Senate Housing Finance Proposal Threatens Access, Affordability, and Market Stability

February 02 2018

WASHINGTON, DC (February 2, 2018) – This week, a leaked version of a housing finance proposal from U.S. Senators Bob Corker (TN) and Mark Warner (VA) emerged that would severely harm America’s housing market. Today, several civil rights and affordable housing groups issued a statement on the proposal’s negative impact on access, affordability, and market stability.

The Center for Responsible Lending, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, National CAPACD, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Urban League, and UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza), issued the following statement:

“Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream.  Our nation’s housing finance system creates opportunity for millions of Americans to climb their way into a safe and stable middle class.

“We are disappointed that Senators Corker and Warner are threatening to move to a new untested system removing the safeguards that ensure a more inclusive mortgage market and broad liquidity in rural communities and communities of color, and that ensure small bank lenders can compete on equal footing with larger banks.

“Ten years after the 2008 Housing Crisis, it is disheartening to turn the secondary mortgage market back over to Wall Street and allow it to go unchecked while risking another massive taxpayer bailout.  Who can forget the 7.8 million completed home foreclosures and trillions of dollars in lost family wealth?

“Many Americans still face immense housing challenges – this ill-conceived approach places the risk on the backs of the hardworking families who already rescued the big banks.
“Thus far, this legislative proposal was developed with little to no input from civil rights groups and affordable housing advocates. All communities deserve to have their voices meaningfully included in the discussion from here on out.”

Additional background

The draft text shows that the bill would eliminate the Government Sponsored Enterprises’ chartered obligation to ensure the flow of affordable mortgage credit to underserved borrowers and communities – and in particular urban and rural areas – as well as Duty-to-Serve provisions, including mandates created by the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  Together, these affirmative obligations increase the availability of safe mortgage loans across the nation, including in rural communities, and have helped millions of hardworking families become homeowners. As written, the proposal fails to include affordable housing goals and would unnecessarily drive up the cost of mortgage loans. It would make it extremely difficult for lower-wealth families, communities of color, and rural borrowers to access safe and responsible mortgage credit. Furthermore, it does not require equal treatment for community banks, community development financial institutions, and credit unions so that they can compete on a level playing field with larger banks.

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Contact: K. Kim Atterbury | katterbury@nul.org | (202) 629-5750