Federal / Agency News Category Archives

HFSC Releases October Schedule

The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) released its October hearing schedule. On October 22 at 10:00 am EDT the full Committee will convene for a hearing entitled, “The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administration’s Plans to Change Housing Finance in America.” On October 29 at 10:00 am EDT the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will convene for a hearing entitled, “Financial Services and the LGBTQ+ Community: A Review of Discrimination in Lending and Housing.” Both hearings will be held in 2128 Rayburn House Office Building and webcast live.

CDFI Fund Releases FY 2019 CMF Application Demand

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) released the application data for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 round of its Capital Magnet Fund program. A total of 113 organizations submitted applications requesting more than $522 million in funding. The applicants propose to serve 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  In total, 58 percent of the applicants are certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and the remaining 42 percent of the applicants are nonprofit affordable housing organizations.

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Rep. Case Introduces Legislation Aimed at Airbnb, HomeAway

Representative Ed Case (D-HI) introduced the Protecting Local Authority and Neighborhoods Act (H.R. 4232), which would hold tech platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway responsible for illegal short-term rentals. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) prevents tech companies from being held legally responsible for most content posted by third parties. State and local governments have passed legislation banning short-term rentals that can deplete the stock of affordable housing, but tech rental platforms are using Section 230 of the CDA to sue or delay the laws from being implemented.

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Senate Introduces Companion Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019

Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019 (S. 2567). The bill would expand U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) rental assistance programs, permanently authorize the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program, and direct RD to better align its policies with the LIHTC program. Similar legislation (H.R. 3620) was passed by the House of Representatives on September 10. The House version of the bill also authorizes $1 billion to carry out the program and requires USDA to create a plan for preservation of rural multifamily housing backed by USDA loans and would establish an advisory committee to advise USDA in implementing this plan.

Federal Housing Finance Agency News

It’s been a busy week for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). During the American Credit Union Mortgage Association’s Annual Conference, Director Mark Calabria shared his concerns about volume-based pricing discounts on Guarantee Fees (G-Fees). FHFA issued a confidential administrative directive to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac restricting competition on G-Fees

FHFA sent a letter to the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) instructing them that, as of December 31, 2019, they should stop purchasing investments in assets tied to London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) with a contractual maturity beyond December 31, 2021.

FHFA announced modified Preferred Stock Purchase agreements with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that allow the GSEs to retain capitals of up to $25 billion and $20 billion, respectively. The move ends the capital sweep on earnings above $3 billion that was put into place in 2008 when the GSEs entered conservatorship.

Finally, FHFA announced an agreement with Simone Grimes who accused former director Melvin Watt of sexual harassment.

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HUD Designates 2020 DDAs, QCTs

HUD designated Difficult Development Areas (DDAs) and Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) for 2020. DDAs are areas with high land, construction and utility costs relative to the area median income and are based on Fair Market Rents, income limits, the 2010 census counts, and five-year American Community Survey (ACS) data. QCTs are areas where either 50 percent or more of the households in the tract have an income, which is less than 60 percent of the AMI or the tract’s poverty rate is at least 25 percent.

HUD, FHA Promotes Development of Hospitals and Health Care Facilities in Opportunity Zones

HUD announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will offer several incentives to encourage greater development of hospitals and healthcare facilities located in Opportunity Zones in Notice H-2019-10. Effective immediately, FHA is giving priority to Section 232 applications for facilities located in Opportunity Zones. FHA will provide expedited underwriting for Section 232 applications. FHA is also reducing application/exam fees for all Section 242 and Section 232 transactions for facilities in Opportunity Zones.

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