A key mortgage lending reform – which would be rolled back by a bill coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives next week – commands the support of an overwhelming majority of voters, according to a poll conducted this summer by Lake Research on behalf of Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending.
New regulations, developed in response to the reckless and deceptive lending practices that fueled the financial crisis of 2008-09, require mortgage lenders to verify a borrower’s ability to repay before making a loan. The “Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act,” introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and backed by financial industry lobbyists – would carve out significant exceptions to that rule. Similar changes are contained in a Senate bill, the “Financial Regulatory Improvement Act,” which passed the Banking Committee and was subsequently attached to a Financial Services and General Government appropriations measure. Since community banks already have a narrow exemption from the rules, it is the nation’s biggest banks that benefit from these measures.
The Lake research survey found that 91 percent of voters expressed support for an ability-to-repay requirement, while only 5 percent opposed it. Republican voters (94% for, 4% against) were even more likely than Democrats (91% for, 5% against) or Independents (89% for, 6% against) to take that position.
See Lake Research memo on mortgage-rule findings.