Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Election 2010: Impact on the Real Estate Finance Industry

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Election 2010: Impact on the Real Estate Finance Industry

Article excerpt

The 2010 elections will likely go down as one of the most significant turnarounds in American political history. After substantial losses just two years ago (including the presidency), Republican candidates on Nov. 2 rode a tidal wave of electoral discontent that flipped majority control of the House and moved the GOP to within a few seats of parity in the Senate.

Poll after poll this year highlighted voters' dissatisfaction with the stagnant economy, high unemployment, bailouts for Wall Street, the rising national debt and, by inference, the Congress' and President Obama's agenda. Simply put, Americans wanted and delivered change to Washington, D.C.

Looking to the 112th Congress, what does the recent election mean for Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) members and the real estate finance industry overall?

Although the GOP enjoyed considerable victories in Congress during last month's election, it will be difficult for either party to move major legislation absent strong bipartisan support. That's a recipe for incremental progress on major issues in Washington, D.C.

Why? First, the new Congress will be deeply divided. While Republicans will control the House, passage of legislation in the Senate will be difficult without a filibuster-proof majority (60 seats), which neither party has.

Second, many newly elected members of Congress have their roots embedded in the Tea Party movement. They will likely object to any legislation perceived to expand the power or size of the federal government or increase taxes. Lastly, the 2012 elections will shorten the legislative calendar as candidates will start to actively campaign in a presidential cycle by late spring/early summer, leaving less time for passage of significant legislation.

That said, the industry certainly can expect the next Congress to begin a more in-depth examination of our nation's housing finance system and how to address the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Obama administration will be releasing its government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) proposal in January. The House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee will clearly hold new hearings on the issue. In the meantime, MBA's staff and leadership continues to work extensively with these congressional committees, the Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House to educate them on our Council to Ensure Mortgage Liquidity's ongoing work on GSE reform.

There will be a number of other key issues impacting our industry that the 112th Congress is likely to examine. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act--the most sweeping financial regulatory reform legislation to pass since the Great Depression--could undergo changes. House Republicans will utilize their oversight powers to scrutinize federal regulators as they fulfill the regulatory mandates required by the law. …

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