Removing Barriers Blog

HFSC holds hearing on affordable housing
Posted October 23, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

Earlier this week, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administration’s Plans to Change Housing Finance in America.” Prior to the hearing, CUNA wrote to Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry reiterating commitment to working with Congress and the Administration to refine and build upon housing finance reform proposals to ensure a strong and sustainable secondary mortgage market that ensures the availability of affordable housing.

“A robust, smoothly functioning national housing finance system with an efficient, effective and fair secondary market that provides equal access to lenders of all sizes is a key concern for credit unions and the members they serve.”

As Congress and the Administration work together to reform the current housing finance system, CUNA believes it is essential for any final reform proposal to prioritize affordable housing by embracing the following principles:

  • Equal access to lenders of all sizes on an equitable basis;
  • Affordability that incudes recognition of the fact that smaller lenders, such as credit unions, often meet mortgage needs that banks are unwilling or unable to address in rural and working-class communities that require greater flexibility in underwriting requirements and weigh against mandatory minimum down payments;
  • A reasonable and orderly transition to a new housing finance system. Accordingly, efforts to transfer guarantee oversight authority to entities, such as Ginnie Mae, must honestly assess and plan for potential frustrations if not acknowledged, addressed, and corrected well in advance of any transition;
  • Strong oversight and supervision to ensure the safety and soundness of secondary market entities;
  • Durability, by including an explicit federally insured or guaranteed component to ensure that, even in troubled economic times, the secondary mortgage market continues to exist; and
  • Preserving what works, such as cost-effective and member-oriented credit union mortgage servicing options, emphasizing consumer education and home-purchase counseling, and applying reasonable conforming loan limits that adequately consider local real estate expenses in higher cost areas.