Fed PolicyPolitics & Money

FHFA announces new advisory housing committee

Members have not yet been selected for committee on affordable, equitable, and sustainable housing

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Tuesday announced its plan to establish a federal advisory committee on affordable, equitable, and sustainable housing.

The committee will offer advice and input on affordable, equitable, and sustainable housing needs and regulatory or policy changes that might be needed, the FHFA said in a statement.  

“The formation of an advisory committee will better position FHFA to fulfill its strategic goal of supporting access to affordable, equitable, and sustainable housing,” said FHFA Director Sandra Thompson in prepared remarks. “Today’s announcement exemplifies our commitment to transparency, ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and the public, and thoughtful policymaking that connects equitable access with safety and soundness.”

The committee, whose members have not yet been selected, will focus on the FHFA’s regulated entities, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. The FHFA is seeking members who have a background in financing, development, and/or administrative work related to the government sponsored entities and the FHLBs.

News of the committee comes just a few months after the FHFA unveiled equitable housing finance plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which establish a framework for the GSEs to close a growing racial homeownership gap.

The 2022 to 2024 plans are to be updated annually, and will focus on barriers to homeownership in Black and Latino communities. Relatedly, the FHFA created a pilot transparency framework for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, requiring them to publish and maintain a list of pilots on their websites.

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Plans from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rely heavily on special purpose credit programs, which allow lenders to target lending to protected classes without fear of violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Both GSEs also plan to reduce bias in appraisals, in part through higher usage of automated appraisals.

In early August, trade associations, fair housing groups and community advocacy groups submitted their comments on the proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act, the federal redlining statute. Several groups criticized the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for pursuing grades on minority lending for banks.

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