FHFA begins its personal Workplace of Monetary Know-how

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is creating the Office of Financial Technology to serve as a centralized source of information to address emerging risks related to adoption and deployment of new digital tools.

“When used responsibly, fintech has the potential to improve borrowers’ experiences with the mortgage process by reducing barriers, increasing efficiencies, and lowering costs,” said Director Sandra Thompson in a press release. “The new office will help advance effective risk management as FHFA evaluates applications of fintech in housing finance, as well as in compliance, and regulatory activities.”

In addition to creating this office, the FHFA is soliciting public input on the role of technology in housing finance. It wants to understand the current landscape of technology innovation throughout the mortgage lifecycle as well as related processes, risks and opportunities.

It is an independent office within the FHFA’s Division of Conservatorship Oversight and Readiness and under the leadership of the Office of Governance and Strategic Initiatives, the Office of Financial Technology works closely across the agency leveraging cross-divisional expertise.

Submissions are to be made online with a deadline of Oct. 16.

The Mortgage Bankers Association will review the FHFA’s request for information and will likely plan to provide recommendations on behalf of its members by deadline, a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the new office will develop strategies for the entities the FHFA regulates — including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks — to advance housing finance fintech innovation in a responsible and equitable manner.

It will also facilitate the sharing of best practices among all stakeholders, including nonprofits, consumer groups and academia, and enable interagency collaboration between FHFA and other regulators.

Other regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have a similar technology office in place, “to better understand fintech and its implications for the financial markets and entities they regulate, and to support responsible innovation, fair competition, and consumer access to financial products and services,” the request for information noted.

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