Thursday, February 14, 2013

Senators Hagan, Isakson, and Landrieu call for QRM without downpayment restriction

by Ethan Handelman, National Housing Conference 

Three Senators—Kay Hagan (D-NC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA)—wrote to the regulators responsible for the qualified mortgage rule (QRM) asking for swift action on a final rule to enable home mortgage lending. The QRM would define exemptions from risk retention requirements for securitized mortgages and would likely have far-reaching effects on the availability and affordability of home mortgages. The senators specifically opposed a downpayment requirement in QRM, noting that it was against the intent of Congress and would deny opportunity to responsible borrowers.

NHC continues to push for a QRM rule that ensures access to affordable home mortgages for low- and moderate-income families. An onerous downpayment requirement in QRM could not only keep low-wealth households from achieving homeownership but also create an unintended focal point for future changes to our housing finance system. High downpayments are neither necessary nor sufficient for a loan to be a good loan, and our regulations should not erect barriers to homeownership in the name of risk reduction.

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