FHFA draft strategic plan notes lack of nonbank examination authority

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has just released a draft strategic plan that suggests that it could be looking to expand its counterparty examination authority.

The 2022-2026 plan, which was just released for comment, noted in a section on potential challenges to goals, that the agency “does not currently possess the power to examine important counterparties of its regulated entities, such as nonbank servicers.”

“This could interfere with FHFA’s ability to ensure the safety and soundness of the regulated entities,” the agency stated.

The mention echoes previous recommendations to give the FHFA more authority over non-depositories that service loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including one made by the Government Accountability Office in 2016. While the FHFA has indirect authority over companies that service loans for the two government-sponsored enterprises, the GAO previously found the agency “lacked the statutory authority” to directly examine servicers and recommended the Congress consider providing it.

As the nonbank industry has grown over time, the GAO and others have recommended extending supervision more on par with that seen for depositories to mortgage companies that aren’t supervised by traditional banking regulators. But nonbanks have bristled at some of the attempts, a recent notable example of which was a Ginnie Mae proposal that would have held non-depository issuers of the securitizations the government agency insures to bank-like capital standards.

Other agenda items in the strategic plan, which the FHFA will be accepting input on until March 11, echo Biden administration goals such as improved climate change data collection, analysis and reporting and an increased emphasis on efforts to make housing more equitable.

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