ICBA Urges Regulators Not to Drive Community Banks Out of Mortgage-Servicing Business, Limiting Consumer Choice

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Basel III rules would shift mortgage servicing into hands of larger nonbank firms

Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2014)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today called on federal banking regulators not to limit consumers’ mortgage-servicing options by imposing stricter mortgage-servicing regulations on community banks. In a comment letter to regulators, ICBA wrote that community banks should not be penalized for servicing the loans they originate for their customers. The association noted that stricter standards risk driving community banks out of mortgage servicing, which would lead to fewer choices and poorer service for borrowers.

The agencies should be encouraging community banks to retain the mortgage-servicing rights of the loans they originate,” ICBA wrote. “Community banks are uniquely adept at providing a level of customer service that takes into account the financial condition of the borrower and their ability to meet the required loan covenant and payment obligations.”

Imposing stricter mortgage-servicing rules under Basel III capital standards would drive community banks out of mortgage servicing, leaving the business to larger and riskier nonbank servicers, ICBA wrote. The association noted that these larger nonbanks view mortgage servicing as a commodity business driven by large volumes and economies of scale, which results in poor customer service and conflicts of interest. Larger mortgage servicers are often less sensitive to the needs of local communities, unlike community banks, ICBA wrote.

ICBA continues to support a community bank exemption from the Basel III treatment of mortgage-servicing rights. Specifically, ICBA is calling for financial institutions in the United States with consolidated assets of $50 billion or less to be allowed to continue to be subject to the current mortgage-servicing capital regulations and not the harmful provisions of Basel III.

ICBA also noted in its comment letter that Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry recently brought attention to his agency’s concern that mortgage-servicing rights are moving from bank servicers to nonbank firms as a result of the new capital rules.

To read ICBA’s comment letter, visit www.icba.org.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.

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