Opening statement from Richard H. Baker
Subcommittee chairman on capital markets, securities, and government sponsored enterprises
Subject: HR 3703 - the Housing Finance Regulatory Improvement Act
Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Banking and Financial Services June 15, 2000

"The Subcommittee meets today for the third in a series of hearings on strengthening regulation and promoting market discipline of the housing GSEs. Hearings will continue this summer to ensure that every point of view is heard before the Subcommittee considers H.R. 3703, the "Housing Finance Regulatory Improvement Act."

So far we have heard from -- in testimony before this Subcommittee or in written comments -- the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, housing GSE regulators and representatives from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank. Today, we will hear from two panels representing consumer and taxpayer interests. There is a great deal of talk about the effects of H.R. 3703 on the GSEs and their private sector competitors. It is important as well that we explore and understand the effects on the people not directly involved in the mortgage finance business.

The aim of this bill is to shield taxpayers from the potential risk the housing GSEs pose. I believe improved oversight of the GSEs will lead to more accurate market judgments, thereby ensuring a firewall between the GSEs and taxpayers. I think an improved oversight structure will aid consumers and lead to increased homeownership and more importantly contribute to more housing in minority and low and moderate income sectors.

I look forward to the concerns that will be addressed here today and all your comments on the bill."


Excerpt of statement from Rep. Marge Roukema (R-NJ-5th)Subject: HR 3703 - the Housing Finance Regulatory Improvement Act
Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Banking and Financial Services June 15, 2000 [Link to the full text of Rep. Roukema's statement] ...These are serious oversight hearings and are very important. Mr. Baker has raised several issues which we need to explore carefully: potential systemic risk due to the size of the housing GSEs, appropriate capital requirements, bank ownership of Agency securities and possible concentration problems.

At the last hearing I made it clear that I am very concerned about allegations of mission creep. Congress created these GSEs to address a specific problem that the private sector could not address. They should not get into activities — real estate brokerage, mortgage insurance and consumer lending — that are beyond their specific charters. I want to congratulate Mr. Baker on undertaking such a serious subject. He has embarked on what will probably be an extended process.

I want to make it clear, however, that while I endorse these oversight hearings, moving this legislation is another matter. I — as well as several other members — do not support moving this legislation forward this year. Mr. Chairman, I believe you agreed to this at the previous hearings. I am concerned by press reports that you may be considering trying to move this bill out of Subcommittee. Quick action on this would be ill advised....


Witness list for the Capital Markets Subcommittee hearing on improving regulation of housing GSEs
Source: U.S. House of Representatives
June 15, 2000
Panel 1

  • Ralph Nader, Consumer advocate
  • John Taylor, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
  • Peter Skillern, Community Reinvestment Association of North Calorlina
  • William Cunningham, Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Panel 2

 

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