House Financial Services Committee Chairman Introduces GSE Reform Bill
July 11, 2013-House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) introduced a discussion draft of his proposed GSE reform legislation. The legislation would eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in five years and create a new housing finance system funded by the private sector. The executive summary of the bill is available here.
The legislation does not currently include any standards to ensure that a homeowner or lender has legal title before a mortgage is securitized. We are confident that Congress does not want to weaken these commonsense underwriting standards that are required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We will continue to raise this awareness on the Hill.
The proposal also takes the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) current project (the development of a single securitization platform) and spins it off into a separate public utility for securitizing mortgages. This platform would be available to all lenders/issuers on equivalent terms. Mortgages eligible for securitization would need to meet certain standards. Most importantly, the utility would not be able to offer any insurance or guarantee of the payment of principal and interest as the GSEs currently do.
Additionally, the bill recasts the Federal Housing Administration as a GSE, amends pieces of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and sets up a covered bond market.
If Fannie/Freddie are replaced, standards for title insurance must remain in place as a risk-management standard for lenders and consumers.