Realtors® 2020 President Testifies Before Financial Services Committee on GSE Reform

Malta tells House Panel "thoughtful reform" of secondary mortgage market needed to protect taxpayers

WASHINGTON (December 21, 2018) — This morning, National Association of Realtors® President-Elect Vince Malta testified before the House Financial Services Committee during its hearing, “A Legislative Proposal to Provide for a Sustainable Housing Finance System: The Bipartisan Financing Reform Act of 2018.” Malta, a third-generation Realtor® and the CEO and broker of Malta & Co., Inc. in San Francisco, CA, commended the Committee for its work toward comprehensive reform of the nation’s housing finance system while outlining NAR’s priorities for a legislative restructuring of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

In his testimony, Malta outlined NAR’s positions on the three main components of Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s bill, the Bipartisan Financing Reform Act of 2018.

“NAR believes the discussion draft contains many provisions that should serve as the backbone for comprehensive housing finance reform. These components include an explicit government guarantee, regulatory flexibility and strong and reasonable regulatory authority,” said Malta, who has over 43 years of experience in the real estate industry. “However, as the discussion draft evolves, the proposal can be improved to further ensure a reliable and affordable source of mortgage capital is readily available for responsible creditworthy Americans in all types of markets.

“Above all else, NAR firmly believes that comprehensive housing finance reform must be done in a bipartisan manner.”

2020 NAR President Vince Malta shaking hands with Congressman Jeb Hensarling

© National Association of REALTORS®

2020 NAR President Vince Malta shaking hands with Congressman Jeb Hensarling at the Financial Services Committee hearing on GSE reform

Along with Malta, representatives from the National Association of Home Builders, Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions were invited to participate in the Financial Service Committee hearing.

“The National Association of Realtors® commends Chairman Hensarling for his hard work in the effort to reform America’s housing finance system,” said NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Shannon McGahn. “Specifically, we strongly support this proposal’s language to provide an explicit government guarantee for mortgage-backed securities, which will provide countercyclical protections and pricing benefits to American consumers. Most importantly, any reforms must provide liquidity and promote stability in the national housing market, particularly during times of economic distress.”

Despite structural and fundamental improvements to the housing industry since the financial crisis, NAR has argued that the current conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac needs to be reexamined. Realtors® also have held that policymakers must address the mounting challenges facing the secondary mortgage market, which could have a severe impact on taxpayers and on Americans’ ability to access affordable mortgage credit.

In order to minimize the effects of these threats, NAR has been urging Congress to enact comprehensive housing finance reform legislation, which will be the focus of NAR’s Policy Forum on February 7, 2019, in Washington D.C. Industry experts, academics, and policymakers will all speak at the event as NAR continues to lead discussions on opportunities facing the housing finance system and offer sensible reforms for the future.

“While the housing market has generally improved since the financial crisis, there remains a need for policymakers to address challenges that may arise in another economic downturn,” Malta said today. “NAR urges lawmakers to pass comprehensive housing finance reform. Thoughtful reform of the secondary mortgage market will not only safeguard the interests of taxpayers, but also ensure for a deep and affordable mortgage market for all creditworthy Americans,” Malta concluded.

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