September 18, 2019

In This Issue:

  • Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Trump Administration’s Housing Finance Reform Plans
  • ICYMI: New TDI Rules for All Texas Licensed Escrow Officers and Title Agents
  • Calabria: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Won’t Privatize Until 2020’s End or Later
  • Flood Insurance Extension Likely, But Reforms Elusive

Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Trump Administration’s Housing Finance Reform Plans

JDSupra | Sept. 12, 2019
The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on Sept. 10 on the Trump administration’s housing finance reform plans. U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria testified.

Treasury’s Housing Reform Plan and HUD’s Housing Finance Reform Plan, released on Sept. 5 and produced in response to a presidential memo dated March 27, 2019, are both designed to reduce the federal government’s footprint in housing finance, increase the role of the private sector and private capital in the market and, eventually, end the GSE (government-sponsored enterprise) conservatorships and return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private shareholder ownership. The plans contemplate enhanced lending standards for the GSEs and an explicit federal guarantee backstopping those mortgages that the GSEs will support.
 
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ICYMI: New TDI Rules for All Texas Licensed Escrow Officers and Title Agents

License Renewal Grace Period Is Ending – Be Prepared

TLTA | Sept. 17, 2019
In December TDI Commissioner Sullivan adopted new title licensing rules to implement statutory changes recently made by the Texas Legislature. The changes officially went into effect March 7, 2019; however, TDI implemented a six-month grace period before any license renewals were due. Renewals will begin this fall and will be staggered over the coming year based on the escrow officer's birth month.
 
What You Need to Know and Preparing for the Changes »


Calabria: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Won’t Privatize Until 2020’s End or Later

HousingWire | Sept. 17, 2019
The federal regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said the nation’s largest mortgage financiers won’t be privatized until the end of 2020 at the earliest.

“It really depends on how quickly they raise capital,” said Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria in a Tuesday interview on Bloomberg TV. “What we want to be able to do, essentially, is to some extent put their destiny back in their hands. They’re going to be responsible for building capital, they’re going to be responsible for hitting goalposts.”
 
Of course, they don’t have a chance of hitting the goalposts until they’re allowed to retain their earnings and build up capital. Since 2013, the companies have been required to send almost all their profits to the government in a so-called “net-worth sweep.” Calabria said he remains on track to reach an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin within the next two weeks to end the sweep.

“We’ve not settled on a final number, but we’re in the neighborhood and we’re close, and I’m very hopeful that will get done by the end of the month,” Calabria said.

Calabria said he doesn’t plan major changes to the types of loans Fannie and Freddie can buy from lenders once they are private companies. He said he sees “some very modest reductions in risk.”
 
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Flood Insurance Extension Likely, But Reforms Elusive

Realtor Magazine | Sept. 16, 2019
Congress is expected to extend the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires Sept. 30, but less clear is when Congress will turn to meaningful program reforms the National Association of REALTORS® and other housing groups have advocated for years.
Outdated federal flood maps—some of which haven’t been updated in more than 40 years, housing experts warn—may be influencing homeowners not to seek proper flood insurance if they falsely believe they don’t live in a high-risk floodplain. NAR has long called on reforming the maps, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses to assess flood risk and crisis response.

Insurance premiums are also failing to reflect the true risk to properties, NFIP CEO David Maurstad told the McClatchy Company in a recent article. “We’ve been working to make sure people understand right now that not enough people have the flood insurance they need—not only after big events like Dorian,” Maurstad says. “Too many people are in denial about their flood risk.”
 
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