The Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that aims to ease banking regulations, potentially making it easier for consumers to get a mortgage from a community bank or credit union.
With some bipartisan support, lawmakers' approval of S. 2155 was expected. The bill rolls back various banking regulations put in place via the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 following the mortgage crisis that roiled the U.S. economy a decade ago.
The Senate bill now heads to the House, where it could face less support as written. Last year, House lawmakers passed a measure that went much further in its rewrite of Dodd-Frank. Basically, the two chambers would need to agree on a version of the bill before it could be sent to President Trump and signed into law.
In simple terms, one of the Senate bill's provisions would let smaller institutions — those with up to $10 billion in assets — offer mortgages that are not subject to some of the strictest federal underwriting requirements, as long as they meet certain other conditions.
"Where it likely will make a bigger difference is in rural areas, where big lenders don't necessarily operate," said Richard Andreano, a partner with law firm Ballard Spahr in Washington and head of its mortgage banking group. "It can be harder to get a mortgage in those places."