Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Nevada) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) co-sponsored an amendment to H.R. 4173, the Financial Services Bill being debated in the House of Representatives today.
Amendment #209 would require the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to, as Rep. Titus described it, “oversee the reverse mortgage industry to ensure seniors are not exposed to unfair and deceptive practices.”
The amendment itself contains some important features which include:
- Requiring the Director of the CFPA to issue regulations regarding reverse mortgage transactions within 1 year of the date of enactment
- Clarifying the Director’s authority to consider additional protections regarding reverse mortgages under both consumer regulation statutes and HUD regulations
- Calling for the agency to provide an integrated disclosure standard and model disclosures for reverse mortgage transactions that combine the relevant disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) with the required HECM disclosures
In describing the need for the amendment, Congresswoman Titus said in her remarks to the House today, “Protecting our seniors from unfair and unclear financial products is long overdue. Reverse mortgages need to be clearly and closely monitored and regulated in an effort to ensure seniors do not lose their home and equity they have built up through a lifetime of hard work.”
Congresswoman Titus further defended the need for the amendment by saying that “many seniors find themselves in financial hardship due to unfair and unclear agreements along with excessive fees that come as a result of reverse mortgages.” Her Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director Andrew Stoddard added in an email to RMD:
Our district in Southern Nevada is ground zero for the foreclosure crisis. Predatory lending and an under-regulated mortgage market played a large role in the collapse of the housing market. As the number of reverse mortgages has continued to rise rapidly, Congresswoman Titus wants to make sure we are ahead of the curve so that deceptive practices can’t be used to prey on seniors and lead to the next wave of housing problems.
Congresswoman Titus added that the amendment has the support of the AARP. A vote on the amendment is likely to come later today. As of 2PM EST, Congresswoman Schakowsky had yet to issue a press release on the issue. Her office did not return RMD’s request for comment.
Update, bill has been passed.
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