Mortgage

Rep. Beatty grills HUD Secretary Carson on future of FHA mortgage insurance premiums

Will HUD ever announce a cut to premiums?

During Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, grilled him on the status of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premium cuts.

President Donald Trump suspended the reduction of mortgage insurance premiums within the first hours of his presidency, and since then, very little information has come out on if HUD will reinstate the cuts.

The cuts were previously announced just before the Obama administration left office.

In her questioning, Beatty asked Carson if he reviewed a letter sent to him by her and 20 other members of Congress.

“It was requesting that you follow through on your predecessor’s decision to lower these annual premiums, citing the fiscal strength of the fund and histrionically low homeownership,” said Beatty. The full clip from the hearing is below. 

Beatty pressed Carson on why she would get a response to her letter from someone other than him, noting that a different staffer at HUD sent her a response.

She added that that in her opinion, it didn’t answer the question.

Carson responded saying he could answer now, but Beatty turned down the request, asking Carson to respond to her letter instead since she had other questions.

However, during other parts of the hearing, Carson did address the increasing health of the FHA’s flagship fund, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, ever since HUD announced changes to its reverse mortgage program.

Back in August, HUD announced it changed the requirements around the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, which has faced scrutiny due to the high risks associated with the program.

With the HECM program starting to perform better, it improves the overall health of the FHA. And if the FHA’s MMIF isn’t financially healthy, it would be hard to allow any cuts to the FHA mortgage insurance premiums. Mortgage insurance premium cuts and HECM both impact the MMIF, which is explained in detail here

Watch the full video below.

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