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News Now

Washington
Lawmakers Start PATH Act Approval Process
WASHINGTON (7/24/13)--House Financial Services Committee members on Tuesday began consideration of the "Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowner (PATH) Act of 2013," (H.R. 2767), a housing-finance reform bill that its chief sponsor, committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), has said would create a sustainable housing finance system.

The committee first approved a substitute version of the PATH Act; for the most part the substitute added just technical amendments to the original bill. Importantly for credit unions, the substitute version still contains the regulatory relief provisions strongly supported by the Credit Union National Association, including a provision to delay the mandatory implementation of all Dodd-Frank Act mortgage rules for an additional year.

The PATH Act also would: 
  • Phase out government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years;
  • End the federal government guarantee and reduce government involvement in the housing finance system; and
  • Give consumers more choices in determining which mortgage product best suits their needs.
It could take multiple days to complete the mark up of this bill.

Some committee Democrats said they are concerned that the PATH Act may not preserve the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Republicans counter that those fixed-rate mortgages would still be available through a variety of government avenues.

Also on GSE reform Tuesday, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel discussed Senate reform efforts, and the impact that housing finance reforms could have on the 30-year mortgage. He testified at a  Senate Banking subcommittee hearing entitled "Creating a Housing Finance System Built to Last: Ensuring Access for Community Institutions." (See related News Now story: CUNA Outlines CU Principles For Housing Market Reforms.)


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