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Ben Carson & Upcoming Government Updates

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“Many say owning a home is at the heart of the American Dream which means you -that help so many families – are dream makers.” ~ HUD Secretary Ben Carson to lenders at MBA Annual

Speaking Monday during the morning general session at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Conference in Denver, Carson provided the attendees with upcoming policy changes to HUD and the future of the industry. Here are some of the highlights:

HUD and DOJ working together to ease FHA lending

“We have heard concerns on the part of some in the lender community about participating fully in our programs because of the undue risks they perceive from a lack of clarity in what we expect and exposure to outsized liability from immaterial errors,” Carson said Monday.

“Lenders have rightly pointed out that absolute perfection in the lending process cannot be achieved, and that borrowers bear the costs of compliance through higher mortgage rates,” Carson continued. “Other sectors of the market have made real progress in addressing these issues, creating more confidence to lend.”

And then he made an announcement. A doozy of one.

“We have heard these concerns, and today I am very pleased to announce that HUD, in consultation with the Justice Department, is committed to reviewing and addressing these issues,” upon which Carson received thunderous applause.

Carson went on to mention that some of this process will include a review by the FHA of its lender certifications. “HUD’s objective from this effort is simple. We want every good lender who makes responsible loans, and services them well, to feel confident that they can participate fully in HUD’s programs, serving borrowers and enabling housing to continue to spur our economy,” Carson stated.

“This review will benefit greatly from the extensive feedback received from lenders, and other stakeholders, in our request for input on regulatory reform conducted in response to the president’s executive orders on burdensome regulations,” Carson finished. “Your feedback and recommendations will be invaluable.”

End to conservatorship?

Entering the 10th year of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conservatorship, Dr. Carson and many others in the mortgage industry this should end ASAP.

“Moving forward, HUD will be an active participant in this critical dialogue because of our fundamental housing mission, and because our (Federal Housing Administration) mortgage insurance program and our Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed security guaranty are large and vital components of the housing finance system.”

Carson later stated that Ginnie Mae’s federal guarantee of mortgage-backed securities means that the agency can serve as a valuable resource in housing finance reform.

Envision Centers – Critical Partnership

One of the major talking points of this administration has been the rollback of much of the legislation hampering the industry. But that could leave many people vulnerable to the socio-economic forces at large, which is why Secretary Carson believes in leveraging public and private partnerships for the betterment of society. He calls this idea “envision centers.”

“The most important thing that happens to you, is you.” Mr. Carson stated. Of course, important steps toward home ownership include access to education and careers that help build wealth and lead to upward economic mobility.

Still in the planning phases, these centers would serve as hubs for public-private partnerships in low-income communities. There, young people would gain exposure to pathways to their chosen careers. The centers would ideally host mentors working with disadvantaged youth and provide childcare options for young mothers seeking to improve their education.

The name “vision centers,” which the locations were initially named, actually came from a Bible verse, but was changed to “envision centers” since Secretary Carson didn’t want it to be confused with optometrists.

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