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

  • 02/07/2013 10:42 AM | Anonymous
    About half an hour ago, the House Civil Justice Committee passed the Foreclosure Reform bill (HB 87) 10-3.   There were over 2 hours of testimony, pro and con and some concerns yet to be worked through. 
  • 01/25/2013 1:26 PM | Anonymous
    A federal appeals court today ruled that President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.

    The court's decision could also have implications for Richard Cordray, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Barack Obama also used a recess appointment to name him to his position after Republicans blocked his nomination from coming to a vote.

  • 01/02/2013 2:09 PM | Anonymous
    Jan. 9th date emerged as a possible drop-date for the final QM rule since the CFPB scheduled public hearings to collect feedback on Jan. 10 and Jan. 17. Nothing has been officially confirmed by the CFPB, but the scheduling of those hearings is a suggestion the rules will be released right before the feedback sessions.

  • 12/28/2012 2:17 PM | Anonymous
    The U.S. government will hit the $16.4 trillion federal debt limit Monday and turn to “extraordinary measures” to continue borrowing, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, beginning a countdown until Congress either passes legislation to allow for more borrowing or the government defaults on its debt.

    In a letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said that although the debt ceiling would be reached Dec. 31, the government could buy roughly two months’ more time before it would be unable to meet all its obligations.

  • 12/28/2012 2:14 PM | Anonymous
    WASHINGTON -- The House Ethics Committee has found no rules violations by  lawmakers and staffers who used a VIP loan program from Countrywide Financial Corp. saying the allegations of special treatment fell outside the panel's jurisdiction.

    The committee's leaders said its investigation largely led to the same conclusions as the Senate Ethics Committee, which determined in 2009 that there was "no substantial credible evidence" that Sen. Kent Conrad (D-S.D.) and former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) had broken rules by accepting loans through the special program.

  • 12/28/2012 1:52 PM | Anonymous
    A strong rip current of distress continues to threaten the U.S. housing market despite the absence of a giant wave of bank foreclosures in 2012.

    There’s no doubt that the great foreclosure wave of 2012 just didn’t happen. No mighty financial dams fell and no monetary levees were washed aside.

    Certainly that’s still a huge number of bank repossessions by historical standards. In 2005 and 2006 there were less than 270,000 REOs per year. But it’s 19 percent below the 800,000 REOs in 2011 and 35 percent below the peak of more than 1 million REOs in 2010.

    According to the National Association of Realtors, “distressed homes undefined foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts undefined accounted for 24 percent of October sales (12 percent were foreclosures and 12 percent were short sales), unchanged from September; they were 28 percent in October 2011.” Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in October, while short sales were discounted 14 percent.” (Parenthesis theirs)

  • 12/28/2012 1:47 PM | Anonymous
    The foreclosure crisis brought the state of Florida a bad reputation. But new home sales and investor demand seem to be perking up the coastal state. 

    Tampa home prices rose 5.9% year-over-year in October, while Miami prices rose 8.5%, according to data from the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index report. 

    "I wouldn't say we are in a full recovery," said Becky Walzak, president and CEO of Looking Glass Group, a consulting firm for the consumer financial services industry in West Palm Beach, Fla. "But we are in a strong position right now. We have a lot of foreign buyers who come in and pay cash for properties," Walzak said. Snowbirds from the Northeast searching for real estate deals in Florida also have shown interest.

    Still, it took a few years for the state to recover from news of massive foreclosure litigation and the launch of investigations targeting some of the state's largest default services law firms.

  • 12/20/2012 10:02 AM | Anonymous
    Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have lost up to $3 billion from the ma­nipu­la­tion by several big banks of the global interest rate known as Libor, according to an internal government memo.

    That was just one more sign Wednesday of the growing rate-fixing scandal, as federal prosecutors and regulators also announced that Swiss banking giant UBS had agreed to pay $1.5 billion in fines for manipulating the rate. U.S. authorities also filed criminal charges against two UBS employees, the first individuals targeted by the widening investigation.

  • 12/13/2012 1:59 PM | Anonymous

    UPDATE: Staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau informed ALTA that its trial disclosure program is not intended to be used for the RESPA-TILA disclosures, rather it is part of a larger effort to develop or revamp financial disclosures like credit card and student loan disclosures.


    Bureau Reaffirms Commitment to Improved Consumer Disclosures through its Project Catalyst Initiative

    WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced its proposed policy to allow companies to test new consumer disclosures on a case-by-case basis.  As part of its Project Catalyst initiative, and in line with its statutory authority, the Bureau’s goal is to encourage banks, credit unions, and other financial services companies to propose and conduct trial disclosure programs.

    “As part of our efforts to foster innovation in consumer financial markets, the proposed policy will allow companies to conduct real world trials of disclosure alternatives,” said Richard Cordray, Director of the CFPB.  “That will help the Bureau identify what works and does not work to provide consumers with the clear information they need to make financial decisions in a marketplace of evolving programs and products.”

    The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the CFPB, authorized the CFPB to facilitate innovation and to approve trial disclosure programs. As a part of that commitment, the Bureau launchedProject Catalyst in November. Project Catalyst is an initiative designed to encourage consumer-friendly innovation in markets for consumer financial products and services.

    The Bureau is continuing to foster new ideas with today’s proposal. Under the proposed policy, the Bureau would approve individual companies, on a case-by-case basis, for limited time exemptions from current federal disclosure laws in order for those companies to research and test informative, cost-effective disclosures.  The companies involved will then share the results of their trial disclosure with the CFPB.  The CFPB will use that information to improve its disclosure rules and model forms. The public will have input through the rulemaking process.

    When deciding whether or not to grant a company a waiver from current disclosure requirements, the Bureau proposed policy would evaluate a number of factors including:

    • ·         Consumer Understanding: The Bureau will assess how effectively and efficiently the proposed trial will test for potential improvements to consumer understanding about the costs, benefits, and risks of products and services.
    • ·         Cost Effectiveness:  The Bureau will evaluate how the proposed trial will help develop more cost-effective disclosure rules or policies.

    • ·         Minimizing Consumer Risk: The Bureau will evaluate the extent to which the program is designed to mitigate any risk to consumers.


    Today’s proposal builds upon the CFPB’s broader dedication to improving disclosures for consumers.  Through its Know Before You Owe initiative, the CFPB has been working to create clear, easy-to-understand disclosures that allow consumers to better understand products such as mortgages, student loans, and credit cards. The proposed policy also builds on the Bureau’s streamlining initiative, which intends to update, modify, or eliminate outdated or unnecessary provisions in the Bureau’s inherited regulations.

    A copy of the proposed policy can be found at:

  • 12/10/2012 10:17 AM | Anonymous
    We note with interest the California Department of Corporations' bulletin with regard to Third party vetting -- basically suggesting that use of such a service by either the lender or the escrow agent may be a violation of state and federal law. 

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