Crapo planning two days of Senate Banking hearings on GSE reform

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee will hold two days of hearings at the end of March on Chairman Mike Crapo’s most recent framework for housing finance reform.

Robert Broeksmit, the president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and Vince Malta, the president-elect of the National Association of Realtors, are among the witnesses slated to testify at the March 27 hearing, both groups confirmed to American Banker. The National Association of Home Builders has also been invited to testify.

The committee has also scheduled a March 26 hearing to examine Crapo’s proposal, but has not put out an official notice of the hearings since details are being finalized. A total of 12 witnesses are expected to testify over the course of the two days.

Crapo’s legislative outline released last month is the latest effort by lawmakers to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, which the Idaho Republican has said is one of his top priorities as chairman.

His framework suggests turning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into private guarantors while allowing for other private guarantors to compete with the mortgage giants, using Ginnie Mae to provide a government backstop. However, insured depository institutions would not be permitted to be guarantors in an aim to limit the role of the largest commercial banks and increase competition.

It remains to be seen if Crapo's plan has enough congressional support to be enacted, but it is worth noting that he previously authored the most successful GSE reform bill to date since the 2008 conservatorships. The bill he helped spearhead with then-Chairman Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, in 2014 — when Crapo was the committee's ranking Republican — passed the Banking Committee but never made it to the Senate floor.

While Crapo’s outline has not been introduced as legislation and has a narrow path to success in a sharply divided Congress, the move was applauded by both figures in the Trump administration and several industry groups.

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GSE reform Housing finance reform Policymaking GSEs Mike Crapo Senate Banking Committee Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage Bankers Association NAR