Industry Groups Praise Finance Regulatory Reform Act 2008

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) praised the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 legislation, which was approved by the Senate Banking Committee today. Jerry Howard, CEO of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), tells MHN that the bill shores up the housing industry as a whole. “In that sense, it will be good for the multi-housing industry. Specifically, for for-sale multi-housing, it restores confidence and in case of rental multi-housing, it helps developers find capital.”The House this month approved a similar foreclosure rescue bill. “Both the versions are positive and there are some disparities that will be ironed out. There are a few technical details I could change, but there is nothing in the bill that we are opposed to,” says Howard.By a vote of 19-2, the committee approved a deal reached between Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee.The Senate bill would create an affordable housing fund, financed by the government-sponsored mortgage buyers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that fund would be used in its first year to provide about $500 million for the foreclosure rescue effort.Kieran P. Quinn, CMB, chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) also hailed the passage of the legislation. “Considering the crucial role the GSEs play in providing stability and liquidity to the secondary mortgage market, this is a very important development that has the potential to play a large part in helping the recovery of the housing and mortgage sectors.” Quinn also says that the GSEs need strong regulatory oversight to ensure they operate in a safe and sound manner, consistent with their charters. “Further, we believe the GSEs ought to be subject to reasonable affordable housing goals that do not distort the market. The proposal to allow FHA to assist troubled borrowers has the potential to help stabilize markets and avoid foreclosures. We want to ensure there are appropriate safeguards to help deserving borrowers while keeping the program voluntary for lenders.” Howard says the bill will go to the Senate soon after Memorial Day.