Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) released the following statement in response to the Federal Housing Administration's annual financial status report issued to Congress today:
"While I remain concerned about the health of the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF), I think it is important to balance these concerns with a recognition of FHA's crucial role in our housing finance system. At a time when the private market constricted, FHA stepped up, providing crucial liquidity and access to the mortgage market. All told, over the course of its 78-year history, FHA has helped millions of Americans achieve homeownership, with a particular focus on first-time and minority homebuyers.
"I believe that Congress should continue to closely monitor FHA's health, and while it's clear that the MMIF is in a vulnerable position, I also think that we should not act precipitously to limit loan availability, especially as the housing recovery remains fragile.
"Over the past three years, FHA has taken corrective action to address prior problems, including increases to premiums, ending the practice of seller-funded down payment assistance, and lender enforcement efforts. In fact, I am pleased that the report confirms what many of us believed -- that this Administration's actions beginning in 2009 have resulted in a book of business that is expected to yield a net positive return and help offset the anticipated losses resulting from loans insured between 2007 and 2009.
"I intend to work with the Administration, and my colleagues in Congress, to continue the improvement in the quality of loans insured by FHA that we've seen in the last few years, and I would also urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up the bipartisan FHA reform bill the House has passed over the last two Congressional sessions. I hope that we can continue a discussion of FHA during a wider housing finance reform debate during the next Congress."