NAACP Calls For Housing Finance Policies That Increase Homeownership; Applauds President Obama For Not Endorsing The Corker

NAACP Calls For Housing Finance Policies That Increase Homeownership; Applauds
       President Obama For Not Endorsing The Corker-Warner Legislation

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2013

STATEMENT BY HILARY O. SHELTON

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADVOCACY FOR THE NAACP

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The NAACP strongly
believes that homeownership is a catalyst for safer and more secure
communities, and is an important vehicle for creating and sustaining wealth in
communities of color. For decades, the equity in our homes has provided the
capital for start-up businesses and college educations for our children.

In the aftermath of the housing collapse in 2007, government policies have
focused on helping Wall Street and the Big Banks, not the middle-class or
families of color. Minorities lost millions of dollars of wealth from the
sharp decline in housing values, yet we are faced with a series of public
policies that offer little assistance to troubled homeowners and are now
poised to construct new roadblocks on the path to homeownership.

We want to applaud President Obama for not endorsing the Corker-Warner
legislation; the Corker-Warner bill is a threat to the middle-class, and to
communities of color. It will take us backwards and not forwards.

Before the 1930s, home mortgages were largely short-term loans that only the
upper class could afford - only the privileged could purchase a home in
America. After the Great Depression, the nation enacted polices and incentives
that made the 30-year mortgage, with no pre-payment penalties, the foundation
of housing finance. This new standard loan made homeownership affordable to
more people, an expansion that would not have been sustained without federal
support through Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, the Federal
Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) System, the mortgage interest deduction and other
incentives.

With these agencies and policies in place, America's housing market grew
substantially, lifting the economy as well as increasing the wealth of many
urban and rural families. From the 1940s until the recent mortgage crisis,
homeownership rates rose from 40 percent to more than 66 percent. It changed
America, helping build middle-class communities. These policies helped build
wealth in working-class families—whites and people of color. Families built
solid financial security.

Any restructuring of the housing finance industry must sustain home ownership
opportunities so the next generation can have opportunities to prosper.

But what we are seeing are proposals that will make it virtually impossible
for many in the middle - class, and particularly people of color, to purchase
homes in the future.

In fact, none of the legislation under consideration will assure that there
will be low-cost, mortgage financing available for families and individuals
that have good credit histories, stable income and want to buy homes. America
needs a fair housing finance system that can spur a robust recovery for
housing, as well as the overall economy.

Going forward, our nation's housing financing system must balance the needs of
families with the needs of Big Banks and Wall Street. To be blunt, the pending
legislation fails to prioritize the needs of working families. Since the
housing market crash in 2007, measures have focused on restoring Wall Street
and the Big Banks, with not enough attention on Main Street and the homeowners
facing foreclosures. By raising interest rates, insurance premiums and down
payments, the pending legislation will construct more roadblocks for working
families. These measures will represent more failed public policy.

Specifically, here are some of our concerns about the Corker-Warner
legislation:

  oIt fails to mention that the mission of any successor to Fannie Mae and
    Freddie Mac must include that of ensuring universally available, low cost
    mortgage credit for working and middle class families. Fannie Mae and
    Freddie Mac perform that function and are measured by that objective. The
    Corker-Warner created insurance fund does not have that goal/objective.
  oThe mission of any successor to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must include
    ensuring that universally available, low cost mortgage credit is available
    for working and middle class families. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac perform
    that function and are measured by that objective. The Corker-Warner
    created insurance fund does not have that goal/objective.
  oThe affordable housing entity contained in the Corker-Warner bill will not
    meet the housing finance needs of very low, low, moderate and
    middle-income families. Middle and moderate-income families have about $5
    trillion in outstanding mortgages today. The fund would have about $250
    billion. The fund is necessary to provide rental subsidies and some lower
    income homeownership gap financing, but it needs to be charged with
    meeting the credit needs of at a minimum working and middle-income
    homeowners.
  oAn explicit on budget guarantee will squeeze funding from other lower
    income housing programs and FHA.The current implicit guarantee that
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac enjoy is not on budget and thus does not impact
    FHA funding or funding for other housing credit program. Putting the FMIC
    on budget could also allow housing opponents to limit the amount of
    insurance funds available for mortgage finance independent of market
    demand.
  oIt allows unlimited guarantee fees to be charged. The mortgage insurance
    fund would be paid for by its guarantee fee income. The guarantee fees
    would be largely based upon potential risk, with no caps, and these fees
    could be passed on to struggling homebuyers because there is no
    prohibition on the fees being included on the mortgage cost to the
    homebuyer. Unlimited guarantee fees could also be raised to shift the
    mortgage backed securities market toward private label mortgage backed
    securities—the very instruments used to expand the subprime and predatory
    mortgage markets in the 2004-2008 period.
  oNon-depository banks and intermediaries that would be issuing MBS with
    government insurance would not be required to have solid Community
    Reinvestment Act ("CRA") ratings, meet Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
    ("HMDA") standards or meet proxy standards for CRA or HMDA (depository
    institutions would obviously have to be CRA compliant).
  oNothing would ensure that insurance is being provided to entities that
    serve low, moderate and middle income communities or that meet the race
    and gender scrutiny of HMDA. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as secondary
    market entities were subjected to ensuring that they provided secondary
    market access for lower, moderate and middle-income communities.
  oIt facilitates big institutional intermediaries. There is no requirement
    for minority participation in the private mortgage insurers or servicers
    that are eligible to participate. The governing structure of the insurance
    fund does not include any community representation. The 5-person
    commission that would govern the FMIC should include someone engaged in
    community based lending or a policy maker with experience in low, moderate
    and middle income housing finance. 

Our communities need a finance system that provides credit to a broad and
diverse population, rather than one in which credit and housing choices are
more costly, more limited, and less sustainable, especially for low- and
moderate-income households, households of color, and rural households. Without
this broad access to credit, neither buyers nor sellers can transact business
as they would like, which could once again destabilize home values.

It is critical that the government not withdraw from supporting
homeownership. There needs to be sustained public-private partnerships that
can provide liquidity for lenders and support the 30-year-fixed rate mortgage,
a product that has played a major role in supporting homeownership for
America's families.

(Hilary O. Sheltonis the Senior Vice President for Advocacy for the NAACP
where he directs the NAACP Washington Bureau. Mr. Shelton has more than 20
years of experience in government relations and federal advocacy.)

Media Contact:

Derek Turner
dturner@naacpnet.org
443-326-7227
@naacppress

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largestnonpartisan
civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the
world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.You
can read more about the NAACP's work and our five "Game Changer" issue areas
here.

SOURCE NAACP

Website: http://www.naacp.org
 
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