Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

June 26, 2017

FHFA’s Asks from Congress

By David Reiss

photo by Jehmsei

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its 2016 report to Congress. Of particular note are its legislative recommendations. The first is one that I and every other housing policy analyst has been saying for years. The second two are very technical, but also very important to the long term health of the mortgage market.

Housing Finance Reform

The Enterprises have been in conservatorships since September 2008. These conservatorships are unprecedented in duration and scope. While a number of important reforms have been made to the Enterprises during conservatorship, FHFA continues to believe that conservatorship is not sustainable and that Congress needs to undertake the important work of housing finance reform.

Barriers to Investor Participation in Credit Risk Transfer Transactions

Under FHFA’s annual conservatorship scorecards, the Enterprises are working to transfer to the private sector a substantial amount of the credit risk they assume in targeted loan acquisitions. This credit risk transfer market is relatively new and evolving and relies on ongoing investor interest and ability to purchase the credit risk. FHFA has previously identified several statutory impediments which, if addressed, could avoid unintended consequences for some types of investors and thus help to expand investor participation in Enterprise credit risk transfer transactions. FHFA continues to believe that these statutory impediments should be removed.

Examination of Regulated Entity

Counterparties FHFA’s regulated entities contract with third parties to provide critical services supporting the secondary mortgage market, including nonbank mortgage servicers for the Enterprises. While oversight of these counterparties is important to safety and soundness of FHFA’s regulated entities, it is currently exercised only through contractual provisions where possible. In contrast, other federal safety and soundness regulators have statutory authority to examine companies that provide services to depository institutions through the Bank Service Company Act. The Government Accountability Office has recommended granting FHFA the authority to examine third parties that do business with the Enterprises.37 The Financial Stability Oversight Council also made a similar recommendation in its 2016 Annual Report. FHFA concurs with these recommendations.  (63)

| Permalink