February 09, 2023

NAFCU reiterates CUs’ housing finance priorities ahead of hearing

US Capitol buildingThe Senate Banking Committee meets today to discuss the state of the housing industry. Ahead of the hearing, set to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler reiterated the association’s housing finance reform principles.

As a leader in housing finance reform efforts, NAFCU advocates for credit unions' ability to help provide safe, sustainable, and equitable housing for all communities. Thaler, in the letter sent to the committee Wednesday, stressed the need to protect credit unions’ access to the secondary market, especially as efforts are underway to release the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) from conservatorship.

“Congress should prioritize advancing legislation that provides fair pricing based on quality and not quantity as well as a level playing field that permits equal access to lenders of all sizes through services such as the cash window,” Thaler wrote. “Without such legislative protections, credit unions’ access to the secondary market and ability to lend to more members of their communities, particularly those individuals of low and moderate income, may be in jeopardy in reforms.

Thaler also called on lawmakers to support a proposal to establish “an explicit government guarantee to provide certainty to the market.”

“Such a guarantee is a key part of the foundation of any successful future housing finance system and should help ensure the continued availability of the 30-year fixed mortgage rate,” he said.

Thaler provided additional context to the important role of GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – and the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system in supporting credit unions’ participation in the mortgage market and ways to strengthen those entities. He also called on Congress to support programs for low- or zero-down payment mortgage loans, as well as the Wealth Building Home Loan, “that help borrowers build wealth and make housing more affordable.”

NAFCU will continue to work with Congress, the Federal Housing Finance Administration, and other stakeholders to ensure credit union housing finance priorities are addressed.

Relatedly, the NCUA is hosting a webinar with the Government National Mortgage Association Feb. 22 on Ginnie Mae basics. Ginnie Mae is separate from the GSEs. Register for the free webinar here.