There is no place like home!
I spent a week in our nation’s capital this last month, trudging up and down those hallowed halls of power.
We had appointments with around 30 Congressional offices, we met with the national trade organizations, and we even had a very good meeting with the CFPB.
We walked till our feet were sore and talked till our mouths were dry and everyone was receptive to our little request for exemption status from certain parts of the Dodd Frank Act.
With all the changes in the making with the new administration, this was a good time to ask for our own change.
So what are my overall impressions of the trip?
- You either have to be dysfunctional or will become dysfunctional working those hallways
- Will politicians play better in this sandbox if there is no fascinated public looking on?
- Oh, right! All of life is a stage and so DC is perfect for them to act out the drama
- With this drama, how does the government even get any work done?
- If the work comes to a halt due to partisanship, will the cherry blossoms bloom at all this year? Maybe they will stop working too.
- Traffic in DC reminds me of traffic in some of the Asian countries – chaotic, with no regard to life, limb or traffic laws. This is the wild, wild East.
You know how hotels provide you with a “What is happening around town” brochure in your room? In D.C. last week the brochure would read like this:
Hearings for Russian intelligence connections to Trump!
Hearings for nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court!
Hearings on the constitutionality of the CFPB!
Check out the vote for eliminating Obamacare and replacing it with the Republican Health Care Act!
Start out the Cherry Blossom Week by checking out the (barren) cherry blossom trees!
Can’t get to the hearings or the trees?
Watch them ad nauseum on CSPAN 24-7!
There is no place like home…. as long as it isn’t in D.C.
WHY DOES THE CFPB GENERATE SUCH FEAR?
Given that the CFPB is that all powerful government agency which can give us our exemption with a stroke of a pen (or maybe a few paragraphs on a bulletin), why is it that financial institutions fear it and deride it and will do just about anything to fly under their radar to avoid their scrutiny?
The answer is one sentence. The CFPB likes to set down their rules and regulations through enforcement actions.
This is perfectly described in the opening paragraph of this article:
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s approach to regulation has always been distinct from other regulatory bodies. Rather than issuing clear-cut statutes that lay out a lot of specifics, the CFPB favors enforcement actions that financial institutions have to weigh against their own practices and then somehow implement.”
With no Congressional jurisdiction, they can pretty much do what they want and penalize what they will.
They are all about fighting for the consumer and they encourage the use of their complaints website.
Financial institutions – big banks, little banks, payday loan services, student loan services, credit card companies, even little settlement services like us, will come under their purview and everyone is figuratively walking on eggshells.
The last thing these institutions want is to be served with a Consent Action and get stuck with a bill for $109 million (PHH Mortgage) or $100 million (Wells Fargo).
FED RATES, HOME PURCHASES AND THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY
As you all know, the Fed raised their rates twice in this first quarter, after a decade of inactivity.
I am happy to report that the rate hikes did not affect refinancing transactions (it is still slow) or new home purchases (which is increasing steadily).
So why am I reporting this?
I want to remind everyone that if the rake hikes are making you nervous, don’t be.
The Federal Reserve would not have raised the rates if they did not feel the market could sustain it, so get out, do that refinance, make that new home purchase.
It’s time to restart the industry after a sluggish 2016 4th quarter and 2017 1st quarter. Those rates will not make a difference and the time to buy is now!
The US Census Bureau says that Americans are not moving as much.
Of course, returns on your sale of a home will affect the affordability of your new purchase and the job market also has a huge effect.
This article makes a good case for why mobility has fallen and why that affects our economy.
But if you are like me and love to look at homes for sale and to dream, take a look at these lovely homes and what they are selling for.
Yes, we can all dream.. unless you are lucky enough to be able to move to Tennessee or Indiana and live in bucolic surroundings.
If you, on the other hand, are considering buying or investing in single family homes here are 25 markets which have the highest returns on your investment.
If we are looking at the industry’s future, it will be the Hispanics who will drive home ownership.
According to the report out of National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) this last week, “Hispanic homeownership rate accounted for 74.9% of the net growth in overall U.S. homeownership..”
That is good news, particularly for the professionals who are involved in the real estate business, but it is important that they need to know how to play this particular game.
As with every other culture, we have to have an understanding that socio-economic and cultural differences make lending and handling transactions for this growing demographic a little different.
PROTECT YOUR ONLINE PRIVACY!
Finally, my public interest piece of this month involves cookies = and not the chocolate chip kind.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued an informational piece regarding “Cookies” and how vendors are using those to track our internet voyages.
The explanation also comes with suggestions on what you can do to avoid the tracking and protect your privacy.
It’s amazing to think how time is just marching forward despite all the craziness recently.
Through Brexit and the challenges facing the Trump administration, our world will change and yet, it remains surprisingly constant.
We sit tight as we see how things unfold.
Then, when we need to, we fight for our causes in our little escrow corner of the world and we hope to get through these next months and years just like we’ve weathered the trials of the last decade.
The following 2 quotes just about sums it all up.
“We are plain quiet folk, and I have no use for adventures. Nasty, disturbing, and uncomfortable things.”
“I’m going on an adventure!”
– Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit –