FHFA to Revisit Affordable Housing Goals for FHLBs

After hearing from Federal Home Loan Banks that uncertainty about affordable housing goals is limiting their mortgage purchases from member institutions, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will revisit the goals, FHFA Director Mel Watt said today.

A 2010 FHFA regulation set a threshold of $2.5 billion in mortgage purchase activity after which the FHLBs would be subject to additional affordable housing requirements. “As I understand it, a number of the FHLBanks have stayed below the threshold amount because of their uncertainty about how the goals would be applied,” Watt said. “That is not a desirable outcome, either for your members or for serving the affordable housing needs of your communities.”

As a result, he said, “FHFA plans to consider alternatives that will not close off FHLBank members’ access to liquidity yet will meet the intent and spirit of the law.”