In August of 2020, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac instituted an “adverse market re-financing fee” of 0.5% on certain mortgage refinancing. This misguided action has received bipartisan condemnation from both Congress and the Senate. NAFCU led advocacy efforts through letters to both Congress and the Administration stressing the negative impacts this move would have.
NAFCU is engaged with both lawmakers and the Trump administration to discover the best path forward on housing finance reform. NAFCU has urged the Trump administration and Congress to work together on a comprehensive solution. Congress has considered the issued at length, but viable legislation has yet to emerge. As Congress considers legislation to reform the housing finance system, NAFCU has shared the credit union perspective through letters, meetings, and testimony before Congressional committees. NAFCU has also led advocacy efforts to inform the administration and relevant government agencies on credit union concerns.
- Responding to FHFA’s relief efforts for borrowers affected by Coronavirus in April 2020, NAFCU asked the FHFA to provide assistance to credit unions with large monthly payments on nonperforming loans sold and protect credit unions from the secondary impacts of liquidity issues brought on by the crisis.
- In March 2020, NAFCU joined with 32 other trade organizations asking Congress to "refrain from utilizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee fees as a source of funding offsets for programs unrelated to housing.
- In November 2019, the FHFA announced that it will re-propose its rule to set capital requirements for the GSEs. In response, NAFCU reiterated the need for legislative action.
- In October 2019, the FHFA announced a strategic plan for how the agency will prepare the GSEs to be released from conservatorship
- In September 2019, the White House released the Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) plan to reform the GSEs, which proposes removing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from federal control. Treasury and the FHFA subsequently announced that the GSEs will be allowed to retain more than their current $3 billion in capital: $25 billion for Fannie Mae and $20 billion for Freddie Mac. NAFCU offered general support but called for legislative solutions to ensure safeguards in housing finance reform
- FHFA’s Report to Congress was released in June 2019 and included a number of NAFCU’s housing finance reform principles, such as providing equal access to lenders of all sizes and allowing the GSEs to rebuild capital. Following the report’s release, NAFCU met with Calabria and he reiterated the need to ensure equal access and fair pricing for lenders of all sizes.
- In April 2019, Dr. Mark Calabria was sworn in as director of the FHFA; in prepared remarks, Calabria indicated that the FHFA would work with the Trump administration on the issues outlined in the presidential memorandum.
- In the spring of 2019, NAFCU met with the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to discuss issues related to the housing market, including credit union access to the GSEs.
- In March 2019, President Trump issued a presidential memorandum initiating reforms to the housing finance system. The primary goals of the memo are “promoting competition and protecting taxpayers” and “helping people achieve the American Dream,” and the memo directs Treasury and HUD to take specific steps.
- In February 2019, Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) released a housing finance reform outline and included some provisions that align with NAFCU’s position on reform. Although the administration has indicated that it will work with Congress to reform the housing finance system, it has also indicated a desire to move more swiftly with administrative reforms.
With the status of housing finance reform unclear in 2020, NAFCU will continue to work with Congress, the administration and federal agencies to achieve a sustainable solution that works for credit unions. NAFCU will also continue to engage in active discussions with other trade associations to build consensus in the financial services industry regarding the proper approach to housing finance reform.