FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA Statement on House Markup of GSE Bill
Washington, D.C. (March 29, 2007)—Camden Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), issued the following statement on the just completed markup of H.R. 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007, which would reform regulation of the housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).
"ICBA strongly supports enactment of H.R. 1427, particularly provisions that would strengthen the Federal Home Loan Banks' Community Financial Institutions community development programs as well as increase to $1 billion the asset size of community banks eligible to secure long-term advances for community development. This provision alone would greatly expand community banks' ability to serve small businesses, small farms and small agri-businesses.
"We're also pleased to see the committee advance legislation that would allow community banks continued access to the flow of housing funds for their customers. Had the committee placed artificial limits on portfolio growth, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be compelled by business reasons to give preference to their large-volume customers, a scenario that could shut out community banks from the significant sources of housing funds in the secondary mortgage market.
"The GSEs provide community banks and the communities they serve access to the same home mortgage products that the largest firms offer, and ICBA continues to support access to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"The committee also is to be commended for passing an ICBA-backed provision to allow the new GSE regulator to adjust capital requirements to protect against specific risks to safety and soundness, rather than to change capital requirements over the long term. The provision will enable the new regulator to help ensure the safety and soundness of the GSEs while not changing the nation's housing policy.
"ICBA applauds House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Richard Baker (R-La.) for their leadership in advancing GSE legislation, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress on this significant piece of legislation that will greatly affect the nation's housing market."