Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement in response to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announcing the release of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises) Equitable Housing Plans.

“For so long, homeownership has served as the principal driver of intergenerational wealth in America. However, discriminatory private and governmental policies and practices, such as redlining and subprime lending, have shut communities of color – particularly Black and Latinx families – out of their dreams of homeownership. Today, the homeownership rate sits at 44.1% for Black households and 48.4% for Latinx households, compared with 74.5% for white households. In line with the promise of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Enterprises’ newly released equity plans are a great first step in identifying and seeking to address these gross racial inequities and ensuring that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae prioritize innovative, equitable practices that benefit everyone.

“Since arriving in Congress, ensuring that people of color and other underserved communities get an equal shot at homeownership has been a top priority of mine. It is why I secured over $150 billion in fair and affordable housing investments in Build Back Better. It is also why I have introduced legislation that my Committee will markup next week to provide $100 billion for down-payment assistance to support first-time, first-generation homebuyers. I applaud FHFA Director Sandra Thompson for her leadership in this historic effort. As Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, I have long highlighted the Enterprises’ lack of attention to racial inequities, including the absence of a racial equity focus in the Duty to Serve Plans and Affordable Housing Goals, so I am pleased that for the first time ever, the Enterprises will be required to carry out these equity plans. Already, under the helm of Director Thompson’s leadership, the Enterprises have taken positive steps toward more equitable business practices, including Fannie Mae’s recent inclusion of positive rental payments in underwriting, the Enterprises’ appraisal disparities research, efforts to expand equitable access to Enterprise-backed refinancing during the pandemic, and more.

“While these plans are groundbreaking, FHFA cannot stop here. The agency must now ensure that the Enterprises not only fully implement their plans, but also properly track and make outcomes public to show these plans work and result in concrete, measurable reduction of racial inequity in the housing market and increase access to credit for communities of color. I look forward to working closely with Director Thompson and the Enterprises to advance a more fair and racially just housing and financial system for all.”

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Background:

  • On November 19, 2021, House Democrats passed more than $150 billion in fair and affordable housing investments in the Build Back Better Act.
  • On September 13, 2021, Financial Services Committee Democrats passed the Housing Title of the Build Back Better Act to provide more than $300 billion in funding for new and existing federal housing programs designed to provide a comprehensive response to our nation’s urgent housing needs.
  • On July 15, 2021, Chairwoman Waters introduced a groundbreaking legislative housing package to end homelessness, support first-generation homebuyers in purchasing their first home, and provide over $600 billion in equitable, affordable, and accessible housing infrastructure investments.
  • On March 10, 2021, Chairwoman Waters convened a full Committee virtual hearing entitled, “Justice for All: Achieving Racial Equity Through Fair Access to Housing and Financial Services.”
  • On January 27, 2021, Chairwoman Waters applauded President Biden’s Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.
  • On July 13, 2013, then-Ranking Member Waters led House Democrats in release of core principles on housing finance reform.

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