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FHFA nominee pledges to address racial homeownership gap

Caitlin Reilly, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Business News

“Qualified borrowers ought to be able to if they can afford a home mortgage. One of the things that’s taking place at Fannie Mae in particular is many potential homeowners are now renters,” Thompson said. “One of the things that a traditional credit score does not take into consideration would be rent payments.”

The new parameters will allow rent payments to be “taken into consideration in a positive way to help improve the credit scoring process,” Thompson said.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., the ranking member, criticized the Biden administration’s tactics to promote homeownership among Black and minority communities, saying it amounted to “affirmative action” on housing.

“I’m concerned the administration is seeking to use FHFA and the GSEs to take on more risk for taxpayers and expand affirmative action into housing,” Toomey said. “That makes Ms. Thompson’s nomination—notwithstanding her extensive experience — a referendum on the administration’s radical housing policy.”

Republicans also pressed Thompson on the pathway to releasing the GSEs from conservatorship, a long-time policy priority for the party. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under conservatorship in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

 

In response to a question from Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Thompson said FHFA would defer to Congress on the timing of the GSEs’ exit from conservatorship.

“In the meantime, there are a number of things that we’re doing,” she said, including allowing them to build capital and encouraging the creditors’ transfer program.

“We are also supervising them in a safe and sound manner, and making sure that they meet their mission, so that whenever they exit conservatorship they will be ready.”

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