Sean Dobson wanted to start a mortgage bank four years ago to serve borrowers with middling credit or irregular income. He eventually decided that growing regulatory hurdles and other costs would erase his returns.
Instead, he purchased thousands of homes in states from Texas to Indiana and now rents them to people who might have been his borrowers.Pretty much the story of the decade. The comments on that article reflect the general attitude of the electorate on this matter, which is why we will continue to impose these problems on ourselves.
On a related note, here is an interesting post from Richard Green at USC regarding the CFPBs DTI limits (HT: Mark Thoma).
The Consumer Financial Protection Board has deemed mortgages with DTIs above 43 percent to not be "qualified." This means lenders making these loans do not have a safe-harbor for proving that the loans meet an ability to repay standard. Fannie and Freddie are for now exempt from this rule, but they have generally not been willing to originate loans with DTIs in excess of 45 percent. This basically means that no matter the loan-applicant's score arising from a regression model predicting default, if her DTI is above 45 percent, she will not get a loan.
This is not only analytically incoherent, it means that high quality borrowers are failing to get loans, and that the mix of loans being originated is worse in quality than it otherwise would be. That's because a well-specified regression will do a better job sorting borrowers more likely to default than a heuristic such as a DTI limit.