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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Trump to nominate Kathy Kraninger to lead CFPB

White House confirms OMB official will be named to lead agency

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

Looking ahead to this week, HousingWire will be reporting live from the NEXT Conference, a mortgage technology conference for women. Stay tuned to HousingWire for coverage from the conference.

On Saturday, Reuters reported that the White House will name Kathy Kraninger as its nominee to permanently lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (aka BCFP).

Mick Mulvaney’s appointment as the acting director of the consumer watchdog is set to end on June 22. Last week, there were reports that President Donald Trump would announce a nominee to lead the agency this week. In those initial reports, sources familiar with the matter batted around potential nominee names, such as National Credit Union Administration Chairman J. Mark McWatters as permanent director, but not until close to June 22, according to an article by Kate Berry for American Banker. Another article said Trump was considering outgoing Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

But Saturday, the White House confirmed Trump will name Kraninger to lead the agency, drawing fast criticism from both consumer advocates and dividing conservatives, who were quick to call out Kraninger’s lack of experience in the consumer finance arena.

Kraninger currently works as a deputy in the Office of Budget and Management, which is also led by Mulvaney. According to the Reuters article, she does not have much experience in consumer finance but does have experience managing large teams.

From the article:

At the OMB, Kraninger has worked on financial policy issues for the CFPB, Treasury, and other regulators, and has extensive experience managing large teams in government, according to one person with direct knowledge of her role.

But consumer groups and conservatives alike were quick to criticize the announcement, with both sides questioning whether she was qualified and saying she may struggle to gain Senate approval as a result.

Allied Progress, a left-leaning consumer group, said Kraninger’s nomination was an attempt by Mulvaney to keep a grip on the agency, adding that she had “no relevant experience.”

Reuters’ article also cited conservative sources as saying that “Mulvaney had a strong track record of picking good managers, and said he would not have backed her if he doubted her capability.”

In a separate report from Politico, J.W. Verret, a professor of Banking Law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University and a former staffer for House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, told the publication that Kraninger’s nomination is similar to former President George W. Bush’s 2005 nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“It would be exactly like the Bush administration’s try at Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court and would end the same way,” he told Politico’s Katy O’Donnell and Ben White. Miers withdrew her name after mounting criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over her lack of qualifications.

The largest U.S. banks are looking at $170 billion in shareholder payouts, more than their annual profits for first time since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a weekend report from Financial Times (paywall).

Here’s the important info for those without a sub:

Shareholders in 22 of the country’s biggest listed banks are in line for a record haul of almost $170bn in dividends and stock buybacks over the coming year, according to Barclays research, about a quarter more than in 2017.

Federal Reserve regulators are preparing to release first round results this week from their annual stress tests, which govern banking dividends and stock buybacks.

The expected rise in payouts shows how the industry is bouncing back from years of depressed returns. Not only are banks generating billions of dollars in additional profits from lower taxes and higher interest rates, but the Fed is allowing them to return more of their earnings to shareholders.

“While some individual banks have been able to do so in prior years, the industry overall has not paid out more than its earnings since 2007, according to Barclays,” the article said.

Fitch Ratings recently announced it is accepting the government-sponsored enterprises valuation tools in its new U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities criteria.

Fitch updated its RMBS criteria to allow Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter and Freddie Mac’s Loan Collateral Advisor to be used as third-party support of original appraisals in U.S. RMBS transactions. Fitch explained in its announcement that it added this “as an alternative to existing supporting valuation approaches typically used in third-party due diligence reviews, such as secondary appraisals and vendor-provided desk reviews.”

Zillow and its subsidiary Trulia have been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit over real estate information search applications.

According to reporting from GeekWire, the lawsuit alleges that the real estate tech companies’ mobile home search apps violate a patent for “real estate information search and retrieval system” and seeks to block Zillow and Trulia from using location-based mobile search apps that display information about homes.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, was brought against Zillow Group by Corus Realty Holdings, a Virginia-based brokerage that was acquired by real estate company Long & Foster in 2009. In the court filing, Corus says that in 2001 it developed and patented a “mobile device that used location technology to identify and obtain relevant information about real estate near a user’s location.”

According to GeekWire’s coverage, Zillow addressed the suit with the following statement: “We are aware of the lawsuit recently filed. While we won’t discuss pending litigation, we believe the claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the lawsuit,” the company said.

Check out the court filing here:

Corus v. Zillow by Nat Levy on Scribd

Source: Housing Wire

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