Rep. Spencer Bachus, the lead Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Chairman Barney Frank requesting a hearing on the condition of the Federal Housing Administration.

The FHA said last week that its actuarial review showed its capital reserves had fallen below its 2% congressionally mandated level, to 0.53%.

Bachus and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., wrote that they are concerned the drop could force the FHA to request an appropriation from Congress. "As the authorizing committee with the oversight responsibility over FHA — and as the stewards of taxpayer dollars that are now very much at risk because of FHA's deteriorating financial position — it is incumbent upon our committee to get prompt answers to the many questions surrounding FHA's risk management practices and finances," the Republican lawmakers wrote in a letter dated Tuesday.

Bachus said he was encouraged by the reforms the Department of Housing and Urban Development is exploring to shore up its reserves, but he said they were not enough.

"Despite these efforts … we are concerned that the agency continues to lack the technology and management capacity to perform proper oversight of its single-family loan insurance portfolio," Bachus wrote.

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