On December 21, 2018, NAR President-Elect Vince Malta testified before the House Financial Services Committee during its hearing, “A Legislative Proposal to Provide for a Sustainable Housing Finance System: The Bipartisan Financing Reform Act of 2018.” Malta, a third-generation REALTOR® and the CEO and broker of Malta & Co., Inc. in San Francisco, CA, commended the Committee for its work toward comprehensive reform of the nation’s housing finance system while outlining NAR’s priorities for a legislative restructuring of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
In his testimony, Mr. Malta outlined NAR’s views of Committee Chairman Jeb Hensnarling’s bill, the Bipartisan Financing Reform Act of 2018. Specifically, Mr. Malta stated NAR’s support for many components within the legislation such as an explicit government guarantee, flexibility given to regulators to set standards in the new mortgage finance system, and the use of a Common Securitization Platform (CSP) as the issuance platform for mortgage-backed securities. These provisions will help build a new housing finance system structure that will be more transparent, while providing a countercyclical mechanism to help ensure mortgage credit is available during periods of economic distress.
While these components are a good foundation for a future housing finance market, Mr. Malta provided suggestions to the Committee that would improve the proposal. Among other things, NAR suggested to include language that would require Ginnie Mae to have a dual mandate to safeguard the secondary mortgage market, but also to ensure for a deep, liquid, affordable, and national mortgage market. Finally, NAR committed to continue to work with Congress and the Administration to create a mortgage market that provides access to affordable mortgage credit for all creditworthy Americans, while ensuring taxpayers are properly protected.