FHFA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Fair Lending Oversight

The Federal Housing Finance Agency seeks comment on a proposed rule that would formalize many existing practices regarding fair housing and fair lending oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

Specifically, the proposed rule would codify in regulation:

– FHFA’s fair lending oversight requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks;

– The requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to maintain Equitable Housing Finance Plans; and

​​- The requirements for the Enterprises to collect and report homeownership education, housing counseling and language preference information from the Supplemental Consumer Information Form.

The rule would also expand requirements for the Enterprises in fair lending compliance and provide greater oversight and transparency regarding the Equitable Housing Finance Plans.

“Challenges and barriers continue to limit sustainable housing opportunities for minority, low-income and senior borrowers, as well as families living in rural areas and on tribal land,” FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson said Wednesday. “The proposed rule will help FHFA ensure that our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner as they comply with fair housing laws and serve the public interest.”

FHFA released Equitable Housing Finance Plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year. These plans are designed to promote the Enterprises’ safety and soundness and foster housing finance markets that provide equitable access to affordable and sustainable housing. FHFA also announced last year that the Enterprises will require lenders to use the SCIF as part of the application process for loans that will be sold to the Enterprises. Lenders were required to adopt these changes and reporting requirements for loans with application dates on or after March 1,.

FHFA said it expects this rulemaking to provide increased public transparency and greater oversight and accountability of the regulated entities’ fair housing and fair lending compliance.

FHFA invited comments on the proposed rule within 60 days of its publication in the Federal Register. Comments on the proposed rule should be ​​submitted electronically​ or via mail to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of General Counsel, Attention: Comments/RIN-2590-AB29, 400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20219.​