MBA Letter Outlines Key HUD Appropriation Priorities

The Mortgage Bankers Association, an a letter to House and Senate appropriators, urged continued funding for HUD staffing and systems upgrades, full funding for Ginnie Mae and support for FHA multifamily and healthcare programs.  

The House and Senate Appropriations Committee are working to finalize appropriations bills for fiscal year 2016, including housing programs under HUD’s supervision. They hope to finish a bill before Thanksgiving.  

In the letter, MBA reiterated its support for providing FHA with resources, both in staffing and systems upgrades. It supports HUD’s request for $174 million for FHA administrative expenses and expressed gratitude that both House and Senate bills continue to fund FHA’s administrative costs “through regular appropriations processes, as has been the practice for decades, and reject HUD’s unprecedented request to charge a fee on residential lenders that will undoubtedly be passed on to borrowers and raise the cost of homeownership.”  

MBA also supported full funding for Ginnie Mae staffing, training and technology needs. “Given Ginnie Mae’s key role in providing liquidity targeted to low- and moderate-income families, first-time homebuyers, renters, veterans and rural households, it needs the full $28.3 million requested to prudently manage the increased loan volume in the single-family and multifamily mortgage markets,” wrote MBA President and CEO David Stevens, CMB.  

The letter noted in recent years, market share for FHA, VA and Rural Housing Service lending has shifted toward a more diversified base of smaller lenders. “This has been a positive trend for Ginnie Mae that reduces concentration risks in the program,” Stevens wrote. “It is important, however, that Ginnie Mae have the necessary funding to effectively manage the growth of these new program participants.”  

MBA commended the House and Senate for providing $30 billion in commitment authority for the FHA General and Special Risk Insurance Fund as well as full funding for rental assistance, particularly Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance for FHA multifamily and healthcare finance programs.  

“Together, these programs permit private sector lenders to continue to finance workforce and affordable apartments and residential healthcare facilities that serve millions of Americans,” the letter said. “We also share your support for HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, which helps recapitalize public housing. And MBA is grateful that the House and Senate bills allow FHA’s Office of Multifamily to continue its vital transformation initiative in order to modernize operations.”  

The letter also urges the following:  

–A provision that would maintain for an additional year the prohibition on federal funds being used to facilitate eminent domain seizures of performing mortgage loans. “By enacting this prohibition last year, as part of the omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2015, Congress was able to temporarily defuse this threat. By renewing this ban, the threat will be kept at bay for another year,” MBA said.

–Funding for housing and homeownership counseling. “These funds are critical to assisting homeowners facing foreclosure, helping first-time homebuyers navigate the challenges of the purchase process and counseling for reverse mortgages (a program requirement) for seniors, a traditionally high-risk group for financial fraud,” MBA said.