Press Release


Title: MBA Chairman Robbins Testifies on Behalf of FHA Reform
Source:   MBA
Date: 4/19/2007

WASHINGTON, DC (April 19, 2007) —  John M. Robbins, CMB, Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) testified today before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.  The hearing was titled, “The Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007: H.R. 1852 and Related FHA Modernization Issues.”

Robbins issued the following statement:

“MBA strongly supports the FHA and believes that it still plays a critical role in today’s marketplace.  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 growing concern as FHA has steadily lost market share over the past decade, potentially threatening its long-term ability to help underserved borrowers.  As the market continues to evolve around FHA, the great fear is that many aspiring homeowners will either be left behind or forced into higher-cost alternatives.

MBA applauds the introduction of FHA reform bills:  H.R. 1852 and H.R. 1752, and starting the reform effort early in the 110th Congress.  MBA strongly supports changes to FHA’s single-family and multifamily loan limits, and downpayment flexibility and requirements, including the elimination of the complicated downpayment formula.

FHA has an important role to play in the market in expanding affordable homeownership opportunities for the underserved and addressing the homeownership gap.  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.

Recent unrest in the mortgage industry has led to a number of lenders either significantly tightening underwriting standards or leaving the business altogether. MBA believes the individuals who will be most directly impacted by these events are the consumers that FHA was created to serve: first-time homebuyers, low-income families, and those with less than perfect credit histories. Congress can empower FHA with the authority it needs to provide these consumers with affordable, viable lending options needed to help them achieve and maintain homeownership.

I urge Congress to enact legislation to reform FHA to increase its availability to homebuyers, promote consumer choice, and ensure its ability to continue serving American families.   MBA stands ready to work with you on this important issue.” 

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.