WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to remarks from FHFA Director Mel Watt at the Bipartisan Policy Center. In his remarks, Director Watt expressed concerns that the protracted conservatorship of mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will negatively impact their ability to carry out their missions.
“We commend Director Watt for advancing this critical conversation about the future of our nation’s housing finance system. Director Watt has shown exemplary leadership in openly discussing the challenges and risks associated with the drawn-out conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including the scheduled elimination of their capital reserves. As he points out, this Treasury-mandated elimination of a capital buffer for the government-sponsored enterprises puts our nation in danger of another taxpayer-funded bailout, which will virtually guarantee a backlash in Congress.
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a responsibility to promote access and affordability in the housing market. The uncertainty of the conservatorship and the dwindling capital reserves are already making them more and more risk-averse. With little room for error, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are becoming less willing and able to make loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers and communities of color. The administration should heed Director Watt’s warning and examine the path toward rebuilding the capital reserves of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure the homeownership dreams of low-income Americans for generations to come.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.