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Remarks as Prepared for DeliveryDr. Mark A. CalabriaDirector, Federal Housing Finance Agency
FINANCIAL STABILITY OVERSIGHT COUNCILPRINCIPALS MEETINGTHURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. At the start of 2020, strong labor markets and house price appreciation created a solid foundation under America’s mortgage finance system. But the coronavirus crisis is disrupting the primary and secondary mortgage markets.
In the primary market, bottlenecks are emerging in the mortgage origination process, though few appear directly related to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (together, the “Enterprises”). Home sales are expected to recover once we are through this crisis.
The slowdown in economic activity will increase the number of homeowners who struggle to make their mortgage payments. However, recently, there have been low rates of serious delinquency – loans that are 90 or more days delinquent or in the process of foreclosure.
In the secondary market, Agency MBS liquidity has decreased as investors pull back, especially REITs, money market funds, and some banks. Also, the Agency debt market has dislocated as a result of economic uncertainty, investor aversion to long-term debt, and a market-wide flight to cash.
FHFA has taken several steps to support the market and provide relief to homeowners, renters, and multi-family property owners with Enterprise-backed mortgages. These steps offer peace of mind to renters and homeowners alike who should not have to worry about losing their homes during this national emergency. They also set standards for the rest of the market.
For families who were already facing foreclosure before this crisis began, FHFA directed the Enterprises to suspend all foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.
For homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage because of a loss of income or other coronavirus related hardship, the Enterprises are offering mortgage forbearance for up to 12 months.
For renters in multi-family properties struggling to pay rent because of the coronavirus crisis, this week FHFA announced forbearance for property owners with an Enterprise-backed mortgage. FHFA coordinated with the Enterprises to ensure that tenants will not be evicted while the owner of their multi-family property is in such a forbearance plan.
This week, in response to movement restrictions across the nation, FHFA directed the Enterprises to streamline appraisals and employment verification requirements for 90 days.
Finally, to support the Federal Home Loan Banks’ access to capital markets, FHFA extended a key LIBOR related deadline to June 30, 2020. And FHFA lowered the liquidity a Bank needs to hold in our base case stressed environment from 20 days to 10 days.
Mr. Chairman and fellow members of the Council, I look forward to continuing to work with you to respond to coronavirus-related risks. Thank you.
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