FHFA’s Strategic Plan Reflects Agency’s Increased Focus on Fair Lending Finance & Banking


United States: FHFA Strategic Plan Reflects Agency’s Increased Focus on Fair Lending

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The US Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) draft strategic plan, which we discussed in a previous article, sets out the goals and objectives of the FHFA for the next four years. Not surprisingly, the FHFA’s recent focus on fair lending issues is reflected in the plan. Over the past year, FHFA has made many strides in advancing its fair lending efforts, such as concluding a collaboration agreement with HUDcausing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the “Companies”) to submit Fair Finance Plans for Housing (which we have already discussed here), and issuing a fair loan policy statement and newscast. It has also taken steps to expand access to credit, announcing last summer, this positive rent payment history can be included in Fannie Mae’s underwriting process.

According to the plan, one of the agency’s three strategic goals is to foster housing finance markets that support equitable access to affordable and sustainable housing. Specific objectives include promoting sustainable access to mortgage credit, promoting equity in housing finance, serving as a trusted source of housing market information, facilitating housing availability affordable and support for the use of technology in mortgage processes. The strategic plan identifies a variety of means that FHFA plans to use to achieve these goals, many of which involve tracking and monitoring businesses. For example, FHFA offers to oversee companies’ implementation of Fair Housing Finance Plans and conduct equity and fair lending assessments and targeted reviews of regulated entities’ policies, products and initiatives. FHFA would also monitor corporate efforts to increase and preserve sustainable mortgage purchase and refinance credit for all qualified borrowers, with a greater focus on low- and middle-income families, communities of color, rural areas and other underserved populations.

Based on the goals of this strategic plan, it is possible that we will begin to see more changes in the mortgage underwriting process as the plan signals that FHFA will explore opportunities to leverage non-traditional data, approaches alternatives and new technologies. We can also expect to see the FHFA release more data and analysis on fair lending, fair housing, and equity-related topics in the future.

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This article by Mayer Brown provides information and commentary on interesting legal issues and developments. The foregoing is not a complete treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action regarding the matters discussed here.

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