Dear MAA Members,
I am pleased to announce that your collective voice has been heard. Just moments ago MBA's President and CEO, Robert D. Broeksmit, CMB, released a statement in response to the FHFA's decision to amend the GSEs' adverse market refinance fee. He also sent this member communication, which includes additional details.
In total, more than 23,500 MAA members sent more than 85,000 messages to Congressional offices. Your voice was heard by 100 U.S. Senators and 99% of all U.S. Representatives, which generated bipartisan, bicameral blowback from Congress and as noted in the Wall Street Journal, the White House had “serious concerns with this action and is reviewing it.”
There is no doubt that this record-setting response paved the way for victory.
To further prove that point, I had last reported that many other Congressional leaders were drafting letters echoing our position. Below is additional bipartisan response that was driven by your grassroots engagement.
Bipartisan Group of Representatives Ask For Reconsideration of FHFA/GSEs Refinance Fee
- On Friday, August 21, Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Charlie Crist (D-FL), along with 38 of their House colleagues (including 12 Republicans total), sent a letter to FHFA Director Mark Calabria (ccing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs Hugh Frater and David Brickman) requesting that “FHFA and the GSEs reconsider this [adverse refinance market] fee as our country recovers from COVID-19.” They added that “when this policy was announced, no further explanation was provided to justify the additional cost to homeowners.” The letter also asserted that “in addition to raising costs on our constituents without sufficient justification, we have concerns with how this fee increase may interfere with the broader economy’s recovery from today’s crisis and ask that you prioritize homeowners and economic recovery.”
Bipartisan Group of Senators Raise Concerns About Refinance Fee
- On Thursday, August 20, Senators Rounds (R-SD), Smith (D-MN), Cramer (R-ND), Tillis (R-NC), Moran (R-KS), Daines (R-MT), Tester (D-MT), and McSally (R-AZ) sent a letter to FHFA Director Calabria stating that it was “surprising and deeply troubling” that the “Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) would allow the GSEs to take this course of action, during what is universally agreed to be a period of great economic distress.” They added that it is “greatly distressing that FHFA and the GSEs would announce a 50 basis point fee for all refinancing loans with no consultation with Congress and no notice to external stakeholders.” The letter concludes that “[t]his type of fee is difficult enough to price in during the best of times; in the midst of a global health pandemic with a vaccine not yet in sight, there is no rational explanation for this course of action in the manner and speed that you have taken.”
Democrat Senators Send Letter to FHFA Director Regarding Refinance Fee
- On Wednesday, August 19, Senate Banking Committee (“SBC”) Ranking Member Brown (D-OH) and fourteen of his colleagues sent a letter to FHFA Director Calabria “express[ing] concern about the sudden announcement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will begin charging an additional 50 basis points in up-front fees for all refinance loans delivered to the Enterprises on or after September 1, 2020.” The Senators write that they “are concerned that this sudden change of the rules that will shift more of the financial burden to consumers could contradict” the Enterprises’ purpose of providing “stability in the secondary mortgage market.” They also ask Director Calabria to respond to a number of questions regarding the fee and “request that [he] immediately provide answers to the questions above and not proceed, or approve of proceeding, with any pricing or policy changes during this pandemic that are not intended to help homeowners, renters, and our housing system withstand this crisis.”
I applaud each and every one of you who answered the call to action, reiterating that our united voice is as powerful as ever! Thank you for your participation, we could not do this without you!
If you would like more information about your company or state’s involvement with MAA, please contact Rosie Sheehan at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The larger the group, the louder the voice!Best regards,
Senior Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs
Mortgage Bankers Association