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Waters Commends FHFA Reversal of Unnecessary Trump-Era Refinance Penalty on Homeowners

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement on the FHFA reversal of Trump-Era refinance penalty on homeowners.

“I commend Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Thompson for her prompt and steadfast leadership in reversing the adverse market fee on July 16th, which is estimated to save homeowners thousands of dollars in additional costs associated with refinancing and will ensure that more homeowners can fully benefit from affordable refinance options. It is my hope that struggling homeowners can soon leverage the assistance Congress provided through the Homeowner Assistance Fund in the American Rescue Plan to take full advantage of the low-interest rate environment to lower their housing costs, especially as millions of homeowners remain behind on their mortgage payments. 

“Last August, under the leadership of Trump-appointed FHFA Director, Mark Calabria, the agency approved a 50 basis point adverse market fee on homeowners looking to refinance their mortgage loans. Implemented at a time when mortgage interest rates were at their most historic lows, this fee increase limited potential cost savings for homeowners who may have been struggling financially during the pandemic. The fee increase also limited access to more affordable mortgage terms for lower-income borrowers and borrowers of color who, on average, receive less favorable, more costly loan terms compared to higher-income, predominately White borrowers, and who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic crisis. In fact, early analyses of 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data show that the majority of loans purchased by the Enterprises during the pandemic primarily served higher-income, White borrowers in wealthier, majority-White neighborhoods. This reversal marks a much-needed change at FHFA to ensure the lending needs of borrowers are prioritized as we continue to work to stabilize families during the pandemic crisis.”

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