For Immediate Release
September 27, 2016
Media Contact: Dan Knight
USMI Statement on New GSE Credit Insurance Pilot Program
WASHINGTON — Lindsey Johnson, President and Executive Director of U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), said the following today upon the announcement from Freddie Mac about a new pilot program involving mortgage insurers:
“For the past four years, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been experimenting with a number of structures to shift risk away from the GSEs to the private markets. The program announced yesterday for an offering with affiliates of private mortgage insurers is the latest addition to this effort. While it is good to see the GSEs continue to explore ways to reduce the government’s mortgage credit risk exposure, this new offering is effectively a form of credit insurance that Freddie Mac stated builds on its Agency Credit Insurance Structure (ACIS), which is a back-end credit insurance program. While some mortgage insurers are exploring and may ultimately participate in this new credit insurance program, we believe it is important to note that this new structure should not be confused with the deep cover, true mortgage insurance front-end credit risk transfer proposal that we and others have been advocating for.
As the FHFA seeks comment through the RFI process on additional ways to do greater front-end risk sharing, USMI continues to believe that MI is one of the best, time-tested forms of credit risk protection for our nation’s mortgage finance system. We also believe that using more traditional deep cover MI would be a key component to a sound housing policy in the future. Specifically, our industry proposes expanding the current risk protection provided by MI, which today guards up to 35 percent of a loan’s value, as a means of front-end credit risk transfer. This will significantly protect taxpayers while also ensuring borrower access to low down payment mortgages. Having the GSEs increase that protection coverage would put more private capital at risk—precisely what taxpayers and the economy need. Such an entity-based program would make greater use of private capital, put the GSEs and taxpayers in a more remote loss position, allow lenders of all sizes and types to participate, and, importantly, help ensure access to affordable homeownership. As it has been for the past sixty years, private MI can be provided consistently through all economic cycles. We look forward to continuing that dialogue with FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, policymakers, and other stakeholders.”
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.