The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would direct the Federal Housing Administration to relax restrictions on its condominium loan program.
Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., the bill would streamline the FHA's certification requirements for condo projects, allow more commercial space in FHA-approved condo buildings and relax owner-occupancy requirements.
Supporters of the condo bill claim it would open up homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers and urban families. The bill would also provide the Rural Housing Service with direct endorsement authority for the first time. Currently, RHS officials must approve each loan package. The committee approved the legislation by a 44-10 vote.
The House committee also approved a data security bill that would require all financial companies to have similar security protections and notification requirements as banks.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and John Carney, D-Del., is designed to ensure that all entities that handle sensitive financial data have a robust process in place to protect consumer data. It was approved by a 46-9 vote.
"Banks are already required to protect consumer data and provide notice if a breach is likely to cause harm," said James Ballentine, the American Bankers Association's executive vice president for congressional relations.
"This legislation would extend these requirements to all industries that handle sensitive information, ensuring meaningful and consistent protection for consumers by replacing the current patchwork of state and federal regulations with a national law that provides uniform protections across the country," Ballentine said. "This would go a long way toward stopping breaches before they occur."
A similar data security bill is pending in the Senate.