The Federal Reserve makes a move on mortgage lenders

The Federal Reserve just announced new proposed mortgage rules aimed at cutting down on shady lending practices.

As far as I can tell, this is one of the most absurdly cosmetic measures ever undertaken, and I include the bizarre decision to split banking and underwriting in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash. The rules seem to be mostly aimed at curtailing abuses such as excessive prepayment penalties, which to a first approximation is a problem for exactly no one in the current mortgage market. Even the mighty reporters in the the Wall Street Journal's newsroom couldn't really find anyone to say that this was going to, y'know, actually affect anything.

I can't really find much to object to in the new rules (though, of course, I am not a mortgage banker.) But the proposal was greeted with much fanfar, simply because the headline has the words "mortgage" and "Federal Reserve" in it. Presumably this is what the Fed was aiming for: a bid to calm the markets without actually enacting any regulations that could have nasty side effects. And at that, as a strategy it sure beats "time to get in there and change everything!"

Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Business

Just In