Property investors have come to expect their mortgage bankers to keep flexible hours, and to be there to get the job done.
But the Department of Labor feels differently.
Last spring, they DOL ruled that mortgage bankers who work late hours must be paid overtime. So much for flexibility.
This week, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) filed a lawsuit against the DOL to overturn this latest ruling and return mortgage bankers to the status of “exempt” employees when it comes to wage and hour standards.
The mortgage lending industry has relied on a previous DOL ruling that indicated a loan officer can qualify for the administrative exemption under the FLSA. MBA claims that the abrupt reversal of this ruling subjects mortgage lenders to unnecessary litigation.
In 2006, the department issued a clear opinion to MBA interpreting DOL regulations that exempted typical mortgage loan officers from overtime pay, said MBA„¢s President and CEO John A. Courson. If the department wanted to reverse that opinion, it should have provided notice and an opportunity for public comment. In issuing this administrative interpretation, the department ignored that statutory requirement.
The changes could up the costs for consumers, according to Courson. Requiring loan officers to be paid overtime will not increase their compensation and asking them to now track and report their hours will deprive them of the flexible schedules they and their customers have enjoyed.”
MBA is hoping that a court will set aside the current ruling, which was passed under a fast-track process, and open the measure up for public comment. “If the department were to do that, we are confident it would find that the existing ruling providing an administrative exemption for loan officers from overtime should remain, Courson said.
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