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Washington
PATH Act Vetted In House Financial Services Hearing
WASHINGTON (7/19/13)--Eleven witnesses came before the House Financial Services Committee Thursday bringing, by the panel's chairman's accounting, the total to 50 witnesses testifying during 12 hearings focusing on housing finance reform in six months.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) called the
The House Financial Services Committee and its subcommittees have held a long series of housing finance reform hearings over six months, including one on June 18 in which Jerry Reed, chief lending officer at Alaska USA FCU, represented credit unions for CUNA. (CUNA Photo)
hearing to examine his recently introduced discussion draft of a bill, the "Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowner (PATH) Act of 2013."

The bill, as Hensarling said in his remarks to open the hearing, is intended to "create a sustainable housing finance system."

"This proposal will give Americans the better, fairer, sustainable housing finance system they deserve," he said.

However, on the other side of the aisle, the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, expressed doubt about the viability of the legislation she called the "PATH to Nowhere Bill." She said it is a "non-starter" because it is bad for community banks, bad for credit unions and bad for consumers. Democratic opponents charge that the bill would destroy access to and availabilty of 30-year, fixed-term mortgages for average Americans.

Waters said she favored an approach taken by a Senate bill, the Jumpstart GSE Reform Act.

The PATH Act would: 
  • Phase out government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years;
  • Increase competition by ending the federal government's domination of the housing finance market; and
  • Give consumers more choices in determining which mortgage product best suits their needs.
The Credit Union National Association submitted a statement for the hearing record strongly supporting the regulatory relief provisions found in the language, while expressing preliminary concerns on behalf of credit unions regarding some provisions of the PATH Act.

For example, CUNA has serious concerns that the PATH Act may not provide credit union members with a sustainable secondary market that can provide the necessary liquidity and structure that will ensure the continuation of long-term, fixed-rate mortgage products.

CUNA also testified on June 18 at a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on housing finance issues.  Jerry Reed, chief lending officer at Alaska USA FCU, represented credit unions for CUNA at a hearing conducted by the subcommittee on  financial institutions and consumer credit on "Examining How the Dodd-Frank Act Hampers Home Ownership."

Use the resource links to read CUNA's full statement and to access the hearing's witness list.


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