government affairs blog

OLD Gov't Affairs Blog
We stopped using this blog after the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and created a new Government Affairs Forum, which will allow us to better control distribution of information.  This one will be maintained as an archive. 

More formal bulletins, summaries of legislation, position papers and the like appear on the Government Affairs page

  • 07/28/2011 10:49 AM | Anonymous

    More mortgage servicers signed up to use Lender Processing Services (LPS: 18.78 -0.37%) technology to comply with new requirements from the recent regulatory consent orders.

    Last year, foreclosure problems surfaced in courts across the country, leading to moratoriums, federal and state investigations. In April, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller and the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision settled their investigations with 14 mortgage servicers.

    LPS also was required to sign a consent order with the Fed for executing and recording "numerous affidavits, assignments of mortgages, and other mortgage-related documents that contained inaccurate information." LPS was forced to implement new oversight plans to manage its processes.

    More from Housing Wire

  • 07/28/2011 10:44 AM | Anonymous
    Tuesday, July 26th, 2011, 1:15 pm

    Freddie Mac completed 10,809 loan modifications in June and slightly more than 66,000 during the first half of the year, according to the company's latest monthly volume summary.

    The monthly average is up from 8,891 loan modifications in May.

    More from Housing Wire

  • 07/28/2011 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Following a series of cases splitting on the question of whether MERS is a proper party to foreclose.   Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is withdrawing from the foreclosure business. 

    The organization has issued a policy update to its members stating that no foreclosure proceeding may be initiated in the name of MERS and no legal proceedings in a bankruptcy may be filed in the name of MERS.

    Before a lender or investor starts a foreclosure or files a bankruptcy motion, they must execute an assignment of the security instrument from MERS to themselves as the mortgagee and record the transfer with the applicable county clerk or public land records office, MERS said.

    More from DS News

    Here is the ABA Journal analysis

  • 07/25/2011 9:26 PM | Anonymous

    Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mark Begich (D-AK) have introduced legislation (S. 1390) that would require the IRS to file tax liens in a centralized electronic database instead of in the local property records office.  As the Senators envision it, the electronic registry would be accessible by the public and free to search and would index liens by "at a minimum, taxpayer name, the State of the taxpayer's address as shown on the notice of lien, the type of tax, and the tax period." The Senators argue that this bill would save $150 Million a year and help reduce the amount of time necessary to release a tax lien down from 30 days to 20 days.   More information about the bill can be found here.

    Many think this would be a disaster for traditional search and examination procedures.   We have enough problems dealing with “common names” in large counties.   It would be all but impossible to sort out all of the “John Smith” entries in a national registry to focus only on those tax liens which might affect a given property. 

    The practical reality is that such a law will likely lead to a further erosion of search standards to essentially ignore (and insure over) tax liens against certain common names, simply because there is no practical way to sort them out.  Ironically, this could actually reduce IRS tax collections, because the title industry would no longer have any practical ability to assist in their collection.

    ALTA is already working on this issue.   If you have any thoughts on how this proposal would reduce efficiency for title processes please forward them to Kelley Williams ALTA Manager of Government Affairs at

  • 07/20/2011 10:50 AM | Anonymous

    Critics of last year’s $8,000 tax credits for home purchases routinely argued that the credits were unlikely to do more than offer sellers the chance to boost their sale price by the amount of the tax credit.

    Those critics won’t be surprised, then, by a new paper that findsundefinedyou guessed itundefinedthat average listing prices rose by around $8,000 in the month after the signing of the first major tax credit, and that they fell by slightly less than $9,000 two months after the tax credits expired.

    More from the Wall St. Journal

  • 07/20/2011 10:08 AM | Anonymous
    GAO examined five of the nine qualified mortgage criteria specified in the DoddFrank Act for which sufficient data were available and generally found that, for 
    each year from 2001 through 2010, most mortgages would likely have met the 
    individual criteria. The five criteria address payment of loan principal, length of 
    the mortgage term, scheduled lump-sum payments, documentation of borrower 
    resources, and borrower debt burden. 

    The impact of the full set of qualified mortgage criteria is uncertain, partly because data limitations make analysis of the other four criteria difficult and partly because federal agencies could establish different criteria as they develop final regulations. Consumer and industry groups indicated that the criteria specified in the act would likely encourage sound underwriting but could also restrict the availability of and raise the cost of 
    mortgage credit for some homebuyers. 

    The full report can be accessed here
  • 07/19/2011 5:01 PM | Anonymous
    In his signing letter for HB 1007, which created a mechanism for dealing with title insurer insolvencies, Governor Scott pointed out his opposition to the provisions passing the cost of dealing with insolvencies on to consumers and called on the cabinet to join him in lowering title insurance premiums commensurate with the assessment. 

    FLTA will be working with the Governor and members of the Cabinet to prevent an arbitrary rate adjustment not supported by a proper data call and evaluation. 

    A copy of the Signing Letter can be reviewed here
  • 07/19/2011 4:58 PM | Anonymous

    President Barack Obama said Sunday he would nominate former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the consumer finance watchdog agency created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

    During two years as Ohio's attorney general, Mr. Cordray was a leader among state regulators who challenged banks over their mortgage foreclosure practices.  Among other things, the CFPB will be responsible for enforcing RESPA and providing a consolidated GFE and TILA disclosure.


  • 07/19/2011 4:46 PM | Anonymous
    Fidelity National Financial Inc. announced the appointment of Sherwood "Woody" Girion as senior vice president, government relations.

    Girion most recently served as the California deputy commissioner of insurance, financial surveillance branch and previously served as the deputy commissioner of rate regulation and the deputy commissioner of consumer services and market conduct. 

  • 07/19/2011 4:32 PM | Anonymous

    In an AP exclusive, it was reported that mortgage industry employees are still signing documents they haven't read and using fake signatures more than eight months after big banks and mortgage companies promised to stop the illegal practices that led to a nationwide halt of home foreclosures.

    County officials in at least three states say they have received thousands of mortgage documents with questionable signatures since last fall, suggesting that the practices, known collectively as "robo-signing," remain widespread in the industry.


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