FHFA Names Clinton Jones General Counsel

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is getting a new general counsel for the first time since its creation. FHFA announced Monday that Clinton Jones is the new general counsel, replacing Alfred Pollard, who is retiring in March after serving in the role since 2008. He also was general counsel to the agency’s predecessor, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. “Alfred has served admirably as General Counsel to every FHFA Director. I am grateful for his wise counsel, hard work, and dedication to the Agency,” Director Mark Calabria said. “Clinton’s long-standing career in public service, in-depth legal expertise in housing policy, and executive leadership skills will help bolster FHFA’s work as a world-class prudential regulator.”  Jones has served as a…

What Joe Biden Means For The Mortgage Industry

By Elise Daniel When Vice President Joe Biden entered the White House in 2008, he inherited an economic recession and subprime mortgage crisis in which millions of people lost their homes due to foreclosure. Bank bailouts, stimulus packages, and financial regulation followed. The burning question for lenders in 2021 is: How will President Biden, who’s been around this block before, respond to today’s complex housing market that has been propped up by forbearance and historically low interest rates?  Just hours after swearing in, Biden signed an executive order that pushed back the federal eviction moratorium to the end of March. He’s asked Congress to extend the grace period until the end of September and plans to call on the Federal Housing Finance Agency to extend the foreclosure…

Biden Ups Fed Share Of Emergency Housing Funds

President Joe Biden issued an executive order Thursday that increases the percentage of funding the federal government will provide when emergency officials provide housing to people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The order, issued on Biden’s second day in office, increases the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s share of the costs from 75 percent to 100 percent when providing emergency housing during the pandemic. Previously, states or cities would have to pay whatever the federal government did not cover. The change was recommended by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which had issued a report that said “the resources needed to keep people experiencing homelessness afe during the public health emergency exceed the response capabilities of state and local governments and warrant the full…

Foreclosure Ban Extended Through February

Another month, another extension. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are extending the moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned evictions until February 28.  Originally enacted last year to protect homeowners during the Covid pandemic, the moratorium applies to Fannie and Freddie-backed, single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by Fannie and Freddie through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. “To keep our communities safe, and families in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHFA is extending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium,” Director Mark Calabria said. FHFA projects additional expenses of $1.4 to $2 billion will be borne by Fannie and Freddie…

Biden Appoints Chopra To Head CFPB

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced the appointment of Rohit Chopra as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency he worked at during the Obama Administration. Chopra, currently a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, previously served as associate director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He led the agency’s work on student loans. Rohit Chapra Chopra was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018 for his role at the FTC, “where he has pushed for aggressive remedies against lawbreaking companies, especially repeat offenders,” according to the Biden transition team’s announcement. “Together with state and international law enforcement partners, he has worked to increase scrutiny of dominant technology firms that pose risks to privacy, national security, and…

GSEs To Stay Under Govt Control For Time Being

The Trump Administration announced Thursday that it would not seek to pull Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship before President Trump leaves office next week.  Instead, the Department of Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced amendments to their preferred stock purchase agreements that allows Fannie and Freddie to keep more of their earnings as they continue to work to leave conservatorship. “Today’s agreement that allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to continue retaining earnings is a step in the right direction, but more hard work remains,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said. “Capital at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac protects the housing finance system and taxpayers. Retained earnings alone are insufficient to adequately capitalize the Enterprises. Until…

HUD Official Resigns After Capitol Siege

A high-ranking Department of Housing and Urban Development official announced his resignation on Thursday, a day a mob took over the U.S. Capitol. Hunter Kurtz, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, stepped down on the same day Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced their resignations, among others. “I have informed the Secretary that I will be resigning today at the close of business,” Kurtz wrote in an email to HUD staff. I just want to take a moment and thank you. Being the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing and working with you over the past 18 months has truly been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. During this time, we have…

Business Groups Condemn Siege On Capitol

Business groups – including housing and mortgage organizations – were quick to condemn the mob that overran the Capitol on Wednesday as the Congress was working to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden. Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Bob Broeksmit condemned “the vicious, lawless mob that descended on the U.S. Capitol today and wreaked havoc on our democratic process.” “Their actions were abhorrent and not representative of the ideals and character of America,” Broeksmit said. “The United States’ democracy is the model for the world; those who deliberately undermine or disrespect it, or who fail to protect it, should be ashamed. … MBA looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration and new Congress in the weeks and…

FHFA Seeks Feedback On Appraisal Process

The appraisal process may be headed for a makeover. The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Monday requested input on potential changes to “appraisal-related policies, practices and processes.” FHFA will take the input and decide if changes need to be made to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are operating properly when it comes to appraisals. FHFA is seeking input on: Appraisal modernization.The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) and the design of appraisal forms.Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and appraisal waivers.Valuation differences by borrower and neighborhood ethnic makeup. “Modernizing the appraisal process has the potential to create a more streamlined and accurate collateral valuation process. But if modernization is not properly adopted, it could have negative unintended consequences,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said.…

FHFA Extends Multifamily Forbearance Offer

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are extending forbearance opportunities to qualifying multifamily property owners through the end of March. The multifamily forbearance program, which had been set to expire at the end of this year, allows property owners with Fannie or Freddie-backed mortgages to enter a new or modified forbearance program if they suffer financial hardship to the Covid-19 pandemic. Property owners who enter into a forbearance agreement must: Inform tenants in writing about tenant protections available during the property owner’s forbearance and repayment periods.Agree not to evict tenants solely for the nonpayment of rent while the property is in forbearance.  Additional tenant protections apply during the repayment periods, including: Giving tenants…