Castro on housing finance reform: ‘It’s time’

Julián Castro, the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, spoke to NAFCU Congressional Caucus attendees Wednesday about the importance of housing opportunities and ensuring access for small financial institutions to the secondary mortgage market.

Castro discussed legislation from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, on housing finance reform and acknowledged NAFCU’s concerns about the bill. He encouraged credit union leaders to continue to voice their opinions about reform efforts, saying, “I want to thank you for continuing to make your voices heard – it’s time to get this done.”

NAFCU continues to advocate for guaranteed access to the secondary mortgage market for credit unions, and for fair pricing based on loan quality rather than volume.

He called HUD “the department of opportunity” and said he would do his best “to help shape a housing market that gives Americans the chance to live out the American dream.” He lauded credit unions for promoting thrift and helping families to meet goals. “Credit unions are forces of good, and when your members succeed, our nation succeeds,” he said.

Castro also discussed efforts with government-sponsored enterprise Ginnie Mae to give small financial institutions more access to the secondary market. Further, he highlighted the FHA’s pilot program Homeowners Armed With Knowledge (HAWK). The program will provide Federal Housing Administration insurance pricing initiatives to first-time homebuyers who take advantage of counseling, which Castro said is known to reduce delinquency by roughly 30 percent for first-time buyers

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