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HOMEOWNER DOWNPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AND RELATED ISSUES HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITY OF THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION JUNE 22, 2007 Printed for the use of the Committee on Financial Services Serial No. 110–45 ( U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON 37–562 PDF : 2007 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800 Fax: (202) 512–2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402–0001 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 5011 Sfmt 5011 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts, Chairman PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania MAXINE WATERS, California CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois ´ NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ, New York MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York JULIA CARSON, Indiana BRAD SHERMAN, California GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York DENNIS MOORE, Kansas MICHAEL E. CAPUANO, Massachusetts ´ RUBEN HINOJOSA, Texas WM. LACY CLAY, Missouri CAROLYN MCCARTHY, New York JOE BACA, California STEPHEN F. LYNCH, Massachusetts BRAD MILLER, North Carolina DAVID SCOTT, Georgia AL GREEN, Texas EMANUEL CLEAVER, Missouri MELISSA L. BEAN, Illinois GWEN MOORE, Wisconsin, LINCOLN DAVIS, Tennessee ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey PAUL W. HODES, New Hampshire KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota RON KLEIN, Florida TIM MAHONEY, Florida CHARLES A. WILSON, Ohio ED PERLMUTTER, Colorado CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut JOE DONNELLY, Indiana ROBERT WEXLER, Florida JIM MARSHALL, Georgia DAN BOREN, Oklahoma SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana DEBORAH PRYCE, Ohio MICHAEL N. CASTLE, Delaware PETER T. KING, New York EDWARD R. ROYCE, California FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma RON PAUL, Texas PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, Ohio DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois WALTER B. JONES, JR., North Carolina JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut GARY G. MILLER, California SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia TOM FEENEY, Florida JEB HENSARLING, Texas SCOTT GARRETT, New Jersey GINNY BROWN-WAITE, Florida J. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina JIM GERLACH, Pennsylvania STEVAN PEARCE, New Mexico RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas TOM PRICE, Georgia GEOFF DAVIS, Kentucky PATRICK T. MCHENRY, North Carolina JOHN CAMPBELL, California ADAM PUTNAM, Florida MICHELE BACHMANN, Minnesota PETER J. ROSKAM, Illinois THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan JEANNE M. ROSLANOWICK, Staff Director and Chief Counsel (II) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITY MAXINE WATERS, California, Chairwoman ´ NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ, New York JULIA CARSON, Indiana STEPHEN F. LYNCH, Massachusetts EMANUEL CLEAVER, Missouri AL GREEN, Texas WM. LACY CLAY, Missouri CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York GWEN MOORE, Wisconsin, ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota CHARLES A. WILSON, Ohio CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut JOE DONNELLY, Indiana BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois STEVAN PEARCE, New Mexico PETER T. KING, New York PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut GARY G. MILLER, California SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia SCOTT GARRETT, New Jersey RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas GEOFF DAVIS, Kentucky JOHN CAMPBELL, California THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan (III) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE CONTENTS Page Hearing held on: June 22, 2007 .................................................................................................... Appendix: June 22, 2007 .................................................................................................... 1 39 WITNESSES FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2007 Ashburn, Ann, President and CEO, Ameridream, Inc. ........................................ Burns, Margaret, Director, Office of Single Family Housing Program Development, Federal Housing Administration .............................................................. Fuller, Dr. Steven S., Center for Regional Analysis, George Mason University School of Public Policy ......................................................................................... Heist, James A., Assistant Inspector General for Audits, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ............... Osta, John F., Vice President, Gallinger Realty USA .......................................... Queen, Beverly, Homeowner ................................................................................... Richardson, Todd, Vice President of Legal Affairs, C.P. Morgan ........................ Shear, William B., Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, U.S. Government Accountability Office .............................................................. Syphax, Scott C., President and CEO, Nehemiah Corporation of America ........ 28 8 33 9 32 34 32 11 30 APPENDIX Prepared statements: Carson, Hon. Julia ............................................................................................ Maloney, Hon. Carolyn B. ................................................................................ Ashburn, Ann .................................................................................................... Burns, Margaret ............................................................................................... Fuller, Dr. Steven S. ........................................................................................ Heist, James A. ................................................................................................. Osta, John F. .................................................................................................... Queen, Beverly .................................................................................................. Richardson, Todd .............................................................................................. Shear, William B. ............................................................................................. Syphax, Scott C. ............................................................................................... ADDITIONAL MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE 40 41 43 54 57 62 70 73 76 82 100 RECORD Waters, Hon. Maxine: Statement of the American Enterprise Institute ........................................... Statement of the National Association of Realtors ........................................ Miller, Hon. Gary: Bloomberg News article dated June 5, 2007 .................................................. 114 120 124 (V) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE HOMEOWNER DOWNPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AND RELATED ISSUES Friday, June 22, 2007 U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITY, COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES, Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in room 2128, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Maxine Waters [chairwoman of the subcommittee] presiding. Present: Representatives Waters, Velazquez, Cleaver, Green, Maloney, Sires, Ellison, Wilson; Biggert, Miller, and Neugebauer. Also present: Representative Scott of Georgia. Chairwoman WATERS. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity will come to order. The Chair asks unanimous consent that Mr. David Scott, the gentleman from Georgia, and a member of the Committee on Financial Services, but not of this subcommittee, be allowed to participate in today’s hearing by delivering an opening statement and asking questions of the witnesses. Without objection, it is so ordered. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank the ranking member, Mrs. Judy Biggert, and members of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity for joining me today in this hearing entitled, ‘‘Homeowner Downpayment Assistance Programs and Related Issues.’’ Without objection, all members’ opening statements will be made a part of the record. The downpayment assistance programs have been the basis for audit reports by the HUD Inspector General as well as by the Government Accountability Office study issued in 2005. On May 11, 2007, HUD issued a proposed rule related to downpayment assistance programs that mimics a rule issued in September 1999 that was not finalized. Further, the Internal Revenue Service issued a ruling last year related to downpayment assistance programs and charitable organizations. I have not taken a position on downpayment assistance programs. The purpose of today’s hearing is to address public interest on this issue and to answer questions surrounding downpayment assistance programs that are offered in communities all over the country. While the proposed HUD rule published on May 11, 2007, changes the tenor and level of interest on the issue of downpayment assistance, I and other members of the subcommittee have questions about downpayment assistance programs. (1) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 2 Many of us have heard about the existence of downpayment assistance programs. Many of us have heard not only about the programs, but about the existence of downpayment assistance programs and our low/moderate income constituents’ reliance on some form of downpayment assistance to purchase a home. Others claim that this type of assistance has led to defaults because of inflated sales prices tied to homes. The Nehemiah Corporation of America, represented here today, happens to have been the first major, nationally recognized provider of downpayment assistance programs. As far back as 1997, Nehemiah Corporation began providing downpayment assistance to homeowners. In fact, according to some estimates, downpayment assistance is so prevalent in real estate transactions that between 2000 and 2005, 680,000 home buyers were supported by a gift from downpayment assistance providers. Interestingly, the Federal Housing Administration has routinely allowed downpayment assistance programs in support of its R203(b) program, and estimates indicate that from 30 percent to 40 percent of FHA mortgages have been supported by downpayment assistance. In 2003, legislative proposals were introduced in Congress to provide downpayment assistance grants to as many as 40,000 homeowners under the American Dream Downpayment Act. In addition, there is a provision in H.R. 1852, the Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007—which I sponsored and the Committee on Financial Services passed—that provides for zero downpayments for first-time home buyers. While downpayment assistance programs are not new, they have not escaped some controversy. Under the typical downpayment assistance program, a low- to moderate-income person or family is provided downpayment assistance as a gift toward the purchase of a home. The gift must not be a quid pro quo. The seller cannot provide funds to an organization. In providing downpayment assistance in exchange for downpayment assistance to the buyer, in essence, the nonprofit organization cannot be reimbursed for the downpayment assistance. Sellers, buyers, builders, and other parties with an interest in the transaction are also prohibited from providing downpayment assistance to the home buyer. The homeowner does not repay the gift. Downpayment assistance programs that meet these requirements appear to be legal. Downpayment assistance programs that circumvent these programs appear not to be legal. In an effort to further develop the public record on this issue, I have asked today’s witnesses to answer several questions. As such, I look forward to hearing the witnesses’ testimony on the issue of homeowner downpayment assistance programs. Now I would like to recognize our ranking member, Mrs. Biggert, for 5 minutes for her opening statement. Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and thank you for holding this hearing today on the use of downpayment assistance in FHA-backed mortgages. I will keep my remarks brief, as I know we have three panels of witnesses to hear from this morning. But before I begin, I would like to say, ‘‘Happy Homeownership Month,’’ to everyone; June is National Homeownership Month. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 3 I must disclose that in my former life I was a real estate attorney, and I learned, I think firsthand, about the difficulty that firsttime home buyers have had with presenting that downpayment check. However, I also saw firsthand the joy that homeowners had once they were handed the keys to their new homes; it was their piece of the American dream. This month, I have heard from a dozen of my constituents about the benefits of downpayment assistance, and quoting one of their letters, ‘‘Helping people become homeowners adds to the tax base, improves communities, helps children to do better in school, and helps people gain wealth through the equity in their homes. Home equity is a family’s biggest asset and is often used to fund school tuition and retirement. Homeownership should be encouraged for all.’’ I could not agree more. To overcome a barrier to homeownership for many low- and middle-income Americans, privately funded downpayment assistance programs began surfacing in the 1990’s. In 2003, this committee worked on legislation that resulted in a law which created the American Dream Downpayment Initiative, ADDI. I would also like to note that both my FHA modernization bill and the chairwoman’s FHA modernization bill contain a provision that authorizes FHA to offer zero downpayment insured loans. As a result of downpayment assistance, more Americans are becoming homeowners. Today, over 70 percent of Americans own a home. Administered as part of HUD’s Home Investment Partnerships Program, ADDI has helped thousands of Americans overcome the downpayment hurdle and has helped them to secure a home. I hope that we can discuss the downpayment assistance, ADDI, as part of the dialogue. The program has been administered in my district to a small extent, but particularly in my neighbor to the east, the City of Chicago, and its surrounding counties. We are here today to discuss the private sector’s role in helping Americans achieve the dream of homeownership, and I would first like to thank our witnesses today whose organizations have provided hundreds of my constituents with downpayment assistance, have helped them secure a mortgage, and have enabled them to own and stay in a home. I understand there is some concern about the downpayment assistance industry, or perhaps some bad actors in this industry, and downpayment assistance entities have been highly scrutinized by HUD, by the IRS, and by GAO in recent years. I understand that FHA data indicates that over one-third of homeowners receiving downpayment assistance have low FICO scores and high delinquency rates. In addition, my office has learned from a variety of sources in Washington and in Illinois that downpayment assistance may contribute to an inflated house price, resulting in a seller’s seeing more benefits than a buyer. I hope that we can address some of these issues during today’s hearing. Again, I thank the chairwoman for holding this important hearing, and I yield back the balance of my time. We must also be thinking about the environment because I see that there is an awful lot of green up here. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 4 I would like to recognize Mr. Cleaver for 5 minutes. Mr. CLEAVER. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I will hold my opening comments in the interest of time. Thank you. Chairwoman WATERS. Excuse me, Mr. Cleaver. Before you get started, I have been advised that a vote has been called, and we only have 7 minutes left on the vote. Let me beg your indulgence. Please do not start your opening statement. I would like to ask our witnesses to, if you can, remain here until we return. We have votes on the Floor. It should not be too long. How many votes do we have on the Floor? We have two votes on the Floor, so we should return in about 15 to 20 minutes. Thank you very much. [Recess] Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Cleaver had started on his opening statement, but he has not returned yet, and so I am going to recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Gary Miller, for a 5-minute opening statement. Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. This hearing, I think, is absolutely appropriate. Since I have been in Congress, one of the important endeavors I have taken on is the creation of homeownership; and one of the keys to personal wealth in this country is individuals being able to own a home, and the prices as they inflate over the years create equity for individuals who otherwise do not have that opportunity. It is one of the main drivers of the economy in this country. One of the main barriers in achieving the dream of homeownership, in any case, is the lack of accumulated wealth and disposable income. Rents are skyrocketing in this country. By the time people pay their rent and they pay for their food and they pay for their health care, there is really no money left for a downpayment, and that is one of the problems we have seen in this country. Over the years, some nonprofit organizations have developed programs to provide downpayments to qualifying families. Such programs target individuals and families who lack the necessary funds for a downpayment and other related costs, but who can afford the monthly payment, and they become homeowners. These downpayment assistance programs have proven successful in providing homeowner opportunities to low- and moderate-income families. These programs will allow families to enter homeownership years earlier than if they had to save the money the traditional way and acquire the downpayment on their own. HUD has permitted the use of these programs in conjunction with the FHA-insured loan programs. In fact, in 1998, HUD’s Office of General Counsel found that funds paid to homeowners from a seller-funded nonprofit were not in conflict with FHA’s guidelines that profit from further downpayment for assistance to sellers. Regulatory changes have been proposed by HUD that would basically eliminate the programs that we have here today, and I guess one of the problems I am having with this is—I have read a lot of information. In fact, I have read a lot of correspondence from HUD to some of these nonprofits back to 1999 that when some of the nonprofits were asking to be regulated in certain fashions, HUD was VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 5 saying, no, they did not think that was appropriate or necessary at the time. For a lot of the time we spend on this committee, we talk about homeownership. That is our focus, and we deal a lot with PHAs and government housing, and we get people out of government housing, people who are in Section 8. And we have come up with new programs to move people out of government housing, out of Section 8, so that we can bring more people in who need assistance. In fact, in 2003, we came up with the American Dream Downpayment Assistance Act where government comes in and provides downpayment assistance. Now, the problem I am having with this is that if it is okay for government, why is it not okay for the private sector? If underwriting is a problem, let us fix the problem. If we are concerned about appraisals, let us fix the appraisals. We have programs here that basically, from the information I have read, 85 percent of these loans are made to individuals who do not have any money for a downpayment. So these are not people who have a lot of disposable income. These are people who can afford to pay their rent, who are working hard in life, and they have an income, but they just do not have money to pay the closing costs and the downpayment. If 85 percent are performing, the last time I was in school, 85 percent was pretty good. If I look at the subprime market today and the problems we are having in the subprime, they are far worse than what we are facing in this program, and we have worked really hard to come up with a new proposal for FHA for zero downpayment. Now, that comes with oversight, with guidelines, with requirements, and restrictions, that have to be put in place to do that. Why can’t we do it here? Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, like we seem to be doing here, we are just closing our eyes and turning our head and saying, ‘‘Well, we are just going to eliminate the program,’’ and it is a program that when you figure the percentage of FHA loans that are made to a buyer Downpayment Assistance Program there are a whole lot of people in this country in homes who would not be in a home today; they would still be out renting some home that maybe somebody who came off of Section 8 might need to rent, thereby creating a situation where there are no available rental homes. People are moving into homes, and if they are moving into homes, 85 percent of these people have acquired wealth who did not have wealth before. I remember touring one of these nonprofits in 2000, and there were probably 40 to 45 women working in this nonprofit, and as I went through this place and talked to people—can I have an additional 1 minute, being as there is nobody on our side to speak? Chairwoman WATERS. You may have an additional 25 seconds. Mr. MILLER. 25 seconds. Every one of these women had been on welfare, and every one of these women owned a home. The majority of the loans made from this Downpayment Assistance Program were to minorities. These people had a dream of owning a home, but no opportunity. It seems like we can do better than just saying ‘‘no.’’ If there are problems, let us address the problems. If there are requirements, VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 6 let us impose the requirements, but let us not just throw a program out that obviously is benefiting hundreds of thousands of low-income people who otherwise would never have an opportunity to own a home. And I will have to talk later when I have a chance for questions. Thank you. I yield back. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Cleaver for 5 minutes. Mr. CLEAVER. Madam Chairwoman, I think I will forgo a statement in the interest of time. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Green for 5 minutes. Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and I thank the ranking member as well. Madam Chairwoman, I thank you for framing this issue for us. I also would like to thank Mr. Miller because I think that he has stated quite well some of the concerns that I desire to express. I do want to say, however, that we know that there are many persons who will inherit a legacy of poverty. They will not have the same opportunities that many others will have, but they do have the same hopes, the same dreams, and the same aspirations. I commend the organizations and institutions that have worked to assist them in fulfilling the American dream of homeownership. Homeownership does more than provide shelter. It causes persons to be in neighborhoods where they develop special relationships, where they have a greater degree of safety. The asset, itself, can be utilized for education. Many people start their first business with the equity in their home. It just means so much to give people the leg up out of poverty. So, as Mr. Miller has said, Congressman Miller, we should not end this program. We should amend it and make it work. We should not eliminate it. We can regulate it appropriately and make it work. We should show some degree of patience and understanding when it comes to the least, the last, and the lost, the persons who do not find themselves in the same station of life that most of the people in this room happen to enjoy. So I am honored that the Chair has assembled these spokespersons this morning to give us the intelligence that we need to preserve this program. There may be some who will differ with me, but I think, in the final analysis, most people in this country would like to see persons have the opportunity to own a home, notwithstanding the station in life that they are born into. I yield back the balance of my time. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Sires, would you like to have an opening statement for 5 minutes? Mr. SIRES. Yes. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, for having such, what I consider to be, very important hearings. I have been a mayor of a municipality where, of 73 percent of the student body, their families fell below the poverty level. It is very hard for those people, without any kind of assistance, to own a home. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 7 I have seen this program where it has helped boost those families whom we were able to help, and I cannot think that such programs will be eliminated for these people. When we are spending money abroad on all sorts of things, I think this is one of the things that we have to focus on at home—giving people the opportunity to own, to feel good. It just changes the whole family structure when people have a place that they can be proud of. I am surely a strong supporter. I know the chairwoman is, and the members here, and I am looking forward to seeing how we can make this program work better. This is taking these people who are really in need and bringing them to another level, and if I can assist a little bit, that is something that I will be very proud of doing for the rest of my life. So thank you very much, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Scott. Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and I really appreciate your kindness and generosity in allowing me to participate in this subcommittee meeting on such an important issue and timely issue as downpayment assistance. Owning a home is so central to the American way of life. It is so essential to a person or to a family in having a sense of selfworth. It is that instrument that helps start the cinder blocks for building wealth, for having dignity, and we need to keep it. We need to find ways to keep this, not of trying to find reasons or rationales for dismantling it. We need to keep this. We need to do more to make sure that we are reaching out to the people who need it and who need it the most. Downpayment assistance has helped those who may not have originally qualified for a home loan. It is so important, and it creates that instant equity for the homeowner. I am particularly interested in hearing from the witnesses on findings from the 2005 study conducted by the GAO in which outcomes of FHA loans with downpayment assistance programs were compared with those loans that were originated without this assistance. I understand that the GAO and certain nonprofit housing organizations have differing views on the outcome of this report. That is so essential, and I think it is important for this committee to hear from both sides on this issue. In addition, we are all concerned about our constituents and the rising foreclosure rates throughout the country, especially in Georgia and especially in the Atlanta metro area, which leads the Nation. So I will be pleased to hear your thoughts on the relationship and role, if any, between downpayment assistance and the subprime market. These programs have worked. They have been popular. They have been successful. I think that when we look at situations, there is no way we can look at perfection, because none of us is perfect. The world is not perfect. What we can look at and continually strive for is the goodness and decency in man. Nowhere is that more applicable than in making sure that this Downpayment Assistance Program continues and is strengthened. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 8 Having exhausted all of the opening statements, we will move to our first panel. I would like to welcome you to this committee hearing, and thank you for your patience. On Panel one, we have: Ms. Margaret Burns, Director of the Office of Single Family Housing Program Development, Federal Housing Administration; Mr. James Heist, Assistant Inspector General for Audits, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and Mr. Bill Shear, Director of the Financial Markets and Community Investment team, U.S. Government Accountability Office. I want to welcome each of you, and thank you for appearing before the subcommittee today. Without objection, your written statements will be made part of the record. Each of you will now be recognized for a 5-minute summary of your testimony, and we will begin with Ms. Burns. STATEMENT OF MARGARET BURNS, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION Ms. BURNS. Chairwoman Waters, Ranking Member Biggert, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting HUD to participate in this hearing. My name is Meg Burns, and I am the Director of Single Family Program Development for the Federal Housing Administration. I appear today representing FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery, who sends his regrets that he is unable to attend. I have been asked to testify on the recently published proposed rule which continues HUD’s longstanding policy of permitting FHA borrowers to rely on downpayment assistance from family members, employers, governmental entities, or charitable nonprofits, but clarifies that the funds cannot be derived from sellers or from any other party that stands to benefit financially from the purchase transaction. As you may know from previous public statements, and from testimony offered by the FHA Commissioner, our Agency has been concerned with seller-funded downpayment assistance for some time now. While well-intended, the programs have had a significant negative impact on FHA’s business for the last several years. Loans made to borrowers who rely on these types of seller-funded gifts perform very poorly. The foreclosure rates on these loans are more than twice that of all other home purchase loans insured by FHA. Moreover, FHA experiences higher loss rates from the sale of the properties associated with these particular foreclosures, a reflection of the overvaluation that occurs with these programs. The higher foreclosure rates represent a financial burden for FHA, but of greater concern, they hurt the families who lose their homes and the neighborhoods in which those homes are located. The core problem with these programs is that they disrupt the natural negotiations between buyers and sellers in a way that results in inflated sales prices and, thus, higher mortgage amounts. Seller-funded downpayment assistance programs flourish in weak real estate markets where sellers are less likely to get full asking VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 9 prices for their homes. These programs help them sell at a higher price than they would otherwise get. As such, the property overvaluation associated with these programs occurs in markets that are least able to accommodate pricing variations. The harmful effects of seller-funded downpayment assistance were highlighted in 2004 and in 2005 studies prepared by Concentric Consulting on behalf of FHA and GAO. In 2006, the IRS issued guidelines, stating that seller-funded downpayment assistance from sellers to buyers through self-serving circular financing arrangements is not charitable. So why is FHA proposing this rule, and why now? Prior to November 2006, the FHA publicly acknowledged the problematic nature of the seller-funded gift programs, stating on several occasions that these programs pose a higher cost and risk to borrowers and to the soundness of FHA’s insurance fund. However, the agency resisted the development of an outright prohibition of seller-funded gifts, pursuing instead an alternative FHA financing arrangement for borrowers lacking the funds for a downpayment. FHA sought legislative authority to eliminate the 3 percent cash investment requirement to offer cash-poor but creditworthy borrowers a safer, more affordable alternative to the seller-funded gift programs. It was our view that a 100-percent financing option would reduce borrowers’ reliance on seller-funded gift programs, an outcome that would be good for borrowers and for FHA. That said, we will continue to work closely with this committee to enact needed reforms for FHA, such as 100 percent or zero-down financing, as well as the reauthorization of the American Dream Downpayment Initiative. I want to conclude my testimony by thanking this committee for the bipartisan support and leadership it has shown on FHA modernization. I also want to point out that if enacted, both the legislation introduced by Chairwoman Waters and the legislation introduced by Ranking Member Biggert, would go a long way toward resolving the issue before us today by authorizing FHA to ensure a zero-down mortgage. Thank you for having me here, and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Ms. Burns can be found on page 54 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Next, we will have Mr. James Heist. STATEMENT OF JAMES A. HEIST, ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AUDITS, OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT Mr. HEIST. Chairwoman Waters, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. In 1998, less than 1 percent of all FHA borrowers received sellerfunded downpayment assistance from nonprofits. By 2006, loans with nonprofit downpayment assistance approached 25 percent of all FHA new business. The default and claim rates for these loans are twice as high as are loans without gifts, and this adverse performance has become a serious financial concern to HUD. HUD has VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 10 recently proposed regulatory changes that would establish specific standards for an FHA borrower’s investment in the mortgaged property. The Office of the Inspector General strongly supports the Department. My office has recently audited FHA lenders. For example, the Broad Street Mortgage audit found documents showing that sellers increased sales prices to cover the cost of donations to downpayment assistance providers. Correspondence between lender staff cited specific amounts needed from sellers to close the loan and the price markups required to fund the seller’s gifts. In 2002, at the request of FHA, we reviewed a statistical sample of over 1,000 FHA files to determine the percentage of borrowers who were receiving downpayment assistance from nonprofits and to find out if the downpayment assisted loans were more likely to default than loans without such assistance. The audit found that such loans have a greater tendency to default. We have not been the only voice of concern. The Government Accountability Office cautioned in a November 2005 report that the FHA needed to better manage the risk of FHA-insured loans with downpayment assistance. FHA’s actuaries have also commented on the impact of downpayment assisted loans for fiscal year 2005. Their conclusion: an almost $2 billion decrease in the estimated economic value of FHA’s insurance fund. HUD’s contractors conducted an independent analysis in 2004. Their conclusion: median house prices and seller contributions tended to be higher when gifts from nonprofits were present. In May 2006, the IRS issued a revenue ruling that nonprofit organizations that fund downpayment assistance programs with contributions from the property’s sellers do not meet legal requirements for tax-exempt status. The IRS is currently conducting a large number of investigations of organizations involved in such activities. Nonprofit downpayment assisted loans will continue to have a negative impact on the economic value of the FHA insurance fund and on FHA borrowers. FHA’s fiscal year 2008 budget states, ‘‘Because of adverse loan performance, the baseline credit subsidy rate for FHA’s single family program is positive, meaning that the total costs exceed receipts on a present value basis and, therefore, would require appropriations of credit subsidy budget authority to continue operation.’’ This is primarily attributable to the poor performance of seller-funded, nonprofit downpayment assisted loans. When the HUD Inspector General testified in March before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the committee was very concerned about having to fund a new appropriation to cover the shortfall. Since HUD has indicated that it would not seek appropriations, this burden will fall on all new FHA borrowers through increased premiums. The subcommittee will hear other testimony highlighting the growth of homeownership opportunities through nonprofit downpayment programs. This growth comes at a price. It is often the borrower who suffers the most when financed into a home at an inflated value because the sales price was raised to pay for the nonprofit gift. Borrowers are sometimes unable to keep current on their inflated mortgage loans and eventually lose their homes to foreclosure. To prevent VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 11 this, and to help address the looming budget shortfall, FHA should implement the proposed rule to end seller-funded nonprofit gifts. That concludes my testimony. I thank the subcommittee for holding this hearing, and I look forward to answering any questions the members may have. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Mr. Heist can be found on page 62 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Mr. Shear. STATEMENT OF WILLIAM B. SHEAR, DIRECTOR, FINANCIAL MARKETS AND COMMUNITY INVESTMENT, U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE Mr. SHEAR. Madam Chairwoman, and members of the subcommittee, it is a pleasure to be here this morning to discuss issues concerning downpayment assistance for home buyers. Making a downpayment on a mortgage can benefit both the home buyer and the mortgage provider. However, many families have difficulty saving sufficient funds for a downpayment and loan closing costs. In many instances, obtaining downpayment assistance from third parties, such as relatives and government agencies, can create instant equity and make homeownership affordable to more families. Largely in contrast to other key mortgage industry participants, the FHA allows borrowers to obtain downpayment assistance from nonprofit organizations that operate programs supported partly by property sellers, which I will refer to as ‘‘seller-funded downpayment assistance.’’ My testimony today is based on a report we issued in November 2005 on downpayment assistance used with FHA-insured mortgages. My discussion will focus on, first, trends in the use of downpayment assistance with FHA-insured loans; second, the impact that the presence of such assistance has on purchase transactions and house prices and; third, the influence of such assistance on loan performance. In summary, we found, first, the proportion of FHA-insured purchase loans with loan-to-value ratios above 95 percent; those that were financed, in part, by seller-funded downpayment assistance grew from about 6 percent in 2000 to about 30 percent in 2004 while the overall number of loans that FHA insured fell sharply. Second, seller-funded downpayment assistance can alter the structure of the purchase transaction in important ways. When home buyers receive such assistance, many of the nonprofits require property sellers to make a payment to the nonprofit that equals the amount of assistance the home buyer receives plus a service fee. This requirement creates an indirect funding stream from property sellers to home buyers that does not exist in other transactions, including those involving more traditional forms of downpayment assistance. According to mortgage industry participants, a HUD contractor study and our analysis, property sellers who have provided such assistance then often raise the sales price of the homes involved in order to recover the required payments to the organizations. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 12 Finally, turning to loan performance, our evaluation included, among other things, an analysis of the national sample of FHA-insured loans while we controlled for other variables affecting FHA insurance claims. Here, we found that the probability of claims was 76 percent higher for loans with seller-funded downpayment assistance than it was for comparable loans without assistance. The weaker performance of loans with seller-funded downpayment assistance may be explained, in part, by the higher sales prices of homes bought with this assistance and the home buyers’ having less equity in the transactions. In fact, the higher sales price that often results can have the perverse effect of denying buyers any equity in their properties and creating higher effective loan-to-value ratios. Due partly to the adverse performance of loans with seller-funded downpayment assistance, FHA has estimated that, in the absence of program changes, its single family mortgage insurance program would require a subsidy in 2008. Our 2005 report made recommendations, including a recommendation that FHA treat seller-funded downpayment assistance as a seller inducement and, therefore, subject to the prohibition against using seller contributions to meet the 3 percent borrower contribution requirement. Madam Chairwoman, this concludes my oral statement. It is really a pleasure to be here. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Mr. Shear can be found on page 82 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. I will now recognize myself for 5 minutes for questions. First, let me just try and clear up something with you, Ms. Burns, and you, Mr. Heist. The FHA did come to us regarding the formulation of our legislation and asked us to include in the legislation zero downpayments. That means that they would like to outreach and to service the same kind of people who are being serviced by the programs that we are here to discuss today, who may not be able to afford a downpayment. If the FHA is going after the same clientele, what is going to be the difference in the so-called ‘‘foreclosure rate?’’ I also want you to be more specific and give me some hard numbers on the foreclosure rate. I will start with you, Ms. Burns. Ms. BURNS. Thank you. It is an excellent question. We felt very, very strongly when we came to Congress with that proposal because we want to reach these exact borrowers, just as you said. We believe that these are the borrowers FHA was always intended to serve. However, we are putting them in a program today that gets them in trouble. We are putting them in harm’s way today. A 100-percent financing program is a way to reach them safely and affordably. That is what FHA is here for. What we know about these programs today is that the foreclosure rate is twice as high as it is for— Chairwoman WATERS. Excuse me. I only have 5 minutes. Ms. BURNS. Okay. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 13 Chairwoman WATERS. I want you to tell me— Ms. BURNS. Yes. Chairwoman WATERS. —how the FHA is going to have a program with no downpayments and not have the foreclosure exposure that you have described here in some detail. Ms. BURNS. That is right. The reason that these particular borrowers get into trouble is because these programs only work in weak markets. Sellers do not want to participate in this kind of a program in a market where they can get the full asking prices for their homes. What that means is, when borrowers receive one of these gifts and pay a higher sales price as a result and essentially finance their own gifts and get an inflated mortgage amount, they are already upside down. They do not have instant equity. They have no equity. Chairwoman WATERS. In essence, what you are telling me is, with the FHA program, there is going to be some assurance that they are going to know that the selling price of the home that is being purchased is of fair market value, that it is not going to be inflated, that it is going to be a price where, if the same person were to get a downpayment from these programs, he would be able to perform better with the FHA? Is that what you are telling me? Ms. BURNS. Yes. Absolutely. Chairwoman WATERS. How will they guarantee a fair market price on the purchase or on the sale of homes? Ms. BURNS. For every financing transaction, there is an appraisal performed, and the appraisal determines the appropriate value of the home, and that is exactly what would happen. Chairwoman WATERS. So am I to understand that they do not have appraisals in Nehemiah and in the other programs? Ms. BURNS. There are appraisals that are performed today. Chairwoman WATERS. Is something wrong with those appraisals? Ms. BURNS. I think we all— Chairwoman WATERS. Are they illegal? Ms. BURNS. No, absolutely not. They are not illegal. The appraisers are doing the best that they can. Chairwoman WATERS. What is going to be the difference between the appraisals that the FHA will have and the appraisals that are now working with these programs? How do you know that the price of the house will not be inflated? Ms. BURNS. There will not be any reason for price inflation. There will not be a nonprofit involved in the middle of the transaction providing the seller— Chairwoman WATERS. So the only time that you have inflated prices in the market is when you have a program like this, but they are probably never inflated? When you are dealing with the market and with the FHA or with other financial institutions, you never have inflated home prices? Ms. BURNS. I cannot speak to other types of transactions, but I can speak to this particular type of transaction. Chairwoman WATERS. So you cannot guarantee me that FHA contracts will not have inflated prices? Ms. BURNS. Yes, there will be no reason for an inflated sales price. That is correct. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 14 Chairwoman WATERS. But you do not know that there will not be. I am just trying to understand. Ms. BURNS. Right. I mean, we do not know that there will not be, no, but we know that there will not be a reason for it. We will be eliminating the cause that exists today. Chairwoman WATERS. So the reason for inflated prices, wherever it occurs, is that people want to make more money. Ms. BURNS. Oh, absolutely. Chairwoman WATERS. Wherever it occurs, that is the reason for inflated prices. You simply cannot tell us that the only place for inflated prices is in a program like this where you have the nonprofit who is, in some way, inflating the price of the sale of the house just to make the downpayment. I suspect that may be true, and I am not arguing that point. The point that I am arguing is that the prices of homes do get inflated. The appraisals, we hope, would always be good appraisals, but they are not. Those of us who are real estate people here on the panel know something about that. Okay. Do you have anything you would like to say about this, Mr. Heist? Mr. HEIST. Only that in conjunction with some of our audit work, we have seen examples of where there is pressure put on the home seller to raise the price of the property to cover the downpayment gift that the seller has to provide to the nonprofit. In fact, we have seen examples of where there is a list price put out by the builder of the home, and actually, the borrower is going into the closing, expecting that is going to be the price of the property, and yet, when they come to the closing, they find that the price of the home has increased to cover the cost of the downpayment gift that they are expected to provide to the nonprofits. So that is— Chairwoman WATERS. So what you are basically describing to me—as for the appraisers, as I understand it, when they go into an area, they get comparables, and what you are saying is, if Nehemiah or if one of these programs is involved with the sale of a property, that they may increase it beyond the comparable value of the other houses in the community; and the person who is selling does not know, and the buyer does not know, that they are all being duped. Mr. HEIST. I am only saying that the buyer may not be aware of the increase in the sales price. Oftentimes, these are first-time home buyers who have not gone through the transaction they are confronted with. Chairwoman WATERS. I see. All right. Thank you very much. I will recognize our ranking member, Mrs. Biggert. Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you, Chairwoman Waters. Mr. Heist, on pages 7 and 8 of your testimony, you present two cases there which, I think, are similar to what you were referring to with Ms. Waters where there has been the gift. But after you have gone through these two cases, you say that neither borrower was able to keep current on their inflated mortgage loans, and they eventually lost their homes to foreclosure. In the FHA modernization bills we have put in, as for the zero downpayment, there was one where, if you have the zero downpay- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 15 ment, then you have to pay more annually; at least in the bill that I have, we raised the premium without the downpayment. Would that same thing occur if the annual premium were raised by FHA? I mean, the property value in that case would not be inflated, would it? Mr. HEIST. I do not know if that would have an effect on the price, but it would certainly affect the amount that would be financed under the mortgage because you have additional mortgage insurance premiums which may or may not be financed as part of the mortgage, so it may not affect the price, but it could affect the amount of the mortgage, certainly. Mrs. BIGGERT. Well, there seem to be people who do not have the money for the downpayment, but—they have the money to meet the monthly payments just based on salary, but they do not have a savings to make the downpayment. I am trying to distinguish what the difference is between that and having somebody give a gift of the downpayment. Mr. HEIST. Well, one thing that would not be present would be the processing fee that the nonprofit charges to make the transaction. Mrs. BIGGERT. Okay. Can you give us an idea of what those charges are? Mr. HEIST. I believe they run around 1 percent, but I am not certain. Mrs. BIGGERT. Okay. Ms. Burns, do you know, or Mr. Shear? Ms. BURNS. The most recent figure I had heard was that the average is $500. Mrs. BIGGERT. So it is like another closing cost. Okay. Then, Ms. Burns, I understand that FHA data indicates that over one-third of homeowners receiving downpayment assistance have low FICO scores and high delinquency rates; is that true? Ms. BURNS. I am not familiar with those statistics. Sorry. Mrs. BIGGERT. Okay. Well then, you would not know, on the flip side, if two-thirds of homeowners receiving downpayment assistance have average or above average FICO scores and lower delinquency rates? Ms. BURNS. No. I am not familiar with those figures. Mrs. BIGGERT. Okay. Thanks. I yield back. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Let us just go right down and start with Ms. Velazquez. Ms. Velazquez, do you have questions? Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Ms. Burns, either you or Mr. Heist, can you tell me, in terms of the audit that found that 19.39 percent of the loans were in default for at least 90 days, how many of those at the end became foreclosed? Mr. HEIST. I believe, overall, there are statistics that suggest that roughly a third of 90-day defaults end up in foreclosure. One has to wait for a particular year’s portfolio to mature before you realize what the exact percentage is. Ms. VELAZQUEZ. How does that compare with a subprime foreclosure? Mr. HEIST. I do not have that information. Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Do you? VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 16 Ms. BURNS. No, I do not know the subprime foreclosure rate. However, the average foreclosure rate for these particular loans is approximately 16 percent. Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Ms. Burns, what is your response to those supporters of downpayment programs such as Nehemiah who argue that even if HUD’s audit conclusion is correct, this Downpayment Assistance Program serves low-income home buyers better than subprime mortgages, which have even higher default rates? Ms. BURNS. I would say that the FHA could serve them even better, which is why we would hope to have 100 financing— Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Traditionally, you have not. Ms. BURNS. Traditionally, the FHA, previous to the last 5 years, did serve low- and moderate-income families. It is true that over the last 5 years the trend has gone to subprime loans. That is very true, and that is of great concern to us. Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Well, let me just say this. I will recommend very strongly to both the chairwoman and to the ranking member that we study this further. The fact of the matter is that transformation and renaissance have been taking place in neglected areas like in New York. In New York, there were areas that were low-income communities, totally neglected. The Federal Government never really put any type of program to assist low-income earners to become homeowners. Today, there is a renaissance happening in those places, and it is because of Nehemiah’s presence in that community. So we need to study this further. I am not convinced, and I will strongly advocate to oppose this regulation. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Miller. Mr. MILLER. Thank you. I am usually the guy on HUD’s side, and I am really confused. I mean, I have been going through this paperwork for weeks. Mr. Heist, do you know who the bad guys are? You said you reviewed paperwork, and there were letters saying that the prices were inflated. Who is doing this? Do you know? Mr. HEIST. Only to the extent that we— Mr. MILLER. Well, no. If you read the stuff, then you know who the bad guys are; is that not fair? Mr. HEIST. Well, the focus of our lender audits is on the origination of the— Mr. MILLER. No. I only have 5 minutes. You told me in testimony that you read letters saying they inflated the appraisals, and they did this and that. So you have to know who they were. What did you do? Mr. HEIST. Our focus was on the— Mr. MILLER. No. What did you do? I do not have time. Did you do anything, ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no?’’ Mr. HEIST. To look at the— Mr. MILLER. Did you do anything to correct the problem, ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no?’’ Mr. HEIST. Not to— Mr. MILLER. Okay. Thank you. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 17 GAO, you came out with a study in 2005, and you made some legitimate—I am on your side. I am not chewing you out. You made some good recommendations. Did you guys do anything, ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no?’’ Ms. BURNS. No. Mr. MILLER. No, you did not do anything? I read a letter from Nehemiah back in 1999 to HUD, and it says, ‘‘You need to regulate our industry. You need to do these things.’’ HUD’s response was, ‘‘At the very least, we believe that several of your proposals may require the rather protracted and rigorous process of rulemaking rather than the simple issue of a mortgage letter, as you suggested. In any event, we will keep your letter and accompanying brochures as reference material should we elect to seek changes in the future.’’ So you have probably the largest downpayment assistance program saying, ‘‘Please regulate our industry so we do not have bad guys,’’ and under Cuomo’s charge—and Carter wrote this letter— he said, ‘‘No, we do not want to do anything.’’ Now, the problem I am having is, you have guys trying to put them out of business—and I love you guys, we are buddies. So you are trying to put them out of business. The IRS is trying to tax them to death when they did not make any money. I have a real problem with this. Ms. Burns, you said it is better with the zero downpayment. You set standards, and you guys require certain underwriting standards from an FHA loan, do you not, ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no?’’ Ms. BURNS. Yes. Mr. MILLER. You do. Good. Okay. Now, if you require standards for underwriting and standards for appraisal, you are telling me that they are better off with a zero downpayment on a $200,000 home than they are getting $6,000 from a nonprofit as a downpayment, only owing $194,000 rather than $200,000. That does not make sense to me. I was a developer for over 35 years. Sorry, it does not make sense. I know nonprofits who require the seller to certify in writing under penalty of perjury that they are not inflating this price at all, that this is the normal market price, so some of them are trying to do it. If some are not, let us fix them. You said this only works in a downward market; is that correct? Ms. BURNS. Yes. Mr. MILLER. What happened between 1998 and 2005? Were there any downpayment assistance programs processed through you, ‘‘yes’’ or ‘‘no?’’ Ms. BURNS. FHA— Mr. MILLER. Yes, there were. What was happening during 1998 to 2005? Was it a bad real estate market or was it probably the best real estate market we have ever seen in history? Was it better or worse? Ms. BURNS. The real estate market— Mr. MILLER. The real estate market was the healthiest market we have ever experienced in my lifetime. I am 58 years old; that is not young. So, if they are making all of these downpayment assistance programs in a marketplace where buyers are standing in VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 18 line to buy homes, I love you, but the argument does not hold water. Now, if you are saying that in the last year things have been tough in the marketplace, and buyers are sitting out there wondering who is going to buy their homes, well, okay. Let us talk about the last 12 months. Nehemiah received a letter on September 15, 1999 from HUD that said, ‘‘Please, let’s regulate our industry,’’ because they believed that there could be problems in the industry, that things could go wrong. If you guys are doubting an appraisal, you need to hold people accountable and fix it. If you are doubting underwriters’ standards, hold them accountable and fix it. But why not establish the same criteria for downpayment assistance as you do for zero down? Monitor it. Have oversight. Make sure the guarantees are established in law. But you cannot convince me that if I borrow $200,000 from you on a zero downpayment, and owe $200,000, that I am better off than if I owe $194,000, when somebody gives me $6,000 as a downpayment, and there are, maybe, some closing costs. So, somehow we have to fix this thing. If we can have the government’s help, we can sure allow the private sector to help if it does not hurt us at all. And if we have to introduce legislation, I am sure I can find a bunch of people on this to join me in drafting legislation to say, let us tighten the restrictions and let us tighten the requirements, but let us not throw the baby out with the bath water, and let these people do their jobs as you are doing your job, but let us work together. If they want guidelines and oversight, give it to them. If they are saying, hold the bad guys accountable, hold them accountable, but let us not, please, adopt a rule where you get in a fist fight with all of us over a program that we think has some viability. And if there is something wrong, Lord, believe us, we want to fix it. I think we are making a mistake. I yield back. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Cleaver. Mr. CLEAVER. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Let me, first of all, associate with the liberal comments of Mr. Miller. Mr. MILLER. I am buying you lunch today. We have to talk. Mr. CLEAVER. When the DPAs are granted, are they tax exempt? Ms. BURNS. Yes. The providers of downpayment assistance today are nonprofit 501(c)(3)— Mr. CLEAVER. No. No. No. No. When someone receives a gift of downpayment assistance, is it nontaxable? Ms. BURNS. I am sorry. I cannot speak to the tax side of it. Mr. CLEAVER. Mr. Heist? Mr. HEIST. I cannot either. Chairwoman WATERS. If the gentleman would yield, it is my understanding that if you receive a gift of $10,000 or more, it is reportable. I do not think it is necessarily reportable under $10,000. Is that your understanding, Mr. Tax Attorney Green? VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 19 Mr. GREEN. I do not claim to be a tax attorney, but I believe that is correct. Mr. MILLER. Would the gentleman yield for 1 second? I can directly respond to that. They are trying to not only tax the people who gave the money, where the nonprofits charge them a tax, but they can also go to the person who received it and tax him for a gift. Mr. CLEAVER. Yes, that is where I was going. Thank you. We are kindred spirits, Mr. Miller. I know the IG is an independent agency, or it is supposed to be. Did the IG’s office have any impact on this new rule? Was there any influence from the Inspector General’s office in HUD or on HUD that resulted in this new proposed rule? Mr. HEIST. Well, we have certainly expressed our concerns and have made that recommendation in the past, and as other studies have confirmed the results of our initial concerns, we have continued to make that recommendation, yes. Mr. CLEAVER. So then, you would know the number of non-FHA loans using downpayment assistance, and you would probably also know the ratio of foreclosures with non-FHA to those with FHA? Mr. HEIST. No, sir, I would not. Our jurisdiction is basically auditing FHA’s program. Mr. CLEAVER. Well, how do we know whether or not this is something that is horrible or how do we know that this is, you know, the way the market is moving? Mr. HEIST. Because one can measure the performance of these loans versus the rest of the portfolio. Mr. CLEAVER. But that is comparing apples and pineapples. I mean, the only accurate comparison, I think, and maybe you would agree, are the non-FHA loans using downpayment assistance that go into foreclosure and the FHA loans; isn’t that right? Mr. HEIST. That might be a legitimate comparison if one could make one. That is not something that we have done now. Mr. CLEAVER. That is the point I am making. That is precisely the point I am making, so— Mr. HEIST. What our initial work did back in 2002 was to compare downpayment assisted loans with loans that did not receive gift assistance. Mr. CLEAVER. Just stop right there. Let’s hang out right there. You can’t make a comparison like that. I mean, they don’t go together, don’t you agree? Mr. HEIST. Respectfully, I don’t agree with that. Mr. CLEAVER. Explain to me why those comparisons are legitimate. Mr. HEIST. The point is, the loans represented increased risk to the insurance fund above and beyond what you could expect with loans that either to the extent they are funded through gifts from relatives or don’t require a gift and actually meet the 3 percent investment requirement and are able to make a downpayment. Those homes have a greater degree of equity going into the transaction. Mr. CLEAVER. Okay, thank you. My last question, can you give me an idea of the cost to the Treasury of this benefit? I mean, how much revenue is lost because of the DPA? VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 20 Ms. BURNS. I don’t know. Mr. CLEAVER. Would you say negligible? Ms. BURNS. No. I would say from an FHA perspective that the concern is with the budget, and that if we continue to permit these kinds of programs, we would grow positive next year; we would need appropriations to operate next year. Mr. CLEAVER. But we don’t know how much they are losing. We just know that they need to go next year with appropriations, but— Ms. BURNS. I am sure someone in FHA’s budget office could provide you with those figures if you would like us to provide that after the hearing. Mr. CLEAVER. I would. It would seem to me that a major issue here is, I was expecting someone to say that we are losing $25 billion a year. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Neugebauer. Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Well, thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I have been in a markup. I understand that my good friend from California, Mr. Miller, had some interesting dialogue going on prior to my getting here, and so I will yield him my time to let him have some follow-up time. Chairwoman WATERS. Very good. Mr. MILLER. Thank you very much. Oh, welcome back. How do you propose preventing risk in the future associated with the new zero downpayment program? Ms. BURNS. There are several measures we will take. One is clearly on the underwriting side; with underwriting the core components that you look at are the credit history of the borrower— Mr. MILLER. Standards, that is good. And what else? Ms. BURNS. It would be primarily on the underwriting standards. That is really where we will— Mr. MILLER. Could you not apply this same standard to downpayment assistance? Ms. BURNS. Yes. Mr. MILLER. Could you enforce that standard? Ms. BURNS. Absolutely. Mr. MILLER. So you are telling me that it is possible to be certain on appraisals, it is possible to be certain on underwriting standards where the program would be safe and sound. That is possible? Because I am very concerned about whether we are making loans that put the program at risk. I don’t want do that. Based on your testimony, it is possible to do that? Ms. BURNS. It is possible to put— Mr. MILLER. Then why don’t we? Ms. BURNS. —more stringent underwriting standards. Mr. MILLER. Why don’t we? Ms. BURNS. Well, we are in the middle of a rulemaking process. Mr. MILLER. No, we are in the middle of saying, we don’t want these babies thrown out— Ms. BURNS. That is an indication of FHA’s position but— Mr. MILLER. I would like to propose that you listen to your testimony, and if it is possible—I think we should do it. So I am just VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 21 adding to the debate at this point in time; you haven’t released the rule. I am strongly suggesting, and I think many will echo this, that maybe that is the approach we should take, because that is not the approach I am reading of this coming down. Ms. BURNS. Right. And just so you know, we certainly hear you and that is what the rulemaking process is all about. Mr. MILLER. I love you, and I am glad. Do you know how many people in the last 8 years, who are lower creditworthy borrowers, who would not be in a home today if it weren’t for downpayment assistance programs? Do you have any idea? Ms. BURNS. I believe the figure is approximately 50,000. Mr. MILLER. I think it would be more than that. I know they made more than a million loans. Let’s say a million people out there wouldn’t be in a home today. There are 850,000 families in homes that are making the payments, they are not a risk, they would probably be renting an apartment somewhere. Let’s say some of those people could have put together the money for a downpayment, let’s say—is 15 percent a fair number? Is 20 percent a fair number? Throw me a number. Give me a number. I will go with it. Let’s say 20 percent. So let’s take 180,000, out of 850,000, might have gotten into a home, and then the other 15 percent that maybe you might come back and foreclose the other 5 or 6 percent; the others might work it out somehow. Some of the 15 percent may sell that house and even pay you off and make a profit. If they bought their home back in 2000, something happened that they can’t make the payment today, the numbers are there they are probably going to be able to sell that home and make a profit. Even if that market had inflated that sales price by 6 percent or 4 percent or 3 percent to come up with the downpayment, because when I read the charts on how much housing was inflating from 2000 to 2006, it doubled in most areas. So if they inflated to 3 percent, they will probably still make a profit. And that is where I am having problems: If it was possible to establish standards, and we didn’t establish standards, and GAO said, you should have established standards in 2005. And Nehemiah said in 1998–1999, do we need some standards? In all the paperwork I have back here everybody says, ‘‘no.’’ Why didn’t you implement some standards? Ms. BURNS. We decided internally that a better way to deal with this was to request additional authority to offer 100 percent financing programs. We have been pursuing that. Mr. MILLER. You have asked us to implement—I have been working for 3 years on the zero downpayment. I think it is a good idea. Because that was a concept that we couldn’t guarantee would happen, we did nothing with what was assumed to be a problem. I love Alphonso. Shame on us. If we had known there was a problem and we do nothing about it—and the problem is not everybody, I don’t believe that at all. There are some bad apples, and some doing a great job. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 22 So if we did nothing about the bad apples, and now based on language I am seeing in the proposed ruling, we are going to throw them all out, maybe we need to rethink it. Thank you. I yield back. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Let me say, Mr. Miller, before I call on Mr. Green, that none of us were told that is the reason why FHA wanted zero downpayment in the bill that we had put together. I feel a little bit duped. Mrs. Biggert was not told; I just consulted with her. You may want to look at the FHA bill and may want to save the trouble with pursuing the regs by just overlapping with legislation. I call on Mr. Green at this point. Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I want to thank Congressman Miller for showing some love this morning. You indicated that you love Secretary Jackson. I want you to know that I love you. Just to make sure that I spread the love around, I want all of the panelists to know that I love you too. What Mr. Miller has made clear, I shall now make transparently clear. You agree—I have to say this, sometimes when people finish, I don’t know whether they have said, ‘‘yes,’’ or ‘‘no,’’ so I am going to ask that you say, ‘‘yes,’’ or ‘‘no,’’ and then perhaps we will hear an explanation. But do you agree that price inflation was one of your primary concerns in instituting this new policy? Do you agree? Do you agree that a seller can cover the cost of downpayment and you can have a legitimate transaction, one that is not invidious, that is not onerous, do you agree that that can take place, ma’am? Or are you saying that every time a seller covers a downpayment, it is inherently evil? No. Ms. BURNS. No. Mr. GREEN. So do you agree that you can have a legitimate transaction where the seller covers part of the downpayment, assuming that the price is right, meaning the price has not been inflated? Do you agree? Ms. BURNS. Yes, that can happen. Mr. GREEN. Do you agree, sir? Mr. HEIST. I would say it is possible. Mr. GREEN. It is possible. If the price is not inflated, and the seller wants to give his money away, the law does not prevent people from giving their money to whomever they choose. Do you agree that a seller can give his money to whomever he chooses and pay a downpayment and that can be legitimate? Mr. HEIST. Well, the law addresses that— Mr. GREEN. Can you have a legitimate transaction with the seller paying a part of the downpayment? Mr. HEIST. I think that depends on how you evaluate legitimacy. Mr. GREEN. Assuming that the price has been properly staged, that there is no inflated price. Now, sir, if there is no inflated price, and the seller wants to give his money to someone, do you agree that he can? Mr. HEIST. Under current guidelines and interpretations, yes. Mr. GREEN. Sir? Mr. SHEAR. I would say the answer is ‘‘yes.’’ It is a question of facts and circumstances. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 23 Mr. GREEN. All the facts and circumstances are legitimate; the seller has a legitimate appraisal and the seller decides, I want to give some of my money to this buyer. Mr. SHEAR. Yes. Then it is a gift. It is a gift and, yes, that can happen. Mr. GREEN. That can be a legitimate transaction? Mr. SHEAR. Yes. Mr. GREEN. Listen, now, you have to realize people are listening to you and this makes sense to the other people here and to the people who may not be in this room who are listening. People with common sense can tell you that a seller can have an appraisal that is legitimate and give his money to whomever he chooses. That makes sense. Now, if this is the case, if you can have these legitimate transactions, the question becomes, why would we end a process as opposed to amend the process to make the process legitimate such that we can continue the process? Why would we want to eliminate as oppose to regulate? That is the question we are trying to get to, because truthfully, it appears to me that what you have done is overreact. It was not necessary to go to the extreme that you have gone to when you could have done some things in between and protected people who truly want to buy homes and don’t have downpayments. Now, given that we can have this legitimate transaction, the question becomes this as to your statistical information. In your statistical information, do you agree that it includes those loans where the persons were foreclosed on—the 16 percent that we are talking about, it includes those loans where you had persons who could not pay the inflated price, as well as persons who probably could not have paid a price that was not inflated? You see, you commingled inflated, and you don’t know whether the persons—let me give you an example since you are shaking your head, ma’am. Suppose some of these persons actually went into foreclosure and they had to file for bankruptcy. It may have been totally unrelated to the home, they could have had some other circumstance in life that they had to cope with. So you have those persons who could not have paid even a lower loan included those with the inflated prices. So you commingled them, have you not—if you do statistical analysis appropriately, you have to dissect and take out those that would have paid less and would have still lost their homes. Madam Chairwoman, you have been very generous with the time, and I want you to know that I truly do love you; you will get Christmas cards from me. Thank you. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Sires. Mr. SIRES. There is a lot of love going on here, but I just want to thank Mr. Miller for clarifying a couple of things in your questioning that I had some doubts about. What is the average mortgage payment for people who get downpayment assistance? Ms. BURNS. Monthly mortgage payment? Mr. SIRES. Yes. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 24 Ms. BURNS. I don’t know. It would depend on the loan amount. The average loan amount for FHA borrowers is approximately $130,000, an average payment for that would be—actually, I am not sure. I don’t know. Mr. SIRES. Somebody mentioned that 16 percent of these people are foreclosed, the people that you give loans to, something around that area. Ms. BURNS. The borrowers who rely on downpayment assistance from seller-funded nonprofit, correct. Mr. SIRES. Are there any programs for the people who fall in this 16 percent to assist them so they don’t lose their homes? Do these people maybe qualify for Section 8 so they don’t lose their homes? Do people on Section 8 qualify for first-time payment assistance? Ms. BURNS. These people would certainly receive loss mitigation services, but part of the problem is that once someone is in a position where the loan balance is substantially higher than the property value, there are fewer options available to them, which is why we are so concerned that these problems operate—or thrive, I should say—in weak markets. Foreclosure rates are higher when that event occurs. When they can’t get out from under that loan balance, they can’t sell, they can’t get out from under. Mr. SIRES. There are no assistance programs? Ms. BURNS. There are loss mitigation services and counseling services that try to help— Mr. SIRES. Monetarily, there is nothing? Ms. BURNS. Offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development? Mr. SIRES. Yes. Ms. BURNS. There are HOME funds that go to State organizations, CDBG money to go to State organizations that run rescue funds, but there is not a specific pot of money that is intended specifically for foreclosure prevention, no. Mr. SIRES. I was involved with tax credits, building affordable homes. When you build with tax credits, these people qualify for the downpayment assistance program after you are building affordable housing. Do you know that? Ms. BURNS. I am sorry, I don’t know. Mr. SIRES. If I build 50 homes for low income and these people qualify, are they entitled to get the money for the downpayment of those homes? Do you know that? Ms. BURNS. If they qualify for FHA financing? Mr. SIRES. Yes. Ms. BURNS. Could they rely on downpayment— Mr. SIRES. Even though it is a tax credit project? Ms. BURNS. I am not sure. I am sorry. Mr. SIRES. I think the public-private partnership is the way to go, in my eyes, in the future. If these people would need a home, have an assistance on the downpayment, even though it is a tax credit project, I think that is something that may be worthwhile exploring, to help these people get their homes. I don’t know why you wouldn’t qualify, if you qualify for an FHA loan for the downpayment assistance. You are not following me? VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 25 Ms. BURNS. No, I am sorry, I am not. But people who qualify for FHA financing can rely on— Mr. SIRES. They automatically qualify for the downpayment assistance. Ms. BURNS. Right. I am just not familiar with tax credits in owner occupancy scenarios, only in rental development. So I am sorry, I am not really sure. Mr. SIRES. There is a problem out there, at least in the State that I come from, and I know some of the other States also have it, where you build affordable housing. But many times the problem is, you are trying to find people who need homes, but again they can’t afford the downpayment. And it is not so much the monthly payment, because I think the average mortgage for those is something like $800, $875. So I think that is something we might want to work on to qualify people under these programs. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Wilson. Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Ladies and gentlemen who are testifying here today, I am one of the Representatives from the State of Ohio where we have the absolutely terrible reputation of leading the Nation in foreclosures. Somehow, some way, we are going to find solutions to these problems and I believe that not necessarily your group that is here today, but other Federal regulators that we have talked with—and that is the OCC, the FDIC and the Fed—it just seems to be sort of a disconnect. I think the reason there is a disconnect, it is not the banking community that are these predators. It is really the secondary mortgage people that are causing it, and I am not sure how, Madam Chairwoman, and what we can do, but it is certainly going to change. Last year, when I was in the Ohio senate, we did senate bill 185, which was a beginning, and we identified one of the problems with some of the appraisals that were going on. And I recently introduced a bill that says that we won’t have favoritism, but rather the appraisers will be distinguished by a draw, where we had copies of e-mails, ladies and gentlemen, where the loan generator had emailed to the appraiser the number he had to hit to get the loan. So that is the kind of thing that we can’t have. And one of the things my colleague from New Jersey was saying was about the homeowner downpayment assistance program. Couldn’t that be a connecter, that if a person would be able to qualify, Madam Chairwoman, for the downpayment assistance, wouldn’t that help validate the value of that home and the fact that it wouldn’t be overappraised. That would be a question I have to you. In other words, if someone applies for downpayment assistance, I would assume that would be scrutinized so that they were not buying something that was overly inflated; is that correct? Ms. BURNS. Yes. Mr. SIRES. Is there anything that we can do that will make sure that those—in other words, I just get the feeling, as a relatively VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 26 new legislator here, with 6 months, that we are just not connecting the dots. I think that everybody’s interested in the oversight that needs to be done so that we in Ohio, and certainly in the Nation, don’t continue to have these predatory lendings and have people who are just victims of certainly the educational process, but I believe the initiative in this committee is to try to connect the dots so that we make sure that we are protecting people who in many cases just don’t understand what they are going through, how we can get more people into homeownership. And I think that is where—it comes back to the opportunity for the downpayment program. So those are the kinds of things, at least that I am hearing, and I look forward to learning more about. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Scott. Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Ms. Burns, would you explain the proposed HUD rule that you are proposing to eliminate regarding downpayment? Ms. BURNS. Yes. The proposed rule frankly clarifies that FHA does permit downpayment assistance from a variety of sources. However, the funds cannot be in any way derived from the seller or another party to the transaction who will financially benefit from that transaction. Mr. SCOTT. Does this rule eliminate the downpayment assistance program? Ms. BURNS. This rule would prohibit downpayment assistance that comes from a source that is related to the seller or from any other party to the transaction. Mr. SCOTT. But does it eliminate the downpayment program? Ms. BURNS. No. Mr. SCOTT. Okay. So what are the exact stipulations behind the program? Ms. BURNS. Well, downpayment assistance providers can not continue to provide assistance to other borrowers, those who receive funds from the sellers. For FHA borrowers, they can only receive downpayment assistance from parties where there is not seller money involved or money from any other party to the transaction. Mr. SCOTT. I want to try to get it sort of plain where I can understand it. So, first of all, the proposed HUD rule does not or has no plans to eliminate the downpayment assistance program? Ms. BURNS. No. Mr. SCOTT. How are individuals chosen to participate in the downpayment program? Ms. BURNS. Are you referring to the seller-funded downpayment programs that exist today? Mr. SCOTT. The program that the rule does not eliminate. Ms. BURNS. For FHA borrowers, FHA makes it possible for them to rely on downpayment assistance from any source, but there is not a particular program for which they are eligible. We don’t deem them eligible to receive downpayment assistance. It is a personal VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 27 choice on the part of the borrower to go out and seek some form of downpayment assistance. Mr. SCOTT. So there are no requirements, no requirements that are there to make a person eligible? I am looking for reasons why this person is chosen to participate in the program. Ms. BURNS. Right. No, no, FHA does not have criteria for eligibility. Mr. SCOTT. What role is the downpayment program playing in the subprime market? Ms. BURNS. I don’t believe any role today. I believe on the subprime side, when people need 100 percent financing, they get a first and a second mortgage or they get a full 100 percent financing product. Mr. SCOTT. Now, should your rule go through, how will this affect those individuals in the process now of receiving downpayment assistance? Ms. BURNS. It would not. We would obviously recognize all borrowers who had signed a sales contract prior to an effective date for the rule to take effect so that anyone who was in the process of purchasing a home and financing that home, they would not be affected. Mr. SCOTT. So your proposal rule changes are retroactive? Ms. BURNS. Proactive. It would only be for those transactions that occur in the future. Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Are there any plans in place—I know you said this will not eliminate the program, but are there any other plans in place that could very well take the place of this program? Ms. BURNS. I don’t know if you call it a ‘‘plan,’’ but there is a hope that FHA will offer a 100 percent financing product of its own. Mr. SCOTT. Why are my constituents calling me very concerned? Why are they saying to me that you are proposing in this rule to eliminate the program? And when I ask you the question, you say you are not eliminating the program. Where is this misunderstanding? Ms. BURNS. I understand that there is a campaign of some misinformation out there to try to stop FHA from moving forward with this rulemaking process. And I would also say that the rulemaking process is actually beneficial for parties who feel that the rulemaking is inappropriate. This is an opportunity for parties to comment to FHA, to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to make substantive constructed proposals for alternative regulatory fixes. This is an opportunity for that to take place. The campaign of misinformation won’t necessarily do that. It is really through the rulemaking process, through those protocols that a change could occur. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. I would like to thank the panel for your testimony here this afternoon and a question has been asked of me about the possibility of extending the rulemaking process. As I understand it, you have until July 10th to give comments; is that right? Ms. BURNS. That is right. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 28 Chairwoman WATERS. What is the possibility of extending that another 30 days? Ms. BURNS. I am not an attorney, but we can certainly look into that and let you know. Chairwoman WATERS. Would you please get back to me early next week about extending that while we talk more. We thank you for being here. The Chair notes that some members may have additional questions for the panel which they may wish to submit in writing. Without objection, the hearing record will remain open for 30 days for members to submit written questions to these witnesses and to place their responses in the record. Chairwoman WATERS. Panel One is now dismissed, and I would like to welcome our second panel. I am going to combine the second panel and the third panel. I am pleased to welcome our distinguished second and third panels of witnesses. Our first witness will be Ms. Ann Ashburn, president and chief executive officer, AmeriDream, Incorporated. Our second witness will be Mr. Scott Syphax, president and chief executive officer, Nehemiah Corporation of America. Our third witness will be Mr. John Osta, vice president, Gallinger Realty USA. Our fourth witness will be Mr. Todd Richardson, vice president of legal affairs, C.P. Morgan. Next, we will have Dr. Steven Fuller from The Center for Regional Analysis, George Mason University School of Public Policy. And, finally, we will have Ms. Beverly Queen. Would you please join us at this end of the table? I wanted to make sure that we got everyone in. With that, Ms. Ashburn, would you please begin with your testimony for 5 minutes. STATEMENT OF ANN ASHBURN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMERIDREAM, INC. Good morning, Chairwoman Waters, and Ranking Member Biggert. Thank you for your work in increasing and supporting affordable housing policy and the opportunity to testify today. My name is Ann Ashburn, and I am president of AmeriDream, a 501(c)(3) organization that increases homeownership possibilities for the underserved. AmeriDream was established in 1999 and is now one of the largest affordable housing nonprofits in the country. I ask this committee to bear in mind one proposition: Downpayment assistance works. I appreciate the comments you made earlier and I hope the added comments will support and affirm your earlier comments. We have educated 61,000 home buyers, counseled 1,200 people in foreclosure prevention, built and committed over $30 million to affordable housing projects, and have provided downpayment assistance to over 200,000 lower-income home buyers in every congressional district in the United States. Our gift recipients are lower-income individuals including minorities, legal immigrants, women-headed households, and firsttime home buyers. We are not subprime lenders and we are not a lender. No one disputes that DPA programs have assisted hundreds of thousands of lower-income families. No one questions whether the beneficiaries of these programs have received every penny prom- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 29 ised, and no one doubts that these programs have lifted homeownership rates to record levels, particularly among minority groups. HUD itself has used our downpayment assistance program when selling its properties. This is a new charitable sector, barely a decade old, and it has experienced significant growing pains. AmeriDream and Nehemiah here today have recognized that the program is not perfect, and we have aggressively sought guidance from HUD and the IRS. Unfortunately, that outreach has been rebuffed, and policies drafted without our input which seek to shut the program down. I respectfully suggest to this committee that such a result would be disastrous for the housing market, for the families we serve, and for the major work that this committee does to promote homeownership for all Americans. I would like to take a moment to address a few points that came up and clarify and reaffirm your understanding. Appraisals: claims have been made that, using DPA, lead to overvalued property. The fact of the matter is, all FHA homes have HUD-certified appraisals. We have long recognized that the appraisals were an issue with DPA as well as the entire lending industry. We proposed a system of a line draw similar to the Veterans Administration. Unfortunately, HUD ignored our suggestions. However, we commend Congressmen Wilson and Clay for their bill on appraisal reform and for taking the steps to restore the integrity in the appraisal process. The claim rates: The DPA claim rate has been consistently overstated. Page 10 of the GAO study today shows a true national claim rate in figure 2. Loans seasoned 3 and 5 years have a 94 percent and 91 percent success rate. DPA-assisted loans should be compared to other assisted loans, particularly family-assisted loans. These are both groups that need help with the downpayment. When you compare these groups, there is only a 1 percent difference in the claim rate. This 1 percent allows home buyers who do not have family wealth to become homeowners. Fund insolvency: The assertion that the downpayment assistance program is primarily responsible for potentially making the FHA fund insolvent is inaccurate. GAO studies in 1990, 1998, and 2002, to name a few, have cautioned that if the market slowed down, and the private sector became more active, for instance, the insurance fund would be in danger. We have seen subprime loans reduce FHA’s market share. In times of low house appreciation, such as today, foreclosures are more likely to occur and would impact the fund. GAO also determined that HUD did not have the ability to reliably estimate or evaluate the full impact of policy changes on the fund, and HUD relaxed its underwriting standards to increase homeownership—all actions that will impact the fund. All of these issues have contributed to the proposed HUD rule which, if implemented as drafted, will eliminate DPA. We oppose the rule because the program works and the related issues can be addressed through specific policy adjustments, be- VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 30 cause requests to HUD have gone without action for the past 10 years. Finally, one of the most alarming statements about DPA came from comments from HUD officials in which they suggested that despite public comment, they were determined to implement the final rule. This is alarming because over here we have 7,000 comments that have been received in support of DPA and requesting HUD to withdraw the rule. Only 16 comments are in favor of the rule. [The prepared statement of Ms. Ashburn can be found on page 43 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Our next witness is Mr. Scott Syphax. STATEMENT OF SCOTT C. SYPHAX, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEHEMIAH CORPORATION OF AMERICA Mr. SYPHAX. Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member Biggert, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. I am Scott Syphax, president and CEO of Nehemiah Corporation of America, the oldest of the downpayment assistance providers under discussion today. Since our inception, Nehemiah has made $909 million in downpayment assistance grants to over 228,000 families across the United States. When I joined Nehemiah 7 years ago, it was because I believed in the mission of homeownership among the traditionally underserved, and helping those folks who had been locked out, whether it was because of their recent immigration to this country, the fact that their families never received their 40 acres and a mule, or just that they were locked out of opportunity because of family circumstance, that this model brought promise, hope and success to the ability of people to reach the American dream. The Nehemiah program was birthed in a way that I think is important for all of you to hear. It was birthed by a grassroots movement. A small black Baptist church in Sacramento, California, Antioch Progressive Baptist Church, put up a pool of $5,000 because a local city councilman had found someone who wanted to help 160 low-income renters become homeowners and couldn’t figure out a legal way to do it. When he moved forward and was able to come up with the program to fix that problem, a young man by the name of Don Harris sought out HUD’s assistance in establishing a pilot project. That pilot project has now grown into the movement that this committee is discussing today. However, along the way, groups like AmeriDream, Nehemiah, and others have sought out HUD’s partnership and assistance in taking care of the issues that we ourselves brought forward to the government and tried to address in a way before they became a large outstanding issue, but as Congressman Miller pointed out, to no avail. We stand before you here today because of the fact that we are threatened once again, the second time in a decade, with an extinction. Whose interest does it really serve? Well, it is certainly not the almost 1 million families that we have served collectively in the time this program has been around. It certainly does not serve the VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 31 communities where those homeowners pay taxes and strengthen the very civic fabric of the cities and towns that they live in. In fact, it is ironic that today, in the middle of National Homeownership Month, we would be in a place where HUD would be proposing the extinction of this program. I have said to many, mend it, don’t end it, and the reason is, whatever outstanding issues there are, there is a willing community that wants to fix the problems, only our arms are not long enough to box with HUD’s god. So, therefore, we come before you today humble and thankful for your interest in this issue and ask once again, please assist us in assisting the dreams of the millions of families yet unserved, not only by this program, but by the programs that this committee has authored through the reformat. We look forward to that competition. We look forward to HUD having additional tools, but we too can play a role. It is ironic that at this very moment HUD would immediately eliminate 40 percent of its business today. No, it does not stand to rational reason. I will close by asking all of you to consider a question that, frankly, I borrowed from one that Ronald Reagan asked in the 1980 election, but I have rephrased it in my own way. And that is, would America and the million or so families that downpayment assistance has served because of organizations like AmeriDream, and Nehemiah, and others, would America and those families be better off today if we had never come into existence and all those people were renters? If you believe the answer is ‘‘yes,’’ then kill us, allow HUD to do their deed and take us out. But if you agree with us, that in fact America and those families and the communities they reside in are better off today because of their existence and the help provided, then please help us to continue to help others. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Mr. Syphax can be found on page 100 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Witnesses, I am going to ask you to keep your testimony very tight and reduce it to 3 minutes, because we are going to have to go and vote. If we leave, we will be gone for almost an hour because we have 50 minutes’ worth of votes, and I know you don’t want to sit here and wait another hour for us to come back. So I will get Mr. Osta started right now. Mr. MILLER. Madam Chairwoman, based on HUD’s testimony, I think this should be introduced into the record: ‘‘June 5th, Bloomberg, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will ban a downpayment assistance program for home buyers over the objection of nonprofit groups. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said, ‘I am very much against it.’ Jackson said in the interview, ‘I think it is wrong and I don’t want this to continue to be a partner.’ Jackson said in the interview that HUD intends to approve the new rule by the end of the year, even if the agency receives critical comments.’’ That is germane to our discussion earlier. Chairwoman WATERS. Without objection it shall be submitted into the report. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 32 Mr. Osta. STATEMENT OF JOHN F. OSTA, VICE PRESIDENT, GALLINGER REALTY USA Mr. OSTA. Thank you for allowing me to be here. I have submitted my remarks, but after listening to representatives of HUD, I did want to reiterate that I am affiliated with a real estate company. I have no affiliation with any of the downpayment assistance programs. In my whole career, I have had the same dream as many of you have had, and that is trying to provide affordable housing for all Americans. This program, when first introduced to our company and to me, certainly met those criteria. The only comments that I would like to make to stay within your timeframe is that I was sort of almost breathless in listening to some of the comments that came from HUD about the facts and figures of what buyers and sellers do in this program. Some of it was inaccurate, in some cases very inaccurate. The fact of the matter remains that a seller has a right to sell a property and a buyer has a right to buy a property. It is a negotiated item. All of the statements made from some of the HUD representatives really are not factual in the real world, and I just wanted you to be aware of that, and also state that you and your committee have said a lot of things that are in my testimony, so I really am pleased to hear what is happening. My concluding remark would have been to you, please do try to bring these parties together. Congressman, you said it, I had it in my mind: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water; let’s keep this going. [The prepared statement of Mr. Osta can be found on page 70 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Richardson. STATEMENT OF TODD RICHARDSON, VICE PRESIDENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS, C.P. MORGAN Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you, Chairwoman Waters, and members of the subcommittee, for the invitation to speak today regarding downpayment assistance. Also, thank you for the robust discussion that occurred with Panel One; most of those points were also in my document, and I can truncate my discussion. There are many different opinions on downpayment assistance that I will allow others to more eloquently state. However, as a home builder that serves the first-time home buyer market, I hope to provide a unique perspective on the topic of the downpayment assistance program, the impact it has had on our homeowners, and the implications the proposed HUD rule would have, effectively eliminating downpayment assistance. Over the last 24 years, C.P. Morgan has had the pleasure of building over 23,000 homes for first-time home buyers. Nearly half of our home buyers are minorities. Nearly one-third of our home buyers utilize downpayment assistance, namely the Nehemiah program, and have done so with great ease. Downpayment assistance VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 33 clearly has enabled otherwise underserved groups the opportunity to take part in the American dream. C.P. Morgan’s mission and statement is to provide more people with more home than they have ever dreamed possible. Downpayment assistance has served as a useful tool to help C.P. Morgan achieve its vision. With that said, it is important to understand what will happen if and when the proposed rule goes into effect and downpayment assistance is eliminated. Thousands of our customers, specifically minorities and first-time home buyers, will be precluded from experiencing the dream of homeownership. With the appropriate dissolution of the subprime market, these home buyers will be left with few funding options and will be forced to continue renting. Furthermore, with one-third of C.P. Morgan, there will be an adverse impact on our employees, subcontractors, and suppliers. This impact will occur throughout the Nation and is not C.P. Morganspecific. Remember that over 100,000 homeowners utilized downpayment assistance in 2006; imagine the national impact caused by eliminating 100,000-plus home sales annually. All of this discussion raises questions that I trust HUD will respond to, and it is quite evident you all have your eyes on: Number one, is a reformed downpayment assistance program possible using the experience we have gained over the last 10 years? If it is determined that downpayment assistance should be eliminated, is it appropriate to put the rule into effect without first having an alternative mechanism? Would it be prudent also to note the fate of the FHA Modernization Act? And an issue that hasn’t been necessarily been spoken about here, but with downpayment assistance representing 40 percent of FHA loans, what will happen to the FHA reserve fund if downpayment assistance is eliminated? Chairwoman WATERS. I am sorry to do this to you, but if we want to finish this before we take those votes, I have to move to Dr. Fuller. Mr. RICHARDSON. I understand. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Richardson can be found on page 76 of the appendix.] STATEMENT OF DR. STEVEN S. FULLER, CENTER FOR REGIONAL ANALYSIS, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY Dr. FULLER. Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, and distinguished members of the subcommittee. You have my comments. There are a couple of points I would like to make in the few minutes I have. We have just completed a study called, ‘‘A Comprehensive Analysis of Nonprofit Downpayment Assistance.’’ It hasn’t been released yet, but we will make sure you get a copy. One of the issues that we undertook in this analysis was to look at the criticism of the nonprofit downpayment assistance programs. The opponents of the NDPA industry based their arguments primarily on three studies; we heard from those today. There are two VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 34 important issues that I think are important to bring to your attention because I have heard statistics used here this morning that just aren’t correct. It is useful to recognize that the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General’s report only looked at four cities. It is not a national study; its results cannot be applied nationwide. The results of the GAO study provide more rigorous analysis, but they also have some problems in them. And all of the comparisons today, the comparisons were made between the total industry nationwide and the recipients of the downpayment assistance—two different groups. They also have another group. There are other kinds of downpayment assistance—from family, friends, parents, and that kind of thing. We look at these differences. Nationwide it is a 1 percentage difference in the default rate between the two groups. One last point that I think is very important: The claim rates quoted here, the 15 percent, are from three cities. That isn’t a national statistic; it is only 8 percent, 1 percent more than similar recipients. [The prepared statement of Dr. Fuller can be found on page 57 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. We’ll have your written testimony to review. I would like to get to Ms. Beverly Queen, the homeowner, before we go to vote. STATEMENT OF BEVERLY QUEEN, HOMEOWNER Ms. QUEEN. Yes, Madam Chairwoman, and distinguished committee members. Thank you for taking the time to hold this hearing on such an important issue. I grew up in a housing project in Washington, D.C., with my eight brothers and sisters. My mother was a high school graduate who supported our family on roughly $1,500 a year, as a sole breadwinner. When I heard about the downpayment assistance program, I was living in a basement in Section 8 housing with my four children. I knew it was time to get out when my eldest son, then 17, was robbed by a group of kids in our neighborhood for his tennis shoes. He also started falling in with the wrong crowd and getting into fights. I was worried for the welfare of my youngest son, then 12, because I didn’t want him to follow the same path. I prayed to God to take us away from that place. At that time my husband, who was still my boyfriend back then, and I worked full-time jobs to afford our $795 a month rent and tried to make ends meet, but we were not able to save any money for a downpayment on a house. Nevertheless, we knew that owning our own home was the answer, so we went looking for property. When we found our dream home, the real estate agent introduced us to a lender who was familiar with the Homeowners Assistance Program. They walked us through the process, and we were comfortable when we decided to go with the Downpayment Assistance Program through AmeriDream. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 35 One of the best parts of the process was learning how to budget our income and save. AmeriDream provided us with so much information and told us about things that we never knew before. Our home has four bedrooms with a full dining room, kitchen, sitting room, and a family room, on a half acre of land in Fort Washington, Maryland. It borders government land, so there are often cows grazing, much different than our basement view, which was a brick wall. When we bought our home in 2000, it cost $173,000. This was a lot of money actually for many people in our country, but for Washington, D.C., it was cheap. I am happy to say that the value of my house has doubled in the 3 years that I have lived there. And I am so also proud to say that we have never been late on our mortgage payment. Without a downpayment assistance program like AmeriDream, I know in my heart that I would have lost my dream home, and in the time it would have taken for me to save up for my own house, it would have been sold, plus I would have needed to stay in a desperate living situation until I was able to scrape together the money. The most important part of my story is how downpayment assistance enabled me to give my children a better life. My youngest son is now a 4.0 student, studying criminal justice and is working as an intern for the State’s Attorney— Chairwoman WATERS. I am sorry, I am going have to ask you to discontinue. I think we get the point. Your written statement will be part of the record for all of us to review. [The prepared statement of Ms. Queen can be found on page 73 of the appendix.] Chairwoman WATERS. Members, we have 10 minutes left. I will not ask any questions. I will yield to my ranking member, Mrs. Biggert. Mrs. BIGGERT. I will yield to the gentleman from California. Mr. MILLER. Thank you for yielding. My question is for Nehemiah. I read this letter that you gave me yesterday, and when you asked HUD to impose additional regulations on nonprofits, what were you asking them to do? Mr. SYPHAX. Well, we were asking them to do a number of things. We were asking them, one, to oversee and create a more robust appraisal process. As Ms. Ashburn recently testified, we did ask for two things. One was some sort of appraisal process where people had to sign, upon penalty of perjury, that there was no manipulation of the appraisal, or secondly, the blind pool arrangement where HUD could contract with the VA or create their own blind pool. Secondly, mandatory homeownership education for everyone who received downpayment assistance. The third thing, for existing homes, was multiyear home warranties. And number four, we were looking to impose a mandatory requirement for post-home-ownership counseling, which is something that AmeriDream and Nehemiah do today. So none of the things that we asked for are new; we have been consistently asking for them for over a decade. VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 36 Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. We are going have to go. We have about— Mr. MILLER. I yield back the balance of my time. Chairwoman WATERS. Mr. Green. Mr. GREEN. Yes, ma’am; quickly, Madam Chairwoman. It seems to me that someone has made the assumption that we will trade one program for another, and you have commented on this, Madam Chairwoman, so I think it would be appropriate for us to somehow send a message to the appropriate authorities that we never intended to trade one program for another. I can see how both of these programs have a place and can be maintained and should be. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Ellison, I know you have been in and out today; quickly, about 6 minutes? Mr. ELLISON. Is there room for the rule change and for the sellerfunded downpayment assistance providers? As I listen to both presentations, and I had read the remarks earlier, the question that came to mind is, would the rule change wipe out seller-funded assistance or is there room for both the rule and seller-funded assistance? I do believe in hearings like this sometimes people draw stark and clear lines because they want to be persuasive, but in truth, is there room for in the market for both? Ms. ASHBURN. I think I will answer that, because Scott and I have talked about it. And please amend these remarks, as written. As written—if it is passed as written, it does absolutely eliminate the work that our programs do. Our request is that the rule be withdrawn, so that there is a public debate and discussion about the issue. Because it is a significant issue, it is complex, there are a lot of nuances to it; and we don’t think it can be satisfied through paper dialogue. I think people have to sit down and come together. Mr. ELLISON. Have you had a chance for dialogue with HUD? And one last question, do you deny that the seller-funded downpayment programs inflate the price of the house? Mr. SYPHAX. To answer question one, which is, have we had the opportunity for a dialogue, we have been attempting to have that dialogue for a decade and the paper record reflects that, that is, on both of our parts. Number two, with regards to whether or not there is room for this rule and whether that can take place, theoretically, sure, but the fact of the matter is that for over a decade we have attempted—and one of the reasons that we so much appreciate this forum is because, frankly, after 10 years of not taking action, it may be that it takes legislation to figure this out. Number three, in terms of the denial issue, price appraisal can and does take place on an anecdotal basis. We have standards very similar to each other where it is that we actually kick out home purchases if we can find evidence of manipulation. The problem is that without broad standards that everyone has to pay attention to, whoever tried to originate that loan can take it down the street to somewhere else. And so we need help because of the fact that ultimately we are the ones that are punished by the fact that whatever VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 37 lawless activity takes place does take place. It is too honest to benefit from regulation. Chairwoman WATERS. Thank you very much, I am sorry, we are going to have to leave to go to the Floor. The Chair notes that some members may have additional questions for this panel which they may wish to submit in writing. Without objection, the hearing record will remain open for 30 days for members to submit written questions to these witnesses and to place their responses in the record. This panel is now dismissed. And before we adjourn, the Chair notes that the record of the hearing will remain open for 5 days to allow for the submission by members of additional materials. The Chair would ask unanimous consent that the letter containing the written statement of Dr. Kevin Haskett of the American Enterprise Institute be included in the record and the written letter of the National Association of Realtors also be included in the record without objection. It is so ordered. This hearing is now adjourned. I thank all of the witnesses for being here today. You are now officially on the record in describing what it is and what it is not. We have other members who will be taking some action as a result of this hearing. We will look closely at the FHA bill and the no-downpayment program. We will also be looking at the other bill that was referenced here today about appraisals to see if we can’t be fair and just in the way that we manage the ability for our constituents to have assistance with downpayments. Thank you very much. [Whereupon, at 12:38 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.] VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE APPENDIX June 22, 2007 (39) VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 37562.001 40 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 37562.002 41 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 37562.003 42 VerDate 0ct 09 2002 10:53 Oct 04, 2007 Jkt 037562 PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 K:\DOCS\37562.TXT HFIN PsN: TERRIE 37562.004 43 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