Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Two senators join battle between the CFPB and PHH

Mortgage & Real Estate

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

While the landmark case between PHH and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau awaits a decision on whether the full Court of Appeals will rehear the case, more politicians are publicly voicing their support for the bureau.

A new update from the CFPB Monitor stated that Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who are, respectively, the Ranking Members of the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit seeking to intervene in the PHH appeal. 

The motion comes shortly after a similar motion from a dozen Democratic state attorneys general.

The 17 attorney generals said that the election of Donald Trump compelled them to intervene in the CFPB lawsuit. “When PHH filed the original petition for review in June, 2015, there was little reason for the State Attorneys General to intervene. At that time, the CFPB still had an independent Director and was fully committed to seeking rehearing to challenge the panel’s ruling and defend the constitutionality of the bureau’s independent structure,” the AGs state in their motion to intervene.

“But as a result of the presidential election,” the AGs continued, “the situation has changed.”

Now, both Brown and Waters are following suit.

From the CFPB Monitor:

The new movants rely primarily on the argument that they cannot rely on the CFPB under the Trump Administration to adequately represent their interest in defending the CFPB’s status as an independent agency.

As grounds for why they have a legally protected interest which would be impaired by the litigation, Senator Brown and Representative Waters point to their votes for the Dodd-Frank Act and claim that if the CFPB, acting at the new Administration’s direction, does not defend its constitutionality, “movants’ votes to establish the Bureau as an independent agency will be nullified without full judicial review of the constitutional question presented in this case.” 

Outside of the Trump Administration’s involvement with the battle around the CFPB, the recently sworn in president has already announced a handful of presidential actions since Jan. 20.

HousingWire readers are already extremely familiar with the controversy surrounding the Department of Housing and Urban Development suspending the reduction of Mortgage Insurance Premiums, but what are Trump’s other presidential actions?

An article in Quartz by Annalisa Merelli helped clear up confusion around Trump’s recent actions

While most people casually refer to these actions as “executive orders,” the president has in fact signed twice as many “presidential memoranda” (eight) as executive orders (four) as of this morning (Jan. 26). The differences between the two are subtle. Even the president appears to be confusing them.

The biggest difference between the two directives is technical, at least from a legislative perspective. Once executive orders are signed, they are automatically numbered and published in the federal register (the US government daily journal), at which point government officials and agencies are legally bound to follow them. Presidential memoranda, too, need to be published in the register to become law, but it’s not an automatic process.

The administration could later decide not to publish them, leaving them to remain as guidelines.

Trump’s executive orders, instead, specifically deal with the Affordable Care Act, immigration, infrastructure, and border security, which can be found in more detail here.

Chronos Solutionsannouncement on Friday that its CEO Matt Martin will step aside to become chairman and Mark Hikel will become its new CEO was only part of the big news coming from the national real estate services provider.

Chronos also announced it launched a National Title Originations Division, which will be headquartered in Pittsburgh, under the leadership of Kandi Jablonski, executive vice president of National Operations.

Along with running the new division, Jablonski will oversee expansion of the nationwide operation into several key states with the hub in Coraopolis, Pennslyvania.

“This is the next step in Chronos Solutions’ initiative to aggressively build out our National Origination Title division and becoming a dominant player in the national title business,” said Matt Martin, Chronos Solutions founder and chairman. “We are fortunate to have Kandi on board to lead this effort. Over the last year Chronos Solutions has strengthened its position as the only true end-to-end provider of lender services with several acquisitions that have expanded our footprint within the origination space.”

The Federal Reserve issued a cease-and-desist order to BBT Corp. over alleged deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering controls, forcing the bank to show it is complying with anti-money-laundering rules until the central bank removes or otherwise modifies the order, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Katy Burne and Rachel Louise Ensign.

The article noted that the cease-and-desist order is on the more severe end of the Fed’s enforcement scale.

From the article:

Such orders don’t state that the bank has laundered money, but rather that their internal systems for detecting criminal activity and reporting it to the government are deemed unsound by regulators. The policing of such violations has become more severe since the financial crisis.

Brian Davis, a BBT spokesman, said the firm has a “long history of quickly addressing regulatory concerns,” and has already made “significant enhancements” to its anti-money laundering compliance program. He said the firm is “committed to working alongside our regulatory partners to implement the needed improvements as quickly as possible.”

Next week is a big week for housing as it ushers in the start of a new month. Be sure to check back later for coverage on Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller, the employment situation and, most notably, the first Federal Open Market Committee meeting of the year. 

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