MBA, Trade Groups Ask States to Support Financial Services, Real Estate, Housing Industries in COVID-19 Response

The Mortgage Bankers Association and other industry groups sent a letter last week to state and municipal government associations, asking for support of the financial services, real estate and housing industries as they navigate solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.

MBA; the American Land Title Association; the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders asked the groups to take steps to ensure that the financial services and housing sectors can support the critical needs of homeowners and borrowers. 

“We are in extraordinary times. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a health and economic crisis of nearly unprecedented proportions,” the letter said. “The housing and financial services industries are being called on to provide unprecedented support for the economy in this time of crisis, including providing critical economic stimulus for households impacted by the crisis.”

The letter noted with interest rates at or near record lows, volume of mortgage refinancing has increased sharply, allowing families to reduce monthly payments and providing billions of dollars of additional disposable income to families in need. In addition, many families in recent months have taken advantage of low rates to purchase a home. The letter urged state and local governments to consider workers in the construction and related industries as “essential” and exempt from mandatory stay-at-home orders.

“Essential services go beyond grocery and healthcare and extend to businesses and governmental agencies providing and supporting the financial services and housing industries,” the letter said. “Essential services related to housing include services such as title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, housing materials and improvement retailers, moving, as well as the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete the sale or construction of housing.”

The letter went to the National Governors Association; the National Association of Counties; the U.S. Conference of Mayors; The National Conference of State Legislatures; the Council of State Governments; and the State Government Affairs Council.