MReport August 2019

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58 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT A Step Towards Sustainability The House Financial Services Committee has passed eight bills, including one for NFIP reform. T he House Financial Services Committee unanimously approved a markup of eight bills aimed to make homeownership more affordable and sustainable. This included two bills to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The two approved bills were H.R. 3111, "The National Flood Insurance Program Administration Reform Act of 2019;" and H.R. 3167, "The Nation Flood Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2019." H.R. 3111 would bring improve- ments to the NFIP appeals process, accountability, and transparency of the claims process. H.R. 3167 would reauthorize the NFIP for five years and includes numerous reforms to increase affordability, mapping, and modernization. Rep. Maxine Water, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the bill to reauthorize the NFIP, which eventually passed by a bipartisan vote of 59-0. "The National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) and its thousands of members are very proud this morning of Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry for their tireless work spearheading a long-term solution that protects millions of Americans," NAMB Board President Rick Bettencourt said. "This extension of the NFIP positively impacts many critical levels of the mortgage indus- try, and our entire body stands by this bipartisan legislation that will improve how our industry can and will do business." At a recent National Flood Conference, Waters discussed the benefits of the NFIP, stating that the program was "at risk." "The NFIP makes flood insurance available to millions of homeowners, renters, and business owners and also helps those poli- cyholders to reduce their risk by providing flood mapping, flood- plain management, and mitigation services," she said. "These activities help local communities and indi- viduals prepare for the financial impact of flooding, whether it is caused by heavy rainfall that af- fects families living in the Midwest or life-threatening storms that pummel the millions of homes and businesses along the coasts." The NFIP received a last-minute extension on May 31, just hours be- fore it was set to expire. Two prior attempts to extend the program failed, the Senate had approved two bills to extend the program: the first is part of the disaster relief legislative package that would ex- tend the NFIP through September 30, and the second would provide a two-week extension. Calabria: "An Urgent Need for Congress to Act" In its latest annual report to Congress, the FHFA made a case for the importance of housing finance reform. T he Federal Housing Fi- nance Agency (FHFA) released its 2018 annual Report to Congress, meeting the requirements of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992. The report included commentary from FHFA Direc- tor Mark Calabria, encouraging Congress to act on housing fi- nance reform while also request- ing chartering authority similar to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "There is an urgent need for Congress to act on housing finance reform," Calabria said. "To promote competition in the marketplace, I encourage Congress to authorize additional competitors and provide FHFA the same powers as other federal financial regulators." Calabria also spoke on the GSEs, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, noting the need to put an end to conservatorship. "The Enterprise conserva- torships were established as a short-term measure to address instability and ensure market function during the financial crisis," Calabria noted. "They are now of unprecedented duration and scope and leave the mortgage market, and American taxpay- ers, vulnerable to another market downturn. FHFA will set an am- bitious agenda that ensures that the mortgage market and FHFA's regulated entities do not return to pre-financial crisis business models." Calabria had previously dis- cussed his desire to take the GSEs out of conservatorship, and in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, stat- ed that he wants to put the now-prof- itable GSEs back into private hands, something that has been tried and failed by lawmakers in the past. "I see my goal as setting a path to end the con- servatorship" for the companies he said, adding, "they have to be stronger, healthier companies" compared to before the 2008 housing crisis. "My objective is to get us to a spot where we don't have to worry about the system blow- ing itself up," Calabria said. The FHFA's report includes several recommendations to Congress, in- cluding acting on housing finance reform, increasing competition, and strengthening the FHFA's regulatory powers. "To promote competition in the marketplace, I encourage Congress to authorize additional competitors and provide FHFA the same powers as other federal financial regulators." —Mark Calabria, FHFA Director

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