WASHINGTON— Lindsey Johnson, President of the U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), released the following statement on the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) release of its Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report to Congress on the financial status of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF):
“Today’s report shows that the MMIF’s combined capital ratio stands at 6.10 percent, up from 4.84 percent last year, well above the statutory requirement of 2 percent. We applaud the FHA’s steadfast commitment to improving the fiscal health of the fund especially during these challenging times. The FHA continues to play an important role in the housing finance system, and we commend its ongoing collaboration with industry efforts to stabilize the market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The FHA is a vital part of the housing finance system and it must continue to focus on enhancing its financial strength to best serve the borrowers who need it the most. This is especially important for the FHA in a post-pandemic environment to ensure the agency does not unnecessarily expose taxpayers to undue mortgage credit risk. While some have called for the FHA to reduce its mortgage insurance premiums, the report makes it clear that this is unnecessary and imprudent at this time as consumers continue to have access to low cost mortgage credit. A reduction would diminish the MMIF’s ability to withstand potential stress caused by the economic fallout from the pandemic, evidenced in the nearly 11.6 percent of FHA-insured mortgages that are classified as seriously delinquent. Further, calls to end the premiums for the life of FHA loans are just a veiled way of reducing premiums. Such a move would jeopardize FHA’s ability to serve the borrowers who rely on its insurance today, and borrowers in the future who may need FHA to access homeownership. Now, more than ever, is the time for the FHA to sustain its financial health and focus on its core mission — to serve borrowers the conventional market is unable to adequately serve.
“USMI and our member companies look forward to continuing to work with FHA and Congress to foster a robust housing finance system that meets the needs of low down payment borrowers while protecting taxpayers. To this end, it is essential that federal policymakers advance a coordinated housing policy to best balance consumers’ access to affordable mortgage finance and prudent management of mortgage credit risk.”
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.