Calabria Sworn in as FHFA Director, CUNA Shares Housing Finance Priorities

CUNA wrote to newly sworn-in Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria Tuesday. Calabria, confirmed by the Senate April 4, will serve a five-year term as the head of FHFA.

“As the momentum once again swings toward completing housing finance reform, your leadership will be crucial on this and other important issues under the agency’s purview,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We are excited by your appointment and the opportunity that it presents to ensure a sound, well-functioning secondary market for the conventional, thirty-year, fixed-rate, government-backed mortgage loans that credit unions’ members both need and expect.”

CUNA shared its principles for housing finance reform, which include:

  • Equal access to lenders of all sizes;
  • Access to predictable, affordable mortgage payments for qualified consumers;
  • A Reasonable and Orderly Transition to any new housing finance system;
  • Strong oversight and supervision of secondary market entities;
  • An explicit federally insured or guaranteed component to ensure that the secondary mortgage market continues to exist; and
  • The housing finance system should preserve the things that work, which includes:
  • Cost-effective and member-oriented credit union mortgage servicing options;
  • Emphasizing consumer education and home-purchase counseling; and
  • Applying reasonable conforming loan limits that adequately consider local real estate expenses in higher cost areas.

CUNA’s letter also points out to Calabria CUNA’s concerns with FHFA’s pending proposal on Federal Home Loan Banks’ Affordable Housing Goals. CUNA is concerned that comments accompanying the proposed regulation appear to specifically exclude credit unions from being eligible to participate in the newly created smaller member participation requirement.

The letter also reiterates CUNA’s call for the FHFA’s continued coordination with other federal regulatory agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.