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Friday, February 11, 2011 11:50 AM

Fannie Freddie Plan Must Not Lock Working Families Out Of Homes

Washington, DC -- The following is a statement from John Taylor, President & CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), on the Administration's plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

"The only measure for the success of this plan is whether or not all creditworthy borrowers have the opportunity to purchase a home. If working class families are locked out of homeownership, and we end up with a housing finance system that serves only the well-heeled, then we will have failed miserably.

"Historically, working class people have had access to private sector capital in order to purchase a home, with guarantees by the government to ensure affordability. The Administration's plan, by emphasis and omission, suggests that this country's commitment to ensuring homeownership for working families will be lessened.

"Allowing the market to wash its hands of serving lower income people would be detrimental to the economic well-being of communities. If the government becomes the sole provider of housing finance to lower income communities, we will have created a dual marketplace. Separate is not equal, and I fear that this will beckon the return of redlining and discrimination by private financial institutions.

"As with any major plan, the devil is in the details. The plan contains some measures that would target the government's involvement in the mortgage market, cutting out effective subsidies for wealthier individuals by limiting loan sizes, targeting guarantees and other incentives. But we need to see more explicit mechanisms to ensure that the private market has a duty to ensure that creditworthy working and blue-collar people have access to capital, otherwise this plan is not viable.

"The plan presents a range of options; all will have a major impact on the system of housing finance as we know it. Options #1 and #2 would dramatically reduce credit availability for working families. Option #3 shows promise, but the impact on working class communities will be determined by what range of mortgage securities receive a guarantee backed by the government.

"If Congress and the Administration successfully tailor the guarantee to mortgage securities that meet the capital needs of low- and moderate-income and rural communities, then that would keep the private sector in the business of ensuring access to capital in these communities.

"There is universal agreement with the principle that people who cannot afford homeownership shouldn't be put in an unsustainable loan. However, the Administration's proposal may be overly narrowing the window of opportunity for many blue collar and low- and moderate-income people from realizing their dream of homeownership. We appreciate the Administration's efforts to address the critical need for expanded affordable rental housing.

 

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.

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