On November 14, 2018, NAR legislative staff met with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to discuss his recent housing finance reform discussion draft called the “Bipartisan Housing Finance Reform Act of 2018,” which is cosponsored by Rep. John Delaney (D-MD).
The proposal directs Ginnie Mae to guarantee mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that are backed by loans with various credit enhancements. In addition to borrowers having more skin in the game, additional credit enhancements must come from Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)-approved private credit enhancers (PCEs). Once appropriate credit enhancements have been made, Ginnie Mae-approved issuers will then be allowed to issue government-backed securities through its platform.
NAR supports many components of the legislation such as an explicit government guarantee, flexibility given to regulators to set standards in the new mortgage finance system, and the use of a Common Securitization Platform (CSP) as the issuance platform for mortgage-backed securities. These provisions will help build a new housing finance system structure that will be more transparent, while providing a countercyclical mechanism to help ensure mortgage credit is available during periods of economic distress.
While these components are a good foundation for a future housing finance market, NAR provided suggestions to the Chairman that would improve the proposal. Among other things, NAR suggested to include language that would require Ginnie Mae to have a dual mandate to safeguard the secondary mortgage market, but also to ensure for a deep, liquid, affordable, and national mortgage market. Finally, NAR committed to continue to work with the Chairman to create a mortgage market that provides access to affordable mortgage credit for all creditworthy Americans, while ensuring taxpayers are properly protected.