On July 20, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Committee) held a hearing entitled, “Housing Finance Reform: Maintaining Access for Small Lenders.” Frequent topics of discussion in the hearing included, among other things, housing finance reform, secondary market access, affordable housing, access to credit in rural areas, mortgage insurance, and mortgage backed securities issued by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), operating under conservatorship since 2008.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Committee, remarked in his opening statement that “small lenders play a critical role in the mortgage market,” and that a need exists to preserve access to the secondary market. However, Sen. Crapo asserted that although GSEs are currently earning profits, a risk exists for taxpayers if there is a market downturn. “A mortgage market dominated by two huge government-sponsored companies in conservatorship is not a long-term solution, and is not in the best interest of consumers, taxpayers, lenders, investors, or the broader economy,” Sen. Crapo stated.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Committee, released an opening statement in which he stated, “[S]mall lenders are often the only lenders willing to go the extra mile to underwrite mortgages . . . in cities’ urban core and in rural communities. . . . As we continue to debate the role of the GSEs, private capital, and large financial institutions in providing access to affordable mortgages, we cannot create a system that allows the GSEs or new players to use a business model that serves only the largest lenders, the highest income borrowers, or the well-off pockets of our country.”

The coalition of consumer groups and small lenders present at the hearing supported GSE reform, sought additional support for small lenders, and called for prompt government action relative to housing finance reform.

The July 20 hearing—a video of which can be accessed here—included testimony from the following witnesses:

  • Ms. Brenda Hughes, Senior Vice President and Director of Mortgage and Retail Lending, First Federal Savings Bank of Twin Falls, on behalf of the American Bankers Association (testimony)
  • Mr. Tim Mislansky, Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Wright-Patt Credit Union and President and CEO, myCUmortgage, LLC on behalf of the Credit Union National Association (testimony)
  • Mr. Jack E. Hopkins, President and CEO, CorTrust Bank, N.A., on behalf of the Independent Community Bankers of America (testimony)
  • Mr. Charles M. Pruvis, President and CEO, Coastal Federal Credit Union, on behalf of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (testimony)
  • Mr. Wes Hunt, President, Homestar Financial Corporation, on behalf of the Community Mortgage Lenders of America (testimony)
  • Mr. Bill Giambrone, President and CEO, Platinum Home Mortgage and President, Community Home Lenders Association (testimony)