NAR Pushes for Bipartisan Congressional Action as GSE Reform Conversations Intensify

WASHINGTON (March 27, 2019) – The National Association of Realtors® continued its push to drive Government Sponsored Entity reform as President-Elect Vince Malta testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday morning. The hearing comes after Chairman Mike Crapo unveiled an outline for GSE reform legislation on February 1. Realtors® have been encouraged by intensifying housing finance conversations on Capitol Hill, particularly as the group urges Congress to drive reforms.

"Bipartisan congressional action on GSE reform is the only way to secure an explicit government guarantee, which is a critical component of a robust U.S. housing market," Malta, a 43-year veteran of the real estate industry, said in his testimony to the committee. "To this end, Realtors® welcome and applaud Chairman Crapo's proactive efforts to initiate these conversations on Capitol Hill."

Malta, the CEO and broker of Malta & Co. in San Francisco, California, was joined by the leaders of several key industry groups with which NAR works to further responsible reforms, including the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. Mortgage Insurers and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, among others.

At its GSE Reform Policy Forum earlier this year, NAR proposed its own comprehensive vision for housing finance reform , which Malta highlighted during his testimony. The plan focuses on leveraging successful reforms and innovations implemented since the financial crisis. These efforts are specifically designed to promote competition in the secondary market; preserve the 30-year fixed rate mortgage; minimize costs to consumers; maximize access for creditworthy borrowers; and, most importantly, protect U.S. taxpayers.

"Like NAR's vision, the Chairman's outline emphasizes an explicit government guarantee, regulatory flexibility and strong, reasonable regulatory authority, demonstrating a genuine commitment to ensuring a future housing finance system that is both safe and vibrant," Malta said Wednesday. "These elements should be the backbone of any comprehensive housing finance reform."

Over 400 people attended NAR's GSE Reform Policy Forum in Washington last month. The group continues to lead the industry in urging Congress and the administration to emphasize the key objectives of our housing finance system – providing a liquid, national mortgage market that is resilient to stress and supports the homeownership needs of middle-class Americans.

"We know that middle-class homeowners throughout the country all benefit from this foundational mission of the Enterprises," Malta told the committee. "Today, homebuyers in Springfield, Missouri and Springfield, Massachusetts have equal access to a mortgage and pay nearly identical rates. No responsible and creditworthy American should pay more for a mortgage – or worse, be unable to secure one at all – simply because of where they live."

The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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