure of the FHFA—which operates under a similar single-director structure. While the Supreme Court an- nounced in July that would hear arguments about the constitution- ality of the FHFA, Golding said he expects the basic structure of the agency to remain the same. Rood said while the Bureau was created with a structure de- signed to insulate it from political influence, the five-year term of a director made it so that a sitting President could only terminate a director for cause and may not be able to name their own replace- ment director of the Bureau.

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