Housing Finance

The $33 trillion housing market relies on well-regulated sources of private capital and public funding in order to ensure stability and liquidity for borrowers, lenders, and investors.

Our nation’s housing finance system is comprised of an entire ecosystem of lenders, originators, aggregators, servicers, rating agencies, diligence providers, trustees, bond investors and whole loan purchasers who all play an integral role in ensuring that borrowers are able to access mortgage funds throughout the credit cycle.

SFA is working to ensure that a dynamic market—including public funding sources as well as private capital—works to the benefit of borrowers, provides well-defined guardrails for market participants, and protects taxpayers from future losses.


June 22, 2023

On June 22, 2023, SFA signed on to a joint trade letter to the FHFA on credit score requirements.

May 12, 2023

On May 12, 2023, SFA responded to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Enterprise Regulatory Capital Framework Amendment.

May 17, 2022

SFA joins other trade associations in requesting that FHFA provide additional data and an implementation timeline related to any changes in how the GSEs use credit scores. This mirrors previous requests from SFA on this topic, and will help ensure a smooth transition for consumer and industry stakeholders.

April 27, 2022

SFA Supports Capital and Liquidity Requirements to Promote Healthy Housing Finance Market, in response to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Proposed Minimum Eligibility Requirements

November 15, 2021

The goal of the QM VSH Scope of Review is to create a uniform best practice testing standard to be utilized across TPR firms. The primary focus of this initial version of SFA’s TPR Scope of Review for QM VSH is to document the best practice approaches used by clients utilizing a TPR firm to perform due diligence on General QM loans under the new rule effective March 1, 2021.. As appropriate, SFA and its members will continue to work with the CFPB toward the goal of receiving formal regulatory guidance for the benefit of the consumer, primary, and secondary mortgage markets. To that end, there may be shifts in the requirements should there be future CFPB rulemakings or formal guidance, or market developments.

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Results are in from SFA’s Survey on the Qualified Mortgage rule

SFA’s QM survey was sent to issuers, investors, law firms, mortgage insurers, rating agencies, diligence firms, and data and analytic providers. It provides data that SFA will use to inform our ongoing engagement with the CFPB, providing market-based feedback on how different proposals or aspects of the rule might impact access to credit, credit quality, investor demand, and legal or regulatory risk.



Under Dodd-Frank, the CFPB implemented the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM) rule which states that mortgage lenders must make, “a reasonable, good faith determination” of each borrower’s ability to repay the proposed loan. The ATR portion of the rule was designed to prevent borrowers from obtaining loans they could not afford; the QM portion of the rule provides protection from allegations that the lender failed to verify the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Since its inception, the CFPB rule has also allowed any loan eligible for purchase by the GSEs to achieve QM status. This exemption from the rule – also called the QM Patch – expires in January of 2021 and was meant to serve as a temporary bridging mechanism while policymakers found a long-term solution to the challenge of appropriately crafting a legal safe harbor from ATR. Since the inception of the QM Patch in 2014, the share of loans guaranteed by the GSEs with DTIs in excess of 43 percent has increased to nearly 28 percent of their combined portfolio. Large-scale innovation has been limited to the GSEs, whose new product offerings or underwriting advances automatically achieve ATR compliance via QM safe harbor status.

On July 25th, the CFPB published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on the ATR/QM rule. This ANPR gave industry participants and the public the first insight into how the CFPB will approach the scheduled expiration of the QM Patch, presents potential options for transitioning away from the patch and creates a framework for the industry to provide feedback in preparation for this transition. On January 16th, 2020, CFPB Director Kraninger indicated in a letter to Congress that after reviewing the responses to the ANPR, the Bureau would move forward with the planned expiration of the QM Patch, proposing a rule that moves away from a DTI threshold, and instead use a pricing threshold (expressed as a spread over the Average Prime Offered Rate, or APOR) to determine whether a loan is QM.

A thoughtful and well-planned transition away from the patch – which the CFPB has committed to – can avoid negatively impacting borrowers, many of whom live in low- and moderate-income communities. Allowing additional private capital to innovate within clearly understood guidelines in order to compete on a level playing field will help ensure that homeowners in all communities can be consistently served without increasing risk to taxpayers. Transitioning away from the Patch in a smooth and transparent manner can enhance responsible access to credit for all borrowers.

“After the October 2015 effective date of TRID, the secondary market initially was left to focus on defining the liability surrounding new disclosure obligations that was not abundantly clear. Since June of 2016, the rating agencies, TPR firms, and the capital market investors have confidently followed the Structured Finance Association’s TRID Compliance Review Scope effectively placing the private label securitization marketplace back on a strong footing.” – Scott McNulla, SitusAMC and John Levonick, Ballard Spahr


The Structured Finance Association originally published its TRID Compliance Review Scope© documentation in 2016 to facilitate uniform testing standards resulting from a consistent interpretation of Truth-In-Lending Act liability. This interpretation was drafted by subject matter experts at SFA member firms, according to our understanding of prevailing legal precedent and informal written guidance and webinars offered by the CFPB as it applies to the Know Before You Owe / Truth In Lending Act (TILA)– Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure (RESPA) or TRID Rule (78 FR 79730, as amended) across third-party review (TPR) firms.

The third version of the Compliance Review Scope—formerly known as the SFIG RMBS 3.0 TRID Compliance Review Scope, now known as the SFA TRID Compliance Review Scope (“TRID Grid 3.0”)—was published on December 5, 2019. The foundation of the new scope’s primary consideration is the elimination or alteration of testing those areas that may carry assignee liability, but based on the specific area being addressed, the probability of actual losses is minimal. The secondary consideration is the elimination of testing origination compliance on aspects that do not carry assignee liability or impair the asset.

In addition to the changes to the TRID Compliance review scope, the SFA updates include a few alterations based on the secondary consideration that go beyond TRID to remove the testing/exceptions pertaining to four current categories not considered to carry assignee liability or impair the asset. Categories to be removed from scope of previous TRID Grid include: Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA); The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA); Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (HUD-1 in scope for points and fees testing); and State Late Charge Grace Periods/ Amounts (Retaining NM, NJ, WV, and GA based on Assignee Liability).

This furthers the pursuit of a uniform scope required for TPR firms performing compliance reviews on loans that will be securitized, and reduces the testing performed during a compliance review on loans to be included in a rated securitization. Due to the fact that the logic driving the content of this document is based upon informal CFPB guidance, and legal precedent from several court decisions, there may be shifts in the requirements should there be future CFPB rulemakings or formal guidance, and as caselaw develops following the passage of the Know Before You Owe / TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule.

The TRID Compliance Review Scope will continue to be reviewed and updated by SFA and is subject to the same protocols as other SFA work streams and work products.

Click here to download the Structured Finance Association’s TRID Compliance Review Scope. If you have any questions about the most recent TRID Grid, or would like to participate in SFA’s TRID Working Group, please email [email protected].

On Tuesday November 5th, 2019, SFA convened a members-only QM Roundtable to discuss the future of the mortgage market given the pending expiration of the GSEs QM Patch. Following the inaugural SFA QM Symposium held on June 25th, 2019, this second QM roundtable event was the culmination of QM Task Force calls that have been regularly occurring throughout 2019.

During the recent November roundtable, SFA CEO Michael Bright laid out the current landscape, noting the industry’s important role regardless of how the CFPB ultimately decides to implement the ATR-QM rule. If the CFPB lands in favor of a broad QM market, there may be a need for the industry to promote a broad understanding of terms and definitions in use by various market participants in order to prevent an erosion of credit quality. If the CFPB rule creates a narrow QM market, market participants will need greater clarity and certainty with how to comply with ATR requirements outside of QM protection. The industry can play a crucial role in helping to promote that clarity and certainty.

A broad cross-section of SFA members participated at the roundtable, including originators, issuers, investors, rating agencies, diligence firms, law firms, servicers, and data and analytics providers. Discussion focused on current issues in both the QM and non-QM markets, including bank statement loans, asset depletion loans, and the application of expense ratios to borrowers’ income. Participants also discussed ways in which the CFPB could provide more clarity via Official Commentary to the ATR-QM rule, as well as how to potentially increase private capital by limiting assignee liability when certain conditions are met.

SFA members also discussed possible industry-led initiatives to fill the role currently played by the GSEs under the Patch, including the development of an industry self-regulating organization (SRO) that would promote industry-led standards, and use historical performance data to responsibly expand access to credit in accordance with the intent of the statute and rule promulgated by the CFPB. The QM Task Force remains committed to developing industry-led solutions with input from all market participants. If you would like to join SFA’s QM Task Force, please contact [email protected].

On October 30, 2019, Jay Clayton announced that the SEC is seeking feedback on whether the Commission’s 2014 ABS rules are a significant contributing factor to the absence of SEC-registered RMBS offerings. The announcement from the SEC notes that public input from investors, issuers and other market participants is welcome. Importantly, the notice states that any proposed revisions should ensure appropriate investor protection, including access to information material to an investment decision.

In particular, the SEC is seeking feedback on RMBS asset-level disclosure requirements, including general questions about the state of the market and feedback on existing disclosure requirements. For a full list of questions and topics on which the SEC seeks feedback, please click here. SFA has convened our RMBS Reg AB II Task Force and is in the process of building member consensus to respond to the SEC’s request – and submitted a letter to the SEC with our expected timeline. If you are interested in sharing your viewpoints, please join our RMBS Reg AB II Task Force.

For more information, click here.

“After the October 2015 effective date of TRID, the secondary market initially was left to focus on defining the liability surrounding new disclosure obligations that was not abundantly clear. Since June of 2016, the rating agencies, TPR firms, and the capital market investors have confidently followed the Structured Finance Association’s TRID Compliance Review Scope, effectively placing the private label securitization marketplace back on a strong footing.”

- Scott McNulla, SitusAMC and John Levonick, Ballard Spahr

PLS Reform: What’s the Problem?


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SFA News

March 15, 2024

The Fannie Mae pilot program from 2023, intended to eliminate title insurance on low-risk refinance transactions, was reintroduced during the State of the Union address on March 7.

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Industry News

February 2, 2024

Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released a report that puts the median single-family home sales price at 5.6 times higher than median household incomes.

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Industry News

February 2, 2024

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHFA have finalized updates to their existing social bond frameworks, renaming them the Mission Index to offer investors ‘greater insight into mission-oriented lending activities’ within their mortgage-backed securities.

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staff michael bright

Michael Bright


staff dallin merrill

Dallin Merrill

Senior Director, MBS Policy

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