MBA Letter Offers Support for Yellen Treasury Nomination

Janet Yellen, President-Elect Joseph Biden Jr.’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, appears this morning for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. Ahead of the hearing, the Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter in support of her nomination.

Janet Yellen

“MBA believes the Treasury Department will need to continue its critical economic recovery efforts under her leadership, including several remaining issues that will have a significant impact on our nation’s real estate finance market,” wrote MBA President & CEO Robert Broeksmit, CMB, to Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “I urge the Senate Finance Committee to approve her nomination as quickly as possible.”

Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, faces a number of challenges, including a struggling economy hamstrung by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the relative strength of the housing market, Broeksmit noted 2.7 million homeowners are in mortgage forbearance plans and 6 percent of renter households were unable to make their lease payments in December.

“Treasury is well positioned to work with key stakeholders to support both adequate liquidity for mortgage servicing and the implementation of effective rental assistance to meet these urgent needs,” Broeksmit said. “Furthermore, as COVID-19 protocols proceed in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, the hospitality, retail and other industry sectors continue to suffer. Ms. Yellen’s experience with both the real estate finance and capital markets, as well as her interest in and understanding of the vital role that safe, affordable housing plays in providing economic security, will serve her well in her new position.”

Broeksmit noted Yellen will provide “committed leadership” to expand minority homeownership and close the gap from the national homeownership rate. “Closing this gap will require the examination of new pathways to homeownership and steps to eliminate barriers commonly faced by potential minority borrowers,” he said. “Moreover, Congress and the administration will need to work together to support new homeowners through both fiscal policy and tax reforms. As Chair of the Federal Reserve, Ms. Yellen repeatedly spoke in support of addressing the need for sustainable housing in low- to moderate-income communities. If confirmed, she will soon have a new opportunity for action in this regard and MBA looks forward to partnering with her in these efforts.”

Broeksmit also said Yellen should work with Congress and other stakeholders in enacting legislative reforms to promote a robust secondary market. “Ms. Yellen’s experience uniquely prepares her to understand and respond to the complex

challenges that will face the next Treasury Secretary. I believe she will put her extensive

talents to use in ways that will strengthen America’s housing markets and provide

regulatory clarity for the real estate finance industry,” he said. “MBA looks forward to working with the incoming Biden administration, Treasury Secretary designee Yellen and Congress to strengthen both the single-family and multifamily mortgage segments to ensure deep and liquid markets for affordable housing finance through all economic cycles.”

Yellen’s confirmation hearing takes place this morning at 10:00 a.m. ET in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building and can be accessed online here.