NAR backs a bill to help keep commercial real estate on a solid path by making upcoming risk-retention rules more appropriate to market realities. Right now, rules that are scheduled to take effect at the end of the year to protect against overly loose loans would have the unintended effect of making it harder for lenders to make safe loans.
On Wednesday, March 3, the House Financial Services Committee held a markup of several bills, including H.R. 4620, the Preserving Access to CRE Capital Act, sponsored by Rep. French Hill (R-AR). This bill makes modest changes to the commercial risk retention rules created by the Dodd-Frank Act, which are scheduled to go into effect on December 24, 2016. As written, these rules are overly-broad. They require that sponsors of asset-backed securities retain at least 5% of the credit risk relating to the assets that underlie them. Single asset/single borrower (SASB) commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) are not exempt, despite being low-risk, and not the type of transaction Dodd-Frank was intended to regulate. H.R. 4620 would fix this oversight by widening the “Qualified Commercial Real Estate” (QCRE) exemption to include SASB and interest-only loans. Without this fix, liquidity rates will be impaired and borrowing costs will rise.
NAR sent a letter of support for the bill to the Committee, and joined an industry coalition letter as well. The Financial Services Committee approved the bill by a vote of 39-18. NAR will continue to monitor this important legislation, and advocate for its passage as it moves through Congress.