The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would formalize many of the Agency’s existing practices and programs regarding fair housing and fair lending oversight of its regulated entities.
Specifically, the proposed rule would codify in regulation:
- FHFA’s fair lending oversight requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) and the Federal Home Loan Banks (Banks);
- The requirements for the GSEs to maintain Equitable Housing Finance Plans; and
- The requirements for the GSEs to collect and report homeownership education, housing counseling, and language preference information from the Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF).
“Challenges and barriers continue to limit sustainable housing opportunities for minority, low-income, and senior borrowers, as well as families living in rural areas and on tribal land,” said FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson. “The proposed rule will help FHFA ensure that our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner as they comply with fair housing laws and serve the public interest.”
Last year, FHFA announced the release of the GSEs’ inaugural Equitable Housing Finance Plans. These plans are designed to promote the Enterprises’ safety and soundness and foster housing finance markets that provide equitable access to affordable and sustainable housing. FHFA also announced last year that the GSEs will require lenders to use the SCIF as part of the application process for loans that will be sold to the GSEs. Lenders were required to adopt these changes and reporting requirements for loans with application dates on or after March 1, 2023.
“The Equitable Housing Finance Plans represent a commitment to sustainable approaches that will meaningfully address the racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership and wealth that have persisted for generations," added Thompson. “We look forward to working with the Enterprises, lenders, and other housing industry participants to further develop the ideas described in these plans."
FHFA expects this rulemaking to provide increased public transparency and greater oversight and accountability of the regulated entities’ fair housing and fair lending compliance.