February 06, 2018

FHFA maintains 'narrow' mortgage focus in GSEs final housing goals

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) yesterday issued a final rule containing the 2018-2020 housing goals for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While NAFCU generally supports the goals, it is disappointed that more loan options for low-income families weren't included in the final rule.

The rule establishes single-family and multifamily housing goals to assess the GSEs' performance while under conservatorship.

Commenting on the proposed goals in September, NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Ann Kossachev said focusing the single-family market on purchasing 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages is "too narrow" because it omits alternatives that would better assist very low- and low-income families.

Kossachev recommended the FHFA consider permitting the GSEs to start pilot programs for loans with a zero- or low-down payment and shorter amortization terms to help first-time homebuyers purchase and build equity on a home. One such loan is the Wealth Building Home Loan (WBHL), which is currently offered by more than 20 lenders and three credit unions. However, the final rule does not include such plans.

NAFCU will continue working with the FHFA to allow the GSEs to begin purchasing credit union loans that offer more affordable mortgage options to their members in need.