The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday issued a request for input on a new policy requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to submit fair housing finance plans by year-end.
The RFI is looking for suggestions on what should be included in the government-sponsored companies' initial three-year plans that "identify and address" barriers to sustainable home ownership, set "goals and action plans to promote equity financing for housing" and update annually. Comments can be submitted at a public listening session on September 28, online, or by mail. The deadline for submitting comments is October 25th.
"For generations, discriminatory practices such as redlining communities of color have prevented home ownership from generating wealth," said Sandra Thompson, acting director of the FHFA, in a press release. “By identifying the barriers to equitable and sustainable housing finance and setting goals to overcome these barriers, businesses can responsibly, in harmony with security and soundness, the racial and ethnic differences in home ownership and prosperity that still exist today to reduce."
The GSEs' new equity home finance plans build on broader efforts by the Biden government to address racial disparities in home ownership through a variety of methods.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have already taken several steps to achieve fairer lending by incorporating rental payments into creditworthiness and lowering down payment barriers for certain owner-occupiers looking to finance two to four units. In addition, the FHFA recently signed a letter of intent with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the fair enforcement of lending.