Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency requested public input on the GSE’s new proposed Underserved Markets Plans under the Duty to Serve program.
The plans, also released Monday from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, must find a way to reach three specified underserved markets including manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing in a safe manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low-, and moderate-income families.
On Dec. 13, 2016, the FHFA issued a final rule to implement the Duty to Serve Program mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The new rule requires each of the GSEs to adopt a three-year Underserved Markets Plan to fulfill the mandate.
Freddie Mac released this statement regarding what its newly released plan encompasses:
“Duty to Serve presents a welcome opportunity to lead the mortgage industry and help more American families with their housing needs,” said Danny Gardner, Freddie Mac vice president of affordable lending and access to credit. “Our plan includes increased loan purchases in these underserved markets, new offerings, market research, increased homebuyer education, community engagement and local outreach.
“We intend to work with our customers and the many dedicated organizations that are deeply knowledgeable about these markets at the local, regional and national levels,” Gardner said.
“I strongly encourage stakeholders to submit feedback on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s proposed Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans,” FHFA Director Melvin Watt said. “FHFA will evaluate stakeholder input as part of our review process to ensure that the plans help the Enterprises meet their statutory obligations in a safe and sound manner.”
After reviewing public input and FHFA feedback, the enterprises will update their Duty to Serve Underserved Markets plan. Each plan must receive a non-objection from the FHFA before becoming effective on Jan. 1, 2018.
“Fannie Mae welcomes the opportunity to create housing opportunities that are affordable and we are prepared to bring all our experience, knowledge, and capabilities to bear in fulfilling our Duty to Serve,” said Jeffery Hayward, Fannie Mae executive vice president and head of multifamily. “We recognize that there are no easy solutions to the tough and often long-standing challenges that characterize underserved markets.”
“It will take research, education, and innovative partnerships to make housing more affordable in all markets,” Hayward said. “We are excited that the Duty to Serve rule aligns with our mission to increase access to mortgage credit and housing options for all Americans as we find new ways and new partners to support underserved markets that need help.”
Freddie Mac also encouraged public comments to its new plan, saying it will help shape the company’s future activities.
“We are deeply committed to improving access to quality affordable housing,” said David Leopold, Freddie Mac vice president of multifamily affordable housing products. “Public comments – combined with our extensive research and data collection strategies – will help shape our future activities.”
“We believe that, over time, we can address the needs of these communities in sustainable ways that will benefit our country for generations to come,” Leopold said.
The FHFA is also extending its deadline for the public input period on its proposed evaluation guidance for the Duty to Serve program.
The proposed evaluation guidance, released January 13, shows the FHFA’s expectations regarding the process for developing the GSE’s Underserved Market Plans. It also lays out the process by which FHFA will evaluate the enterprises’ achievements under the plans each year.