Press Release


Title: MBA Chairman Robbins Testifies in Support of Reform to Reinvigorate FHA
Source:   MBA
Date: 3/15/2007

WASHINGTON, DC (March 15, 2007) —  John M. Robbins, CMB, Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), testified today before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies.  The topic of the hearing was “Solvency and Reform Proposals for the Federal Housing Authority.”

“MBA strongly supports FHA and believes that it still plays a critical role in today’s marketplace,” said Mr. Robbins.  “Most of FHA’s business is directed toward low and moderate income and minority borrowers – the very strata that is most challenged to be part of the American Dream.  At the same time, we have watched with concern as FHA has steadily lost market share over the past decade, potentially threatening its long-term ability to help underserved borrowers.”

“FHA has an important role to play in the market expanding affordable homeownership opportunities for the underserved and addressing the homeownership gap,” continued Robbins.  “For low and moderate income families, FHA should be the financing considered first because it has the lowest rate and provides the borrower the best opportunity to become a successful homeowner.”

In order to revitalize FHA, Mr. Robbins called on Congress to pass reforms giving FHA the flexibility to offer innovative new products, invest in new technology and manage their human resources.  Robbins also offered several other proposals. 

“MBA supports changes to FHA’s loan limits, including the elimination of the complicated downpayment formula and providing downpayment flexibility.  The downpayment is one of the primary obstacles for first-time, minority and low-income homebuyers.”

“MBA also supports changes to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program.  MBA surveys show that FHA’s HECM product comprises 95 percent of all reverse mortgages and is thus tremendously important for senior homeowners.”   

Robbins’ full testimony can be found at www.mortgagebankers.org.
 

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation's residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters professional excellence among real estate finance employees through a wide range of educational programs and a variety of publications. Its membership of over 2,200 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, Wall Street conduits, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field. For additional information, visit MBA's Web site:   www.mba.org.