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The Fight Over Mortgage Rules

Aug 9, 2008
Considering the current state of the real estate market, it came as no surprise that the Federal Reserve would swoop in to regulate and tighten allowances on mortgages for homebuyers. The overhaul of the mortgage lending system is in full swing with consumer groups and lenders on both sides of the arguments.

The hope is that these regulations will put the current mortgage lending industry in a more stable and profitable situation in the long-run. Currently, the extension of credit to homebuyers that are incapable of fulfilling their end of the deal harm the lending company, the homebuyer and the real estate market in general.

Currently, many consumer groups are claiming that mortgage regulations are too lax with a variety of loopholes. These loopholes make it too easy to allow reckless lending, which in turn causes more and more instability in the real estate market. However, industry specialists and mortgage lenders argue that these more stringent proposals will become a larger burden on current and future lenders and will reduce the amount of credit they can extend.

In essence, a restriction on the amount of credit available is exactly what the Federal Reserve is analyzing the need for. After all, the number of homebuyers who gained credit through unsteady means has put the real estate market in its current unbalanced slump.

Analysts are interested to see which way the Federal Reserve heads. More than 2,500 comments had been submitted on proposals that had prompted a review of the current mortgage lending situation. However, any revisions on the mortgage lending industry now will not help current homeowners who have already fallen behind on their mortgage payments and trying to avoid foreclosure. However, the idea is that with revised mortgage restrictions, they can prevent the current real estate crisis from occurring again in the near future. In particular, the aim is to prevent the real estate crisis on subprime mortgages.

The hope is to have responsible mortgage lending and home purchases to encourage stable lending and a stronger economy overall. However, the Federal Reserve wants to restrict mortgage availability with credit lenders while simultaneously offering plenty of credit to stable qualifiers.

There are four new rules for lending that the Federal Reserve will consider, including some of the following

Preventing lenders from engaging in a practice that will make loans difficult to afford
Limiting prepayment penalties
Requiring lenders to establish an escrow account for taxes and insurance of the property
Verifying income and assets for all potential lending candidates

These rules would make mortgage lending more stable across the board, although lenders state that these restrictions would make future lending more difficult. In addition, the regulations would disallow banks that pay brokers for steering homeowners into higher-priced loans, rather than the more appropriate loans they can afford.

The brokers would also be unable to coerce appraisers into stating the home value for less than it currently is for the mortgage lending process. Unfortunately, these practices all contributed to the current demise of our real estate market situation.
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