Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would formalize many of the Agency’s existing practices and programs regarding fair housing and fair lending oversight of its regulated entities.
Specifically, the proposed rule would codify in regulation:
- FHFA’s fair lending oversight requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks (Banks);
- the requirements for the Enterprises to maintain Equitable Housing Finance Plans; and
- the requirements for the Enterprises to collect and report homeownership education, housing counseling, and language preference information from the Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF).
The rule would also expand requirements for the Enterprises in fair lending compliance and provide greater oversight and transparency regarding the Equitable Housing Finance Plans.
“Challenges and barriers continue to limit sustainable housing opportunities for minority, low-income, and senior borrowers, as well as families living in rural areas and on tribal land,” said FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson. “The proposed rule will help FHFA ensure that our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner as they comply with fair housing laws and serve the public interest.”
Last year, FHFA announced the release of the Enterprises’ inaugural Equitable Housing Finance Plans. These plans are designed to promote the Enterprises’ safety and soundness and foster housing finance markets that provide equitable access to affordable and sustainable housing. FHFA also announced last year that the Enterprises will require lenders to use the SCIF as part of the application process for loans that will be sold to the Enterprises. Lenders were required to adopt these changes and reporting requirements for loans with application dates on or after March 1, 2023.
FHFA expects this rulemaking to provide increased public transparency and greater oversight and accountability of the regulated entities’ fair housing and fair lending compliance.
FHFA invites comments on the proposed rule within 60 days of its publication in the Federal Register. Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted electronically or via mail to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of General Counsel, Attention: Comments/RIN-2590-AB29, 400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20219.