WASHINGTON — Lindsey Johnson, President of U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), today issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee’s confirmation of Dr. Mark Calabria as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director:
“USMI applauds the Senate Banking Committee’s approval of Dr. Mark Calabria to serve as the next FHFA Director. Dr. Calabria’s extensive public service and deep understanding of the mortgage finance system will serve the Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the “GSEs”), market participants, and homebuyers well.
“Dr. Calabria has long been an advocate for greater taxpayer protection against mortgage credit risk, including the use of private mortgage insurance to guard taxpayers and the federal government from financial risk on low down payment lending. We are confident that Dr. Calabria will continue to recognize the importance of private mortgage insurance in the conventional mortgage market both in helping creditworthy low down payment borrowers qualify for home financing, while also protecting American taxpayers from undue mortgage credit risk. Over the last 60 years, private MI has helped more than 30 million individuals become homeowners. Right now, private mortgage insurance protection is the only source of private capital that is permanently dedicated to standing in a first-loss position in front of the GSEs and taxpayers on GSE-backed mortgages, through various credit cycles.
“USMI looks forward to working closely with Dr. Calabria to ensure that borrowers continue to have competitive options for low down payment mortgage finance credit in the conventional market and to protect taxpayers even further. USMI urges a quick Senate Floor vote and support for Dr. Calabria. For more than 60 years, private mortgage insurers have played a leading role in promoting affordable and sustainable homeownership and we look forward to building upon this important mission in the future.”
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.
Here is a roundup of recent news in the housing finance industry. USMI released a paper assessing housing finance reform proposals announced by housing institutions and organizations, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on housing finance reform, Genworth Financial introduced its first-ever First-Time Homebuyer Market Report, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) submitted its 2016 annual report to Congress, and American Action Forum (AAF) commented on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (the GSEs) increasingly risky credit portfolios while calling for greater usage of private mortgage insurance (MI).
- USMI Releases Policy Paper Assessing Housing Finance Reform Proposals. USMI released a paper that assesses a number of reform proposals for the housing finance system. This paper analyzes the various reform proposals put forth by widely respected institutions and organizations through the lens of USMI’s housing finance reform principles, with attention to the role of private capital to protect against taxpayer risk exposure in the proposed new systems.
- Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Housing Finance Reform. Edward DeMarco (President, Housing Policy Council), Dave Stevens (President, Mortgage Bankers Association), and Michael Calhoun (President, Center for Responsible Lending) testified before the Senate Banking Committee on principles for housing finance reform and specific proposals, including the importance of more private capital standing in front of taxpayers’ risk exposure.
- Genworth Introduces First-Time Homebuyer Market Report. Genworth introduced its First-Time Homebuyer Market Report – the first economic series focused on first-time homebuyer market size. The report provides data spanning two housing cycles over the past 24 years that will make the first-time homebuyer market more visible to housing industry participants and policymakers. A factsheet of the report can be found here.
- FHFA Submits 2016 Annual Report to Congress. FHFA submitted its annual Report to Congress for 2016, which describes the actions undertaken by the agency to carry out its statutory responsibilities. The report summarizes the findings of FHFA’s 2016 examinations of the GSEs as well as FHFA’s actions as conservator of the GSEs during 2016. The report also describes FHFA’s regulatory guidance, research, and publications issued during the year.
- AAF Comments on GSEs’ Increasingly Risky Credit Transfers. In a post on its website, AAF commented on the current status of FHFA and the GSEs, which are retaining risky assets and transferring very little credit risk while remaining dangerously undercapitalized. AAF warns that FHFA and the GSEs’ actions will most likely lead to another taxpayer bailout of the entities. AAF notes that while GSE reform remains a top priority to fix the housing finance system, private MI can be more extensively used in credit risk transfer to de-risk the GSEs’ portfolios, which in turn will protect US taxpayers and the federal government.