Reflecting a decision to become more proactive in the legislative and regulatory arena, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers outlined an ambitious policy agenda that it says is aligned with consumers' needs."Mortgage brokers work in the frontline" of the lending process, NAMB president Harry Dinham said in a telephone press conference outlining its agenda for 2007. "We firmly believe our issues and consumer issues go hand-in-hand." The group's plan targets abusive lending practices on several fronts. Among other things, it calls for a mandatory disclosure sheet at both application and closing that reveals possible payment and interest rate changes, restricting the use of pre-screened mortgage leads to written solicitations only, a good-faith estimate of closing costs that mirrors the HUD-1 statement that borrowers receive at settlement, and protections against builder and real estate broker-owned mortgage operations that offer incentives only to borrowers who use their services. NAMB also said it is embracing the Bush administration's proposal to reform the Federal Housing Administration, bipartisan efforts to improve the oversight and regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and legislation that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to guarantee home equity conversion loans to eligible veterans. Joseph Falk, a former NAMB president and the current chair of its legislative committee, said that while his group's policy agenda is wide-ranging, no one issue takes priority. "Each is important, each is critical," the former broker from Miami said. "Each has no higher standing than the other."

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