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NAMB Supports Stimulus Package, Urges Congress to Go Further to Help Homeowners

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RISMEDIA, Feb. 1, 2008-The National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) released the following statement from President George Hanzimanolis regarding the economic stimulus package approved yesterday by the United States House of Representatives.

“The National Association of Mortgage Brokers supports the bipartisan stimulus package proposed by the White House and leaders of the House of Representatives and approved by the House on Tuesday. If enacted into law, these measures will ease the escalating financial crisis by taking immediate action to release mounting pressure on the housing market. In particular, increasing the loan limits of Federal Housing Agency (FHA) loan programs, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will send a lifeline to new and existing homeowners in need of stable and secure financing options, particularly in high-cost areas. The legislation temporarily increases, through the remainder of the year, the conforming loan limits for FHA and GSE loans to as much as $730,000, depending on an area’s median home price. We commend Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) and Chairman Barney Frank’s (D-MA) leadership on this issue, and we urge the Senate to take swift action on their stimulus package and include similar language.

“The current situation underscores the need for comprehensive GSE reform, and NAMB urges Congress to address comprehensive GSE reform as quickly as possible, beyond the confines of the economic stimulus package. In times of market stress, the GSEs have proven to be reliable sources of strength to the housing market. NAMB also supports broader GSE reform that provides a strong regulatory structure, under a single regulator, to protect the safety and soundness of the housing GSEs, while allowing them to respond to changing market needs. This reform should not be part of any stimulus package but rather a legislative effort to be accomplished this year. Congress should act now.

“NAMB supports modernizing the FHA program to make it a viable option for today’s homebuyers. NAMB also believes an increase to the FHA loan limits is long overdue, and urges lawmakers to make this increase permanent rather than temporary. Increasing the FHA loan limits will mean that the FHA program will help many more low- and middle-income homeowners living in high-cost areas obtain secure and affordable financing. But this is not enough. NAMB urges Congress to offer families greater access to the FHA program by streamlining the requirements for mortgage brokers who sell FHA loans. Adoption of a surety bond requirement for mortgage brokers who participate in the FHA program will allow many more small business mortgage brokers operating in low- and middle-income communities to offer FHA loans where they will have the greatest impact.

“We look forward to working with the Congress and the housing regulators to craft policies that will have long term benefits for American families and the housing sector.”

For more information, visit www.namb.org.

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