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Massachusetts industry appointments update - 7/5/2007

Jul 04, 2007

NAMB backs passage of secondary market reform measureMortgagePress.comgovernment-sponsored enterprises, House Financial Services Committee, Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007 The National Association of Mortgage Brokers applauded passage of legislation by the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) that improves access to key assistance programs for homebuyers in high-cost areas. The bill would also reform the oversight procedures for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bill, HR 1427, was introduced by HFSC Chairman Barney Frank and approved by a 45-19 vote. Next, the bill will move to the House floor for consideration by the entire chamber. In a letter to the leadership of the HFSC, NAMB President Harry Dinham, CMC praised provisions of the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007 that would ensure the GSEs' ability to perform their missions while creating parameters for the secondary mortgage market to operate safely and efficiently. Additionally, HR 1427 would create a new independent regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and utilize a percentage of the companies' investment portfolios to fund affordable housing initiatives with an estimated $500 million annually. The new regulator would be granted broad oversight authority that would focus on safety, soundness and mission considerations. NAMB believes in a strong regulatory structure aimed at protecting the safety and soundness of the GSEs, and NAMB supports HR 1427 to the extent that the bill furthers these objectives. NAMB is also encouraged by the bill's preservation of unfettered mortgage broker access to the GSEs' automated underwriting systems. "Passage of this bill will advance the process of establishing a strong, even-handed regulatory framework for the housing GSEs," said Dinham. "NAMB supports GSE regulatory reform efforts because they allow the entities to focus on their housing mission for the benefit of all homeowners." The legislation includes provisions to set regional conforming loan limits at levels that are better designed to assist would-be homebuyers in high-cost areas. Homebuyers in these areas are currently penalized by not having access to assistance and benefits from GSEs because the median cost of housing in their areas is higher than the current conforming loan limit. "Increasing conforming loan limits in high-cost areas is an essential component to this legislation," said Dinham. "Those who choose to live and work in high-cost areas should not be victimized by the very systems intended to help them." NAMB will be closely monitoring HR 1427 as it moves to the House floor for debate. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is expected to take up its own process on GSE reform later this year. For more information, visit www.namb.org.
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