Georgia Banker Vents About QM to CFPB's No. 2 Official

'It's not just poor, lower-income people' who are having trouble qualifying for a mortgage, says Scott Tomlinson, a community banker in Georgia.

Scott Tomlinson had a chance to meet the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's deputy director, and he wasn't going to let the opportunity pass without speaking his mind.

Tomlinson, president and chief executive of the $155-million-asset Flint Community Bank in Albany, Ga., says he recently used his time with Steven Antonakes to express his concerns that small banks in rural or suburban areas shouldn't be treated like huge banks when it comes to mortgage-loan regulations.

"Large, urban banks are one thing, if you sell $100 million of mortgages on Wall Street," Tomlinson says, discussing new requirements placed on mortgage lending.

"When you're a community banker, you go to church or go to supper club or to school with the people" who are borrowers, he says.

Many times the applicant is self-employed and lacks a tax form to document their income, Tomlinson adds.

"Sometimes it's a doctor that makes a lot of money that's embedded in a [limited liability company]" and is thus difficult to document, he says.

"It's not just poor, lower-income people" who are having trouble qualifying for a mortgage.

Tomlinson met with Antonakes last month at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, along with other members of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia, where Tomlinson is a director.

Representatives from the Georgia Bankers Association were also invited.

The gathering, which wasn't announced to the public beforehand, was requested by Georgia's two banking trade associations, Tomlinson says. "Our lobbyists have put enough pressure on them to sit down and talk with us."

Antonakes seemed sympathetic to Tomlinson's concerns and said he would like to hold a follow-up meeting later, the banker says.

"They pledged to go back [to Washington] and begin to chronicle" some of the issues that community bankers have raised about mortgage lending, Tomlinson says.

"They told us to send them information about when we've had to turn down" mortgage applicants.

A date for the follow-up meeting has not been scheduled, he says.

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