Jack Hartings, president and chief executive officer of The Peoples Bank Company in Coldwater, Ohio, and a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) Executive Committee, has testified before the Senate Banking Committee that the secondary mortgage market must be impartial and provide equitable access and pricing to all lenders, regardless of size or lending volume. He also stressed that all originators must have the option to retain servicing after the sale of a loan. Hartings, along with other trade association executives, testified Tuesday at a hearing titled, "Housing Finance Reform: Access to the Secondary Market for Small Financial Institutions."
“Any broad-based recovery of the housing market must involve community bank mortgage lending,” said Hartings in his testimony. “Community bank mortgage lending, which represents about 20 percent of the market, is often concentrated in the rural areas and small towns not effectively served by the large banks—and for many borrowers a community bank loan is the only mortgage option they have.”
Hartings, representing the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) was joined on a panel by Edward Pinto, resident fellow from the American Enterprise Institute; Rod Staatz, president and CEO of SECU on behalf of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA); Christopher R. Dunn, EVP of South Shore Saving Bank on behalf of the American Bankers Association (ABA); and Peter Skillern, executive director of the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (CRA-NC).
“The secondary market allows my bank to meet customer demand for fixed-rate mortgages while managing the interest rate risk these loans carry,” said Hartings. “Having a robust secondary market allows my bank to better serve our customers, and supports our local economy. Community bank loans perform better in all market conditions and contribute to the safety and soundness of the secondary markets. The key to the performance of community bank mortgages is diligent, community-based underwriting and servicing.”