By Michael Lerner, Washington Post
“One of the biggest misconceptions associated with buying a home is that you need a down payment of 20 percent of the home price. The median down payment for buyers under age 37, a group that typically includes a majority of first-time buyers, was just 7 percent last year, according to the National Association of Realtors…”
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WASHINGTON — Lindsey Johnson, President of U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), today issued the following statement on the Fannie Mae’s new Enterprise-Paid Mortgage Insurance (EPMI) product:
“USMI appreciates the level of detail provided to the marketplace thus far and the additional details promised in the near future about Fannie Mae’s new Enterprise-Paid Mortgage Insurance (EPMI) product. However, Fannie Mae’s new EPMI pilot program is a troubling development and heightens concerns about the GSEs’ expanding roles in the housing finance system. Even after Congress raised questions about the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and GSEs’ lack of transparency in developing, approving, and rolling out new products and activities—and their expanding operations in the mortgage market—Fannie Mae has moved ahead with a new program that bypasses the high capital and operational standards developed and enforced by the GSEs for private mortgage insurers, despite the fact that these entities are taking the exact same risk. Like Freddie Mac’s Integrated Mortgage Insurance (IMAGIN) program, this new Fannie Mae program represents a significant blurring of the bright line separation between primary market and secondary market activities and greater vertical integration of private sector activities into the GSEs. Further, this promotes an unlevel playing field in the private market by allowing for different terms and standards for EPMI versus other sources of private capital. From a taxpayer perspective, we believe it is much more appropriate and prudent for dedicated forms of private capital that are available through economic cycles, such as private mortgage insurance, to continue to perform the critical functions of underwriting and assuming first loss credit risk at the loan level. This form of credit risk protection can and should be done even as the GSEs continue to disburse and diversify credit risk through channels such as reinsurance and the capital markets, just as private mortgage insurers do today. The MI industry continues to be a strong counterparty to the GSEs and our focus continues to be on the value MI brings to our customers, consumers, and to the federal government and American taxpayers.”
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.