Industry NewsMortgage

Lenders want one set of rules

Proposed reforms would let states pass tougher laws

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The broad powers the Obama administration would vest in a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- and the intention to allow states to draft their own, tougher rules for mortgage lenders -- continues to trouble the lending industry.A draft bill floated by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., would create an agency along the lines of the proposal put forward by the Obama administration in June, while attempting to address some lending-industry concerns.Unlike the Obama administration's proposal, for example, Frank's bill would not give the agency the power to require that lenders offer "plain vanilla" mortgages.Although it might seem counterintuitive, requiring lenders to offer plain vanilla loans would harm, not help, community banks, if there were also higher regulatory hurdles to offering other types of loans, said Michael Menzies Sr., chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America.Any incentive the agency creates, intentionally or otherwise, to offer such loan...