USMI Statement on the Administration’s Housing Finance Reform Reports

WASHINGTON Lindsey Johnson, President of U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI), today issued the following statement on the Administration’s Housing Finance Reform reports to address the nation’s housing finance system, including the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“USMI applauds the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for releasing their comprehensive Housing Reform Plan and Housing Finance Reform Plan (“Plans”) that together outline needed reforms to the housing finance system.  While USMI looks forward to reviewing the Plans in greater detail, we particularly appreciate Treasury and HUD identifying specific areas where the Administration can focus its efforts to put the housing finance system on a more sustainable path ahead of comprehensive legislative reform.
“While Congress ultimately needs to address the underlying structural challenges of the GSEs, the Administration’s proposal to reduce taxpayer risk exposure and address the areas of misaligned incentives of the GSEs while increasing transparency and market discipline could be the catalyst to break the legislative logjam and enable policymakers to enact comprehensive reforms.  Many of the actions proposed by the Administration’s Plans align with USMI’s principles for Administrative Reform, including our position that these actions could further reduce taxpayer risk by increasing private capital within the financial system, level the playing field between the GSEs and private market participants, provide greater transparency regarding GSE pricing and practices, and ensure that consumers have access to affordable and sustainable mortgage finance credit.
“Further, the Plans call for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and HUD to develop and implement a specific understanding as to the appropriate roles and overlap between the GSEs and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  USMI has long called for a consistent housing policy across different agencies and for greater coordination between the government-backed FHA market and the conventional market, and we look forward to working with the Administration as it seeks to define these important roles. 
“USMI is encouraged by the thoughtful and comprehensive Plans released today by the Administration and looks forward to working with the Administration to promote private capital ahead of taxpayer risk, instill greater transparency and market discipline within the housing finance system, and ensure Americans continue to have access to safe and affordable mortgage finance options.”
Last fall, USMI released a white paper on administrative reform (available for download here) that outlined 11 key recommendations for policymakers to consider when contemplating the future of housing finance. A PDF of these recommendations can be downloaded here.


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