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New Site Launched for Client Referral to Housing/Credit Counselors

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The first seminar for a pilot program that connects loan originators with housing counselors to assist challenged clients was presented on Jan. 23. The message from attendees: Provide simple steps for the referral process and explain the resources provided. The finishing touches are being put on a Web site, Clients2Homeowners.com, made to do just that.

 

Pam Marron, a loan originator at Innovative Mortgage Services Inc.The “About the Site” section explains the three areas of help clients commonly need and how HUD credit and housing counselors can be the referral source to assist these clients for loan originators and real estate agents. Not all housing counseling agencies have the same services, but a great deal of time and work has been spent with one housing counseling agency (HCA), Neighborhood Home Solutions in St. Petersburg, Fla. with the focus on the top three areas of need that loan originators and real estate agents most encounter that prevent a client from purchasing a home:
 
1. Credit (and NOT credit repair)
2. Downpayment Assistance (DPA)
3. Home Budgeting

 

Tops on the list is assisting clients with credit issues

The correction of erroneous credit, the building of credit, improving credit scores and restructuring student loan repayments are all common issues that impede clients from getting a home. All HUD housing counselors are trained to assist clients with basic credit issues, but certified credit counselors are trained for in-depth credit counseling and debt management (not credit repair and debt settlement). Credit counselors can talk directly with credit reporting agencies and creditors with clients. They can also use credit tools that can determine how to improve credit scores, show what can be done to build credit and zero in on where a credit error exists.

 

Downpayment assistance program knowledge is second greatest need for clients and LOs

Keeping track of available downpayment assistance (DPA) programs, different underwriting criteria between the first mortgage and the second DPA mortgage, and a variety of other details that must be focused on can be daunting to most LOs.

 

Additionally, national mortgage wholesalers have realized the need for DPA programs for the independent LO side of business and have begun rolling out their own programs in the last few years. Wholesaler DPA programs are highly competitive with the existing city, county and state programs, offering DPA funds all year round.

 

In Florida, to streamline all DPA programs available, a matrix is being developed that will include the wholesaler, city, county and state programs and will start with city and county programs in Tampa Bay, Fla., expanding from there. Three wholesalers that provide proprietary DPA programs and a page that lists wholesalers that use Chenoa Funds will be included on the Web site and matrix spreadsheet. This spreadsheet provides specific information that LOs need, like maximum ratios, extra costs, income limits, etc. As more programs become available, they will be added. This document is being provided to ensure that all DPA options are available with pertinent information at-a-glance to assist LOs, real estate agents and housing counselors in determining what DPA a client might be eligible for in a particular area.

 

Home budgeting is third in client need

Many, especially Millennials, have never been taught how to properly budget for a home. Having a third-party look at your spending habits and put you on track for a home in your future provides hope for many who thought homeownership out of the realm of possibility. At an HCA event attended, a comment was made by a client receiving home budgeting education to their counselor that they were taking what was learned home to their parents who had never had budgeting education either!

 

To make the referral process as easy as possible, auto-fill forms to complete are located at Clients2Homeowners.com. Auto-fill documents, along with supporting documentation (if available), are needed to complete the handoff of a referral from a loan originator to the housing counselor.

 

If the documents are not completed and sent to the credit or housing counselor by the referring LO, there is nothing that connects you to the client to insure that your client is referred back to you when they are deemed “Mortgage Ready.”

Whether your client needs help with one or all three of the issues noted, Neighborhood Home Solutions can accommodate clients in Florida for services of this pilot program. There is a $275 Fee for Service and credit report cost of $20.18/single or $40.36/joint that must be paid upfront. Beverly Malina, credit and housing counselor, can be reached by phone at (727) 209-0131 or e-mail Beverly.Malina@NHSFL.org. For more information or help outside of Florida, contact me directly at (727) 375-8986 or e-mail Pam.M.Marron@gmail.com.

Stay tuned.

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California’s vague new financial regulation law

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California Capitol. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

In summary

California has a new financial regulation law but its reach is vague and awaits more definition.

Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

Although the new state law is said to mirror the Dodd-Frank law, it contains at least one significant difference. When federal regulators levy fines for what they consider to be bad conduct, the money goes into the federal treasury. When state regulators impose their fines of up to $1 million a day, the money will be retained by the new agency to finance more activity.

Will that give the new agency a financial incentive to skip over minor consumer issues and go after big companies? It’s a question that only time will answer.

Significantly too, the new investigative and regulatory mechanism contained in AB 1864 specifically does not usurp the authority of the attorney general to also target companies under the state’s equally vague “unfair competition” law.

From its inception a decade ago, Dodd-Frank has attracted criticism from business executives for regulatory overkill. Will California’s new version be less controversial? We won’t know until the new agency puts some definitional meat on its bones.



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California’s vague new financial regulation law – Whittier Daily News

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Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

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397 people register to vote on deadline day at Duval Supervisor of Elections – 104.5 WOKV

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Monday, Oct. 5 at midnight, is the deadline to register to vote in Duval County.

But the Supervisor of Elections helped hundreds of people get registered today.

Robert Phillips, the chief elections officer of the Duval Supervisor of Elections, told Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole that 397 people came down to the Supervisor of Elections in downtown Jacksonville to get registered.

Supervisor of Elections staff assembled tents outside to allow people to register to vote without having to go through the COVID-19 prescreening necessary to enter the building.

“Again, 2020 has thrown us some challenges,” Phillips said.

There was even a little rain thrown into the mix today, but it didn’t stop folks from coming out.

“Out here, we have a lot of activity. We’ve been going since first thing this morning,” Phillips told Action News Jax.

There were people of all ages from all walks of life — some even registered for the very first time like Lemark Jamison.

Monday, Oct. 5, is a day he will always remember.

“It feels awesome, you know? It feels awesome,” Jamison told Cole.

Today, Jamison had the opportunity to register to vote for the first time in Florida.

“I’ve worked for voter registration companies. I’ve done advocating for Amendment 4, but I was never able to vote because of my prior background. But now I can,” Jamison said.

Jamison, the owner of a tax and credit repair business, told Cole his prior felony conviction held him back in the past.

In November 2018, more than 60% of Floridians voted to restore voting rights to more than 1 million people who completed their sentences.

But several months later, legislation was passed that required them to pay all financial penalties, which means thousands lost the right as quickly as they gained it.

“I’ve been contributing to society. I’ve been able to have several businesses. And I pay taxes. But I haven’t been able to, when it comes to voting, whether in a local level or any type of legislature — I haven’t been able to vote,” Jamison said.

The 35-year-old told Cole even though his wife helped him fill out his voter registration form — to which he exclaimed, “Thank God for wives, right?” — he told Cole it was pretty easy.

Now, he has this advice to share with other people who may be in his shoes:

“Get out and vote. Take advantage of this opportunity, regardless of who you plan on voting for.”

Here’s a breakdown from the Supervisor of Elections of how the 397 people registered today:

-56% registered as Democrats.

-21% registered as Republicans.

-22% registered as nonparty affiliates.



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