CHLA: FHFA Updated Seller Standards Could Have “Negative Real-World Consequences”

The Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) commenting on its proposed increases in financial requirements for Fannie and Freddie. In February, the FHFA proposed updated standards that mortgage lenders would have to meet in order to sell loans to or service loans on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The standards were set in 2015 and have remained with little modification since then. The update is meant to strengthen required capital and liquidity for seller/servicers with different business models, as well as provide for more transparency and consistency, “by incorporating cost and risk assumptions that were not previously considered and re-evaluating modeling assumptions and inputs, given changes in the servicing…

Opinion: Black Mortgage Denials Are Increasing. We Need Tech-Based Solutions To Reverse The Trend

By KEVIN B. KIMBLE Editor’s Note: This article was written by a contributor and contains the individual’s views, opinions, or personal experiences. The Biden administration recently unveiled an action plan to address racial bias in home appraisals and other areas of the American housing system.  As new research from Zillow shows, this couldn’t come at a better time. Zillow found that there is a widening mortgage approval gap along racial lines.  Specifically, Black applicants are denied a mortgage at a rate 84 percent higher than white applicants.  This figure has been worsening, representing an increase of 10 percentage points since 2019.  The approval disparity has contributed to declining Black homeownership, a crucial aspect of wealth building.  The negative trend in Black mortgage denials is…

Foreclosure Suspended For Homeowners Seeking Relief, FHA Says

Homeowners facing foreclosure can now stall proceedings while waiting to receive federal aid.  The Federal Housing Agency (FHA) announced that Freddie Mac and Fannie will require servicers to suspend foreclosure activities for up to 60 days if the servicer has been informed that the borrower applied for assistance through the Homeowner Assistance Fund. “FHFA is committed to sustainable homeownership. Today’s action will provide borrowers who need temporary mortgage assistance with additional time to be evaluated for relief through their state’s approved Homeownership Assistance Fund,” said FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson.  The move is meant to help homeowners on the brink of foreclosure who may still be struggling to make on-time payments. The HAF provides up to $9.96 billion for…

$3.3 Million In Funding Available To Combat COVID-19 Housing Discrimination

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are making an additional $3,285,353 in American Rescue Plan funding available to help fight housing discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made on Tuesday and according to a press release, this is the third round of American Rescue Plan funding that targets COVID-19 related discrimination. About $16.1 million in funding has been awarded to 62 HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agencies to address the impact the pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations. Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal…

Disability Discrimination Alleged In Hawaii

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice are claiming that condominiums and apartment complexes in Hawaii were built without accessible features required by the Fair Housing Act. The federal act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, sex, familial status, and national origin. An amended complaint was filed Monday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Two of the five properties cited were built with financial assistance from the federal government’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. They are Kahului Town Terrace, in Kahului, Maui, and Palehua Terrace, in Kapolei, Oahu.  The other three properties are Napilihau Villages and Napili Villas, in Lahaina, Maui, as well as Wailea Fairway Villas,…

CHLA Says FHA Should Cut Premiums, End Life Of Loan

In its budget proposal this week, the Biden Administration allotted a 34% budget increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development of $11.6 billion over the fiscal year of 2022. This proposed budget includes $32 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and almost $2 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership, aimed at affordable housing strategies. The industry has so far applauded the budget for its investments in housing as affordability dwindles and many Americans struggle to find housing within their budget. “A president’s budget is a wish list of policy goals and ambitions,” Shannon McGahn, the National Association of Realtor’s chief advocacy officer, said. “Many changes will be made to this plan, but it is good news that…

Biden-Harris Tackle Equity In Lending And Appraisals

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Vice President Kamala Harris joined officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday to announce the delivery of a plan designed to dismantle racial bias in the home lending and appraisal process. The Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) Action Plan submitted to President Joe Biden will, when enacted, represent the most wide-ranging set of reforms ever put forward to advance equity in the home appraisal process, according to a press release. During her speech, Harris described how a home ensures future financial security and peace of mind for families. “Imagine a young couple that saves enough money to put a down payment on a home. The day they…

Race-Based Lending: The Right Way to Promote Social Justice?

By JARED WHITLEY The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) has announced a lending program for minority-owned businesses it calls “Economic Justice Loans,” with the stated goal of helping historically underserved populations build generational wealth. The political-progressive organization’s action raises the question of whether people of color are still being denied access to credit in 2022. “This lending model provides the foundation for hundreds of millions of dollars in additional lending,” NACA’s founder and CEO Bruce Marks said in a press release. “We have learned that if you build it, they will come. NACA’s Best in America Mortgage targeting underserved communities started with a few million dollars in commitments and now has over $20 billion. We expect the same outcome with extraordinary terms…

Analysts React To Fed Rate Hike

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 on Wednesday in an effort to combat rising inflation, and economists have mixed feelings about its impact on the housing market. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.8% in February, up 7.9% over the last year, to its highest rate in 40 years. As Americans spend more on less, the impact is becoming apparent. Retail sales rose 0.3% in February, a slowdown in the pace of spending that suggested inflation was taking its toll on American consumers. But while rising prices for gas and groceries may burden American households, it’s things like health insurance and housing that are the “silent killers,” according to Justin Wolfers, University of Michigan professor…

Fed’s Bowman Suggests Half-Point Rate Hike In March

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said the Fed could hike rates by half a percentage point in March, suggesting the move is necessary to fight inflation. Inflation is currently at a four-decade high, with the Consumer Price Index up 7.5% year-over-year in January 2022. “The nation is dealing with inflation at its highest level in decades, much of it driven by corporate greed and anticompetitive behavior, and the federal government must use every tool available to prevent price gouging and reduce prices for Americans,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice, asking it to take action against companies violating antitrust laws to hike prices for consumers.  Bowman said Monday that inflation is “much too high” and suggested…