Monday, March 31, 2014

Mortgage Finance Reform Advances in the Senate

The Senate is currently formulating its bipartisan plan to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) have been working together to craft legislation that shifts the mortgage market to the private sector and creates the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC) that will protect taxpayers from having to bear the costs if another housing bubble bursts in the future. FMIC will be an independent agency that supervises servicers and guarantors and provides insurance on mortgaged-backed securities. It will also create a mortgage insurance fund that funds insurance claims but only after the private sector absorbs the initial risk. The government will remain a guarantor of mortgages as a last resort.

In a news release, Mike Crapo explained, “This agreement moves us closer to ending the five-year status quo and beginning the wind down of Fannie and Freddie while protecting taxpayers with strong private capital, building the components for a stable secondary market and avoiding repeating the mistakes of the past. Government control of Fannie and Freddie with no private capital to protect taxpayers against losses is unacceptable.”

This legislation is only in its early stages, focusing on the necessity of a smooth and efficient transition to private lending and the continuing availability of the affordable 30-year mortgage. Brokers, change is coming to the mortgage market, and it is essential that you are knowledgeable every step of the way to a final bill. This legislation directly affects your occupation and your clients, so keep your eyes open for more advances in legislation.

Click here to read more on the Housing Finance Reform legislation. You may also follow S. 1217’s progress here on govtrack.us.