Legislative Activity

Over One Hundred Congressmen Ask for New Mortgage Rules to be Delayed

On November 5, 118 House members, including 112 Republicans and six Democrats, sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray asking for the CFPB to extend the effective date of the qualified mortgage (QM) rules an additional year to January 1, 2015; the QM rules are currently set to take effect January 1, 2014. Despite the urging of numerous congressmen and industry participants, Director Cordray has repeatedly stated that the QM rules will absolutely take effect on January 1, 2014 and that the CFPB will not expect “perfection” in compliance in the first few months but good faith efforts.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, November 12: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress. CFPB Director Richard Cordray will present the report to the committee.
  • Wednesday, November 13: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will hold a hearing titled, “The Future of Terrorism Insurance: Fostering Private Market Innovation to Limit Taxpayer Exposure.” The hearing will examine the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) with a specific focus on whether private sector capital and innovation can be leveraged to limit current taxpayer exposure under the law. TRIA is presently set to expire at the end of 2014.
  • Wednesday, November 13: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade will hold a hearing titled, “What Is Central About Central Banking?: A Study of International Models.” The hearing will examine the central banks of advanced economies, focusing on their governance, policy tools, and successes and failures in implementing monetary policy.
  • Thursday, November 14: The Senate Banking Committee will conduct a hearing on the nomination of The Honorable Janet L. Yellen to be Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Regulatory Activity

Bitcoin Captures Lawmakers Attention

The virtual currency Bitcoin has captured the attention of Congress and regulators alike. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing for next week, Monday, November 18, to examine the opportunities and risks of virtual currencies. Additionally, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued a draft rule last week that clarified campaigns can accept Bitcoin donations but must convert the virtual currency donations to U.S. dollars before spending them.