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In December 2015, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a proposed rule that would implement "Duty to Serve" provisions included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The statute establishes a "duty" for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to provide leadership to facilitate a secondary market to improve the distribution of mortgage financing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families in three specified underserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing.
The overarching goal of this Duty to Serve proposed rule is to increase the availability of mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families across the country. FHFA, as regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will oversee the development of the Enterprises' plans to meet their Duty to Serve requirements.
FHFA engaged in additional public outreach by holding several webinars and meetings to notify interested stakeholders of the proposed rule and to provide them with an overview of its key provisions. FHFA received more than 1,500 public comments on the proposed rule before the comment period ended on March 17, 2016. FHFA staff are reviewing these comments and working to develop a final rule.
As part of this process, FHFA held roundtable meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders who had submitted written public comments on the proposed rule. These roundtable meetings were intended to provide an opportunity for the stakeholders to discuss the comments they submitted and to express their views on comment letters submitted by others. The meetings gave FHFA an opportunity to ask clarifying questions regarding the comments received from these stakeholders and were helpful in aiding understanding as FHFA continues its rulemaking process.
FHFA is publishing summaries of the roundtable meetings in the rulemaking's public comments docket: On April 19 and May 2, FHFA met with rural housing market stakeholders; on April 20, FHFA met with consumer groups, civil rights groups, affordable housing advocates and energy efficiency stakeholders; on April 25, FHFA met with financial services stakeholders; and on April 26, FHFA met with manufactured housing industry stakeholders.
FHFA appreciates the input from commenters on this rulemaking. After the final rule is issued, FHFA looks forward to additional dialogue as we implement the Enterprises' Duty to Serve requirements.
Link to December 15, 2015 news release on FHFA's proposed rule on the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets.
Jim Gray is a Manager in the Division of Housing Mission and Goals
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