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Waters Delivers Opening Statement at Full Committee Hearing Overseeing the Federal Housing Finance Agency

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “Housing in America: Oversight of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.”

First, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Director Sandra Thompson, who has dedicated her career to promoting access to mortgage credit nationwide and protecting the safety and soundness of the housing finance system. Her confirmation marks the first time in our nation’s history that a Black woman leads FHFA. Director Thompson, we are very pleased to have you here.

Today, we continue the Committee’s oversight of FHFA. As we all know, FHFA is responsible for the supervision, regulation, and oversight of the government-sponsored enterprises, which include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

I know that my Republican colleagues have recently complained about a lack of oversight hearings pertaining to housing finance. However, this comes as a surprise given their repeated complaints that this Committee has held too many hearings on housing—over 30 to be exact. But let’s get the facts straight. It was their former Director Calabria who, in December 2020, refused to appear before this Committee, despite our repeated requests. And it is Republicans in the Senate who have actively impeded our ability to confirm federal agency leadership, including Director Thompson and FHA Commissioner Julia Gordon.

So, after four years of terrible stewardship by former Director Mark Calabria during the Trump Administration, I am relieved that FHFA is finally back to fulfilling its intended mission. Under Calabria, FHFA made several irresponsible and dangerous moves that harmed borrowers and the housing finance market, including attempts to side-step Congress and release the Enterprises from federal conservatorship.

In sharp contrast, Director Thompson’s actions have been reasonable, fair, and grounded in facts and the law. In just a year, Director Thompson has taken critical steps to set FHFA on a new path forward by eliminating Calabria’s unnecessary and harmful policies that made it more expensive for families to buy or refinance their homes, strengthening renter protections, and expanding access to credit through the use of additional credit data like on-time rental payments.

Director Thompson has worked to fulfill her regulatory mission over the Enterprises by recommitting to comprehensive fair housing and fair lending oversight of the Enterprises. For example, Director Thompson most recently led the historic effort to require the Enterprises to develop and implement Equitable Housing Finance Plans to address the gross racial inequities in their books of business, and to ensure they prioritize innovative, equitable practices that benefit everyone. And we expect full transparency in these efforts, including public-facing metrics that show concrete, measurable reduction in racial inequity. 

FHFA plays an instrumental role in our housing finance market, especially as our nation continues to face a housing crisis that has been made worse by Republicans’ refusal to support meaningful investments to increase the housing supply, reduce housing costs, and offset inflation. So, I look forward to continuing our work with Director Thompson to put borrowers and communities first.


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