Melvin L. Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), May 11 appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to discuss the status of the housing finance system after nine years of conservatorship. He reviewed the FHFA’s statutory mandates to manage Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises’) day-to-day operations and stated that these conservatorships are not sustainable and they need to end as soon as Congress can chart the way forward on housing finance reform. Watt highlighted important changes and reforms that have taken place during the conservatorships and said that FHFA must continue to meet its obligations while housing finance reform takes place. Watt closed by saying that the most significant challenge FHFA faces as conservator is that additional draws of taxpayer support would reduce the amount of taxpayer backing available to the Enterprises. He added that it would be a misconception for members of the committee to consider any actions that FHFA may take as conservator to avoid additional draws of taxpayer support as an effort to influence the outcome of housing finance reform or as a step toward recap and release. Watt concluded that the FHFA’s actions would be taken solely to avoid a draw during conservatorship.
The Rural Housing Service released a notice in the May 3 Federal Register announcing a series of teleconferences and/or web conference meetings concerning the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) multifamily housing program. The objectives of the series is to enhance the effectiveness of the multifamily housing program, establish a two-way communications forum to update industry participants and Rural Housing Service (RHS) staff, enhance RHS’ awareness of issues that impact multifamily housing and to increase transparency and accountability in the multifamily housing program. Discussion topics will include updates on USDA multifamily housing program activities, perspectives on the multifamily housing notice of funds availability processes and comments on multifamily transaction processes. The meetings are scheduled to occur quarterly during 2017, with the dates and times to be announced via email to registered parties. The notice can be viewed at www.taxcredithousing.com.