The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) this week released its fair lending final rule, following up on a proposal made last year in alignment with plans first laid out in 2022 by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The rule “addresses barriers to sustainable housing opportunities for underserved communities by codifying existing FHFA practices in regulation and adding new requirements related to fair lending, fair housing, unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and Equitable Housing Finance Plans,” according to the rule’s entry in the Federal Register.

The final rule codifies FHFA’s fair lending oversight requirements for the GSEs and the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs); the GSEs’ equitable housing finance plans; collections of homeownership education, housing counseling and language-preference information from the Supplemental Consumer Information Form; and new FHLB reporting requirements in the existing regulatory framework.

On Tuesday, several housing groups and trade associations lauded the agency for passing the new rule.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) also expressed support.

“The Equitable Housing Finance Plans are an active step in closing homeownership gaps among demographic groups,” Bryan Greene, NAR’s vice president of policy advocacy, said in a statement. “We applaud the work that FHFA has done to support lenders who create special-purpose credit programs. “This work promotes more fairness and greater soundness in the housing finance system and, ultimately, more homeownership opportunities for more Americans. We look forward to working with FHFA to further support homeownership and narrow the homeownership gaps.”

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