November 04, 2013

NAFCU presses CUs' access to secondary mortgage market

NAFCU witness John Harwell of Apple FCU will testify before the Senate Banking Committee today on the need for credit unions to have continued, unfettered access to the secondary mortgage market under any reform of the housing finance system.

Harwell is the associate vice president of risk management at Apple FCU in Fairfax, Va. In prepared testimony for today's hearing, "Housing Finance Reform: "Protecting Small Lender Access to the Secondary Mortgage Market," he urges lawmakers to support a government guarantee on the payment of principal and interest on mortgage-backed securities and to ensure secondary market access for credit unions. He also urges that any reform ensure fair pricing based on the quality of loan underwriting, not volume.

"NAFCU believes a healthy, sustainable and viable secondary mortgage market must be maintained," he says."In addition, in order to achieve a healthy, sustainable and viable secondary market, NAFCU believes there must be healthy competition among and between market participants in every aspect of the secondary market."

Harwell's testimony outlines key areas of the debate for credit unions as the Senate Banking Committee continues to review reform options:

  • an explicit government guarantee on mortgage-backed securities;
  • fair pricing and fee structures that reward loan quality;
  • assurance of market feasibility of a mutual securitization company should such an entity be adopted in statute;
  • flexible underwriting standards that will allow credit unions to best serve their members; and
  • adequate transition time to a new housing finance model.

Harwell also applauds committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, for their bipartisan work on housing finance reform. He also recognized the work of Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., for laying the foundation for housing finance reform with the introduction of S. 1217, the "Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013."