Congressman Fincher Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Affordable Housing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Elizabeth Lauten
Friday, April 26, 2013 Phone: (202) 225-4714
Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump) introduced the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – a bipartisan bill to protect the availability of financing for affordable manufactured housing, a critical resource for low and moderate-income families across the United States. Specifically, the bill would amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to change the criteria by which home loans are classified “high-cost” while keeping in place strong consumer protections. It also clarifies the definition of loan originator for retailers so financing remains accessible for customers. The bill is being introduced with bipartisan support from Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Congressman Gary Miller (R-CA).
“More than 22 million Americans, particularly those in rural areas, depend on access to financing for affordable manufactured homes,” said Congressman Fincher. “In the aftermath of the recent housing crisis, the manufactured housing industry was swept into a one-size-fits all regulatory approach to mortgage financing. The industry is already facing significant challenges: an 80 percent decline in new home production, the closure of more than 160 plants and the loss of more than 200,000 jobs. New regulations that don’t recognize the uniqueness of the industry will take housing options off the table for American families. The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act is the solution to these problems.”
Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued guidelines as required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) that expand the range of loan products that can be considered high-cost mortgages under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) without recognizing the uniqueness of manufactured home loans compared to the rest of the housing industry. Set to go into effect January 2014, these guidelines classify a large percentage of small-balance loans used for the purchase of affordable manufactured housing as predatory and high-cost. As a result, there will be increased lender liabilities associated with making and obtaining a HOEPA high-cost mortgage, leaving thousands of manufactured home customers unable to buy, sell, or refinance homes.
The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act would adjust the new HOEPA thresholds so fewer small balance manufactured home loans are classified as high-cost, while maintaining the consumer protections from predatory lending practices in Dodd-Frank. This legislation not only protects consumers, but preserves a viable secondary market for manufactured home loans. The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act would also clarify that manufactured home retailers and salespersons would not be considered loan originators unless they receive compensation from a lender, mortgage broker, or loan originator. Without this clarification, housing finance options may be eliminated for families seeking to purchase affordable manufactured homes.
“This legislation is vital. It protects the availability of financing for manufactured homes that many families across the country rely on for affordable housing.”
Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks.