California Banker Challenges ‘Misinformation’ on S. 2155 HMDA Provision

Opponents of S. 2155 are spreading “misinformation” about what S. 2155 — the bipartisan regulatory reform bill set for a vote tomorrow — does to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, a California banker wrote in a Sacramento Bee op-ed today. “The bill passed by the Senate does not do away with HMDA or its very significant requirements for banks,” wrote George Cook, CEO of El Dorado Savings Bank in Placerville. “The 1975 law, which requires mortgage lenders to hand over key pieces of information to bank examiners, would remain intact.”

Contrary to false rhetoric aimed at stopping S. 2155, the bill would exempt smaller banks that originate fewer than 500 mortgage loans per year from having to collect and report a recently expanded set of mortgage data points. “This bill would simply bring HMDA requirements back to where they were at the end of 2017,” Cook wrote. “It will allow my team to spend more time lending to people and businesses and less time filling out endless paperwork.”

In related news, the American Bankers Association today circulated on Capitol Hill a memo on the HMDA provision by Paul Hancock, a partner at the K&L Gates law firm and a two-decade veteran of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, where he led enforcement of the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act. “The proposed amendment to HMDA would not detrimentally impact the effective enforcement of civil rights laws,” he wrote. “On balance, the change should be accepted, and regular review and monitoring, in coordination with regulators, can evaluate the true impact, if there is any.”