Watt Outlines Focus Areas for GSEs in 2017

Providing greater access to credit and affordable housing, supporting underserved markets and addressing language access issues will be key focus areas for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt said today.

In developing its 2017 scorecard for Fannie and Freddie, Watt said that the FHFA will ask the GSEs to intensify their efforts to help “move the access needle safely and soundly” with respect to credit access and homeownership. Along with this, Watt added that the enterprises would also look for ways to expand access to rental housing, and “to more fully support liquidity in the affordable segment of the multifamily market.”

FHFA is also expected to complete by early 2017 its “duty-to-serve” rulemaking, which will require Fannie and Freddie to support manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing markets, Watt said. In addition, the agency plans to continue seeking input from across the industry on how to better serve non-English speaking borrowers. “Our discussions to date have made it clear that there are many legal and practical concerns to be addressed in this area and that we must, therefore, proceed with caution,” he noted.