USMI Statement on Nomination Hearing of Brian Montgomery for FHA Commissioner

WASHINGTON Lindsey Johnson, President and Executive Director of the U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), today issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs’ hearing on the nomination of Brian Montgomery for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner:

“Brian Montgomery is a respected expert and seasoned mortgage finance professional who our industry supports to serve once again as FHA Commissioner. While serving in the President George W. Bush administration, Mr. Montgomery led the FHA when the agency expanded as part of its countercyclical role during the financial crisis – a time of unprecedented market stress. As such, Brian Montgomery has the historic experience and expertise to oversee and manage the FHA’s return to its smaller, appropriate, and intended role in the market focusing on those borrowers who need the FHA’s 100% taxpayer-backed loans the most. The conventional mortgage market today is healthy and continues to prudently serve creditworthy homebuyers, including those with low down payments.

“The FHA serves an incredibly important role for many low-to-moderate income borrowers. We are confident that as FHA Commissioner, Brian Montgomery will continue to be a champion for a robust housing finance system that strikes the appropriate balance between the conventional market backed by private capital and government-backed FHA loans. We agree with Mr. Montgomery’s previously expressed views that private capital should play a leading role in guaranteeing low down payment mortgage credit risk to protect U.S. taxpayers and the federal government, and it is encouraging to know that he believes the FHA ‘should never take the place of the private sector first-loss solution provided by private mortgage insurers.’

“While the FHA serves a very important function in the housing finance system, its footprint has expanded dramatically since the financial crisis. Now is the time to focus on ensuring that the FHA is not overexposing taxpayers to undue risk and refocus the agency on its core mission of serving borrowers who need 100% government-backed home loans. We look forward to working closely with Brian Montgomery in seeking ways to establish a more collaborative, coordinated, and consistent housing policy and to help expand private capital’s role in shouldering more risk in front of taxpayers in the housing market. For 60 years private mortgage insurance has played a leading role in promoting affordable and sustainable homeownership and we look forward to building upon our success in the future.”

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U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) is dedicated to a housing finance system backed by private capital that enables access to housing finance for borrowers while protecting taxpayers. Mortgage insurance offers an effective way to make mortgage credit available to more people. USMI is ready to help build the future of homeownership. Learn more at www.usmi.org.

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