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NEW: Senate Banking approves Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform bill
WASHINGTON (5/15/14 UPDATED 11:07 a.m. ET)-- The Senate Banking Committee voted this morning to approve its Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 (S. 1217). The vote was 13-9.
 
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the committee's ranking member, has called housing reform "the most significant piece of unfinished business from the 2008 financial crisis."
 
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney, following the vote, said, "It's critical that government-sponsored enterprise reform ensures equal and competitive access for credit unions and other small lenders to the housing finance market--and avoids further concentration of the primary and secondary mortgage markets to Wall Street and the largest of lenders.
 
"This legislation takes significant steps toward accomplishing both. Our thanks to Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and ranking member Mike Crapo for their leadership."
 
The bill is intended to redesign the nation's housing finance reform system to address problems that caused and resulted from the country's recent mortgage market and economic meltdown.
 
The bill's summary says it is "designed to protect taxpayers from bearing the cost of a housing downturn; promote stable, liquid and efficient mortgage markets for single-family and multifamily housing; ensure that affordable, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages continue to be available, and that affordability remains a key consideration; provide equal access for lenders of all sizes to the secondary market; and facilitate broad availability of mortgage credit for all eligible borrowers in all areas and for single-family and multifamily housing types."
 
Sam Whitfield, CUNA vice president of legislative affairs, also reiterated CUNA's thanks to the sponsors of the bill for listening to credit unions' concerns, and pledged CUNA's continued work with lawmakers as they make reforms happen.
 
"The Johnson-Crapo bill is a bipartisan effort with the majority of the committee members behind it, as shown by this vote. This monumental reform legislation takes into consideration the important role small lenders, like credit unions, have in the marketplace.  The prospect of full Senate consideration is unknown at this time, but it is widely agreed that S. 1217 will be a good starting place for future legislation," Whitfield added.
 
CUNA has advocated for several changes to the bill that were made, including the raising of an assets cap to $500 billion from $15 billion for participation in a mutual securitization company to provide credit unions and smaller lenders access to securitizing their mortgages.
 
For more information on the draft bill, use the resource link. Also, watch News Now Friday for more on the bill's details.
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