Senators Agree on Plans to Drive FHA Solvency, Stabilization

Senate Banking Committee members announced late Thursday they have reached a bipartisan agreement on legislation to ensure the solvency of the Federal Housing Administration. 

The members have long discussed measures including reverse mortgage program changes that would shore up the FHA’s mutual mortgage insurance fund, following projections the agency could require a near-billion dollar bailout this year. 

“Earlier this year, we agreed that the Committee would first address the issues facing the solvency of FHA before turning to comprehensive housing finance reform legislation,” said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) in a joint statement. 

While they were mum on the details of the agreement, they indicated they are optimistic about moving the legislation forward in order to provide the FHA with the tools it needs to recover losses and regain “stable footing.” 

“After months of hard work we have reached bipartisan agreement on a path forward to give the FHA the tools it needs to get back on stable footing,” they said. “We are in the process of finalizing the text of our bipartisan bill and plan to release details publicly next week. We believe we have found solid common ground and are optimistic that we will be able to move this bipartisan legislation forward expeditiously.”

Both the reverse mortgage industry and Department of Housing and Urban Development have urged Congress for the authority to make program changes following the Obama Administration’s budget revealing a projected $943 million shortfall, largely due to reverse mortgage losses. 

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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