Voices of Real Estate
By NAR 2013 President Gary Thomas
Our hearts go out to the victims of the terrible tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma. Tragically, as it stands now, 24 souls were lost in the storm, including nine children. Property damage is estimated to reach over two billion dollars.
We’re hearing from neighboring associations that as many as 38,000 people were affected, with 12,000 to 13,000 homes damaged or destroyed.
The loss is overwhelming.
Through it all, though, there were so many acts of courage and kindness worth noting, such as the brave teachers who protected children by laying over them to shield them from the storm.
Oklahomans have certainly proven their resiliency.
Still, they could use a helping hand. To assist where they can, the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS is working with the local boards surrounding the disaster area in Moore, as well as with neighboring association executives from Missouri and Kansas who have offered their help.
They plan to distribute supplies and funds to help those in need.
If you’d like to help the tornado victims, please look for further information from the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® at the following link:
By NAR 2013 President Gary Thomas
As Bob Hope said, “a bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.”
All kidding aside, we understand banks play a vital role in the housing market. And just as banks are important, so is protecting the interests of consumers.
In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). It established a new government agency, called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The purpose of the CFPB is to supervise banks, credit unions and other financial companies and enforce the federal consumer financial laws.
According to the CFPB, their mission is “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”
Because of their important role, NAR maintains an ongoing dialogue with the Bureau. Recently, NAR organized a mortgage roundtable with Iowa REALTORS®, CFPB Director Richard Cordray, NAR staff, and other industry partners. The meeting went very well and demonstrates the importance of presenting the REALTOR® perspective on lending issues to the CFPB. It also shows our members the value of NAR and our ongoing partnerships with federal agencies.
Last March, the CFPB held a field hearing in Iowa on their release of an expanded version of its consumer complaint database, including complaints on obtaining a mortgage, loan modification, or short sale. We welcome the database as a good start in addressing some of the difficulties facing consumers, and our REALTOR® members will appreciate that a light is being shined on deficient banking practices.
Let me mention that CFPB Director Cordray will be speaking at the Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, DC, next week. We look forward to hearing his perspective on how best to protect consumers.
Here at NAR, our goals are to increase mortgage liquidity and help consumers make better decisions about which mortgage is right for them. This will allow the real estate market to continue improving, help lift the country’s economic markets, and ensure that the dream of homeownership remains within reach for the majority of Americans.