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LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY
OPTIONS FOR MINIMIZING AND
MITIGATING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES

HEARING
BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
FIRST SESSION

SEPTEMBER 20, 2007

Printed for the use of the Committee on Financial Services

Serial No. 110–61

(

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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 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
KENNY MARCHANT, Texas
THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan

JEANNE M. ROSLANOWICK, Staff Director and Chief Counsel

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CONTENTS
Page

Hearing held on:
September 20, 2007 ..........................................................................................
Appendix:
September 20, 2007 ..........................................................................................

1
65

WITNESSES
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2007
Bernanke, Hon. Ben S., Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
System ...................................................................................................................
Dinham, Harry H., CMC, Past-President, National Association of Mortgage
Brokers, The Dinham Companies .......................................................................
Jackson, Hon. Alphonso, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development .............................................
Liben, Judith, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute ...........................................
Marks, Bruce, Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation
of America .............................................................................................................
Mudd, Daniel H., President and CEO, Fannie Mae .............................................
Paulson, Hon. Henry M., Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, U.S. Department
of the Treasury .....................................................................................................
Pollock, Alex J., Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute ......................
Robbins, John M., Chairman, Mortgage Bankers Association .............................
Syron, Richard F., Chairman and CEO, Freddie Mac ..........................................

11
39
9
35
40
32
6
42
37
34

APPENDIX
Prepared statements:
Maloney, Hon. Carolyn ....................................................................................
Paul, Hon. Ron ..................................................................................................
Velazquez, Hon. Nydia M. ...............................................................................
Bernanke, Hon. Ben S. .....................................................................................
Dinham, Harry H. ............................................................................................
Jackson, Hon. Alphonso ...................................................................................
Liben, Judith .....................................................................................................
Marks, Bruce .....................................................................................................
Mudd, Daniel H. ...............................................................................................
Paulson, Hon. Henry M., Jr. ............................................................................
Pollock, Alex J. .................................................................................................
Robbins, John M. ..............................................................................................
Syron, Richard F. ..............................................................................................
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL SUBMITTED

FOR THE

66
68
69
71
84
136
140
173
180
184
195
207
222

RECORD

Frank, Hon. Barney:
Additional information submitted for the record by Countrywide Home
Loans, in response to statements made at the hearing .............................
Maloney, Hon. Carolyn:
Statement of the Independent Community Bankers of America ..................
Statement of the National Association of Home Builders .............................
Statement of the National Association of Realtors ........................................

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246
257
271

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LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY
OPTIONS FOR MINIMIZING AND
MITIGATING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES
Thursday, September 20, 2007

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL SERVICES,
Washington, D.C.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:02 a.m., in room
2128, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Barney Frank [chairman of the committee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Frank, Kanjorski, Maloney, Gutierrez,
Velazquez, Watt, Sherman, Meeks, Moore of Kansas, Capuano,
Clay, McCarthy, Baca, Lynch, Miller of North Carolina, Scott,
Green, Cleaver, Bean, Davis of Tennessee, Sires, Hodes, Ellison,
Klein, Wilson, Perlmutter, Murphy, Boren; Bachus, Baker, Pryce,
Castle, Royce, Lucas, Paul, Manzullo, Biggert, Shays, Miller of
California, Capito, Feeney, Hensarling, Garrett, Barrett, Pearce,
Neugebauer, Price, McHenry, Campbell, Roskam, and Marchant.
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will now come to order.
I want to express my appreciation to these three very busy officials. Members will remember that the President announced the
plan just before Labor Day. We understand that things are still
evolving, but it is important to us in light of the great public interest that we begin this conversation today.
I also want to note that I understand Secretary Paulson, who has
been traveling—due to all of his airplane travel, he is suffering
from back pain. I do want to note that the Secretary has a pain
in his lower back and he brought it here. He would not have acquired a pain in his lower back here, at least not a physical one.
The pain may cause him to stand up at some point, or otherwise
behave in a way that he might not ordinarily behave.
Mr. Secretary, we appreciate you informing us about that. We
will now begin the statements. Let me start the clock.
I mentioned Mr. Greenspan. I want to say that I note in Mr.
Greenspan’s discussion of things, he said that with regard to both
the stock market effervescence and the mortgage one that he was
constrained from acting because he did not want to diminish the
whole economy, that he did not want to restrain economic activity
in general.
I agree with him in both cases. I think it would have been a mistake to have deflated the economy in general both because stock
prices were going up or because there was excessive activity of a
not fully responsible kind in the mortgage market.
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My difference with Mr. Greenspan is that he implicitly assumed
there that the choice was between deflating the economy, raising
interest rates and slowing activity down, and doing nothing. And
this notion that there are only macro economic responses to potential abuses, I think, is problematic.
In fact, there are micro responses, specifically thoughtful regulation, and to a great extent what we are talking about here is how
to take that principle of regulation and apply it.
I think it is very clear that if only entities regulated by the bank
regulators and the Credit Union Administration had made loans,
had originated loans, we would not be in a crisis situation. Most
mortgage brokers are reasonable and responsible, but to the extent
that there were irresponsible people making loans in that sector,
they were not subject to appropriate regulation. I think that this
shows that regulation done well can be helpful.
The argument that regulation would necessarily mean that you
would be choking off loans, I am not aware of people coming and
saying, ‘‘My credit union wouldn’t give me a loan, and they should
have given it to me.’’ Or ‘‘my thrift.’’ So I do think that we learn
that sensible regulation can work well.
Going forward, I think our job is to take the regulatory principles
that have been applied by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of
Thrift Supervision, the NCUA, and the State Bank Supervisors and
put them into a body of law that will cover all mortgage originators.
I also believe that we should do something about the secondary
market, not the same degree, but here is another argument for regulation. One of our major problems today is the lack of investor
confidence. I think there is a general agreement that investors having once been too reckless are now to some extent too cautious; this
is not going to go away instantly.
Appropriate regulation, sensible market-oriented regulation can
help there because that can restore investor confidence. The ability
that we have to talk people into being more confident, I think, is
limited. So sensible regulation—and I think the secondary market
is a very useful addition, but an unregulated secondary market is
not a necessity. And, in fact, in an appropriately secondary market
can give investors who would be buying that stuff some confidence
that they were buying things that had been appropriately vetted.
I think we can do that.
That is going forward. If we talk about the current situation, it
does seem that there is a logical pattern in the current situation
to try to help people who have pre-payment penalties that prevent
them from refinancing and getting out of excessively—loans where
the rate is going to go up. That is what we should do.
I am grateful that the regulators, jointly with the State regulators—there has been a lot of effort to persuade the holders of
mortgages that they would be better off helping people get out from
under prepayment penalties so they can refinance where that
would make sense for them rather than become the owners of a lot
of vacant property in America’s cities.
To do that, I think we need the full participation of the FHA and
of the TSEs. I want to say at this point I thought that what

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3
OFHEO did with regard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was the
recognition of the problem but not a sufficient response to it.
I would like to go further. It is clear to me, too, that we should
at this point be raising the cap at both the FHA and the GSEs.
That has to be done statutorily. The House has now passed GSE
bills, a GSE bill and an FHA bill, with a great deal of consensus
and some disagreement.
I believe there is a good deal of agreement between us and the
Administration on much of this. There are differences that are negotiable. At this point, the single most important thing is for the
United States Senate to take up and act on FHA and GSE legislation so we can get into what would be a genuine three-way conference because we are looking for a bill to be signed, not for an
issue.
I do want to just say now, and I’ve spoken to Ranking Member
Bachus, that if the Senate were to send us a cherry-picked bill
dealing only with the caps, or only with the jumbo mortgages, we
would not want to go along with that. I do want to deal with both
of those, but only in the context of the overall legislation, and I
hope the Senate will be working with us on that.
The ranking member is now recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. BACHUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing on both legislative and regulatory proposals to address the recent spike in subprime mortgage foreclosures. We are fortunate to
have with us a distinguished panel, and I extend a warm welcome
to Secretary Paulson and Secretary Jackson and Chairman
Bernanke.
We are here today largely because of a problem in a specific and
relatively narrow segment of the U.S. mortgage market which
quickly spread to other areas of the financial markets. These are
serious issues now affecting our entire economy and they deserve
our careful oversight.
As we proceed with this hearing, I believe we should be keenly
aware that the regulators and markets are already addressing
mortgage foreclosures. Market participants and regulators are
working to assist homeowners to mitigate the distress resulting
from the resetting of adjustable rate mortgages. Lenders and GSEs
are offering replacement loans with lengthened terms and other options to lower payments and keep families in their homes.
We should take note and legislate where appropriate but avoid
getting in the way of regulators and market forces which are performing their functions with the tools already available to them.
This injunction to act cautiously should not be misunderstood to
mean legislative action is inappropriate in all instances. There is
general agreement that abuses have occurred in the subprime market. In July, several colleagues and I introduced H.R. 3012 to address these abusive practices. There is widespread agreement that
these are practices that should not be tolerated. A better regulation
of mortgage brokers and other originators is clearly required, but
we do not need a bail-out or other legislative action that overreaches and impedes the market self-correction we are witnessing.
In responding to the market turmoil we must not lose sight of
the essential fact that the subprime lending market has been very

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4
successful in providing housing, especially for low-income Americans.
I recently heard it described as having brought ‘‘the miracle of
global liquidity to low-income neighborhoods all over America.’’ The
secondary market and securitization have greatly benefitted
middle- and low-income Americans.
Preserving this dream of liquidity and homeownership should be
a high priority of this committee as we work together on this issue.
We should remember that while there have been defaults and foreclosures, there have been many more families who have seen their
dream of owning a home successfully realized. In fact, a new study
just published shows that if California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona are excluded, there has actually been a nationwide drop in the
rate of foreclosure filings in the most recent period.
Last month we saw what happens when investors make decisions
based on heightened emotions and minimal facts. Similarly, as we
have learned in the 5 years since Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted,
rushing to do the right thing in an unsettled market environment
can yield unwanted consequences.
We look forward to your testimony and expert analysis. I thank
you for your attendance here today.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from New York, the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, is now recognized for 3 minutes.
Mrs. MALONEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome all the witnesses, particularly Secretary Paulson, a former constituent. New
Yorkers are very proud of you and, Chairman Bernanke, we thank
you for your leadership and guidance not only on safety and soundness but also consumer protections.
We are really at a critical juncture and this committee is working
incredibly hard to prevent foreclosures and to help borrowers stay
in their homes. The chairman, I believe it is his top priority, and
this article appeared in The Boston Globe this week and I would
like unanimous consent to place it in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
Mrs. MALONEY. Just this week, Tuesday, the House passed legislation to modernize FHA to serve more subprime borrowers. We
also worked to help servicers be more able to engage in work-outs
with strapped borrowers. We have worked hard and pushed FASB
to clarify its Standard 140 rule to allow for modification of a loan
when default is reasonably foreseeable, not just after default. But
there is much more we can do. If there was ever a time when there
should be more liquidity put in the market by Fannie and Freddie,
we should be doing it. We should raise the cap on these entities’
portfolio limits at least temporarily and direct all of those funds to
help borrowers who are stuck in risky adjustable rate mortgages
refinance into safer mortgages. We should eliminate the cruel law
under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code which allows judges to
modify mortgages on a borrower’s vacation home but not the home
they actually live in; this would allow families to stay in their
homes while new loan terms are worked out.
We need reforms to contain this crisis for the future. Our regulatory system is in serious need of renovation to catch up to the financial innovation that has surpassed our ability to protect con-

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5
sumers and hold institutions accountable. Even though the Fed
regulators have put out interagency guidance on subprime loans to
improve standards, some three-quarters of the subprime market
does not have a Federal regulator. We need to extend the guidance
to create a uniform national standard to fight predatory lending
and a single consumer protection standard for the entire mortgage
market.
I like very much the idea proposed by Professor Elizabeth Warren to create a financial product safety commission, and I really
support the simple one-page form as proposed by Andrew Pollock
of the American Enterprise Institute, which could provide the basic
facts about mortgage loans to borrowers. I would like to put his
form in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, and the gentlewoman’s time
has expired.
Mrs. MALONEY. I look forward to the testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair now recognizes the gentlewoman from
Illinois, Mrs. Biggert, for 2 minutes, pursuant to the Minority request.
Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. And thanks also to our distinguished witnesses on both
panels. I would like to associate myself with the remarks of Ranking Member Bachus and add just two quick points.
While the headlines succeed in pressuring everyone from the
local to the Federal levels to do something to address the credit
crunch and foreclosure crises, it is critical that the something that
we do does not cut off credit, damage the housing market, or deny
the dream of homeownership to millions of Americans.
The good news is that at the Federal level, prudent action to
both stem the rise in foreclosures and stabilize the housing sector
and economy is being taken: The Fed cut interest rates; OFHEO
raised Fannie and Freddie’s investment portfolio caps; Treasury is
working with Members of Congress to change the tax code; the
Fed, the OCC, the FDIC, the OTC, and the NCUA have issued
guidance on subprime lending; and the House has passed FHA reform and legislation to crack down on fraud and increase credit
counseling.
In addition, the Administration launched the FHA Secure Initiative to expand its assistance to help more qualified buyers refinance and avoid foreclosure. HUD, Neighborworks America, the Ad
Council, and others are working to infuse funding and resources
into the army of 2,300 HUD certified housing counseling agencies
across the country.
Today it is important for us to turn our attention to the larger
issues of how problems with subprime mortgage lending have rippled through the credit markets. What many of us will want to
know is your view on how this credit crunch will play out, how and
when investor confidence will be restored, and how we can strike
the right balance between allowing the market to sort itself out
and disallowing a repeat of distortions in the future: Too much action and we worsen the problem; too little action and we will allow
it to happen again. So, again, I thank you for your participation.
I yield back the balance of my time.

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The CHAIRMAN. And finally, the gentleman from Texas is recognized for 2 minutes.
Dr. PAUL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I ask unanimous consent
for my complete statement to be put in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
Dr. PAUL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A lot of concern now has been expressed about the collapsing of
this housing bubble. It is a shame that we had not talked about
this 10 or 15 years ago when many free market economists predicted it would come and worried about it and wished we could
have prevented it.
But the irony of all this now is that everything that caused the
financial bubble, the housing bubble, we are resorting to doing the
same thing. You cannot solve the problem of inflation with more
inflation. The debasement of the currency, which is a continual
process, is the reason we get financial problems and financial bubbles. Whether it was in the 1920’s or the NASDAQ bubble or the
housing bubble, we have to deal with the cause. We are dealing
and we talk so much about our solutions but nobody is talking
about the cause.
The cause literally is the excessive credit created by the Federal
Reserve System and we cannot deny this. Then we add fuel to the
fire by credit allocation. We come in with the CRA, the Community
Reinvestment Act. We come in with insurance by FHA. We come
in with the GSEs and the line of credit and the guaranteed and implied bail-outs. And then when the collapse comes, all we have—
what do we do? We ask for more regulation, more credit, more
debasement of the currency. That to me—we have heard expressions about going over the line and engaging in moral hazard. Well,
the moral hazard has been going on for years. Here we are now at
a point where we are destroying savers and the poor. We literally
destroy people by lowering interest rates. People cannot save. And
who suffers the most? The middle class and the poor whose cost of
living goes up because we deliberately and purposely devalue the
currency. That is all we resort to is the depreciation of currency
which in itself should be an immoral act.
So to me if we do not look to the cause of these problems we are
going to have more—and patching it together will do nothing more
than what we did in The Depression when we patched things together. We just delay the recovery.
The CHAIRMAN. The testimony will now begin, and we will first
hear from the Secretary of the Treasury.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE HENRY M. PAULSON, JR.,
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Secretary PAULSON. Thank you, Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and committee members for the opportunity to present
the Treasury Department’s perspective on recent events in the
credit and mortgage markets. We have been experiencing capital
markets’ turbulence that will take some time to work its way
through the economy. It is significant that this is happening
against the backdrop of strong U.S. and world economies. The U.S.

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economic fundamentals are healthy. Unemployment is low. Wages
are rising and core inflation is contained.
Although the recent reappraisal of risk coupled with the weakness in the housing sector may well result in a penalty, the fundamentals point to continued U.S. economic growth. Unlike similar
periods in the past, current events were not precipitated by problems in the real economy but by excesses in the credit markets.
We should put the current situation in perspective. Innovation in
housing finance has made credit more widely available, allowing
millions of Americans to buy homes they can afford. Homeownership in America has increased from 64 to 69 percent since 1994.
Even in the current environment, the vast majority of new homeowners will not have difficulty keeping their homes.
The President has announced an initiative to help those homeowners who are struggling. He called for the FHA Modernization
Act, which Secretary Jackson will describe, and he called for tax
relief to prevent homeowners from being hit with a tax bill due to
debt forgiveness on their primary residence. I am pleased to see
progress on the FHA bill and urge action on the tax bill as well.
President Bush also tasked us to work with mortgage counselors,
servicers, and lenders to help as many Americans as possible keep
their homes. We have learned a great deal from our meetings so
far. First, it is clear that while adjustable rate prime mortgages are
the most at risk, some prime borrowers with solid credit histories
are also struggling.
Second, we learned that lenders are proactively contacting homeowners facing an interest rate reset that they likely cannot afford,
but those calls often go unreturned because many homeowners mistakenly think that their lender wants to repossess their home in
foreclosure. In fact, the opposite is true. No one likes foreclosure:
It is tough for families; it hurts neighborhoods; and it is also unprofitable for lenders in most situations.
Finally, we learned that 50 percent of foreclosures occur without
borrowers ever talking to their lender. When borrowers do not seek
solutions until after they have missed payments, they will have far
fewer financing options. And so the most crucial message we can
send to the borrowers who are missing, or concerned that they will
miss, their mortgage payments is to call their lender or a mortgage
counselor today. And when all of you are in your districts, when
you talk to the local media and your constituents, please, please
send that message. The earlier borrowers reach out, the greater the
possibility that they will be able to modify their mortgage into one
that allows them to stay in their home.
The GSEs play a significant role in the mortgage market. We
should examine their authorities and ability to assist. However, the
extent of possible GSE assistance is complicated by the unique
structure and the need for regulatory reform. Currently, the conforming market in which they operate is performing well. That
should not be a surprise. Investors avoid the credit risk of the underlying mortgages when they buy agency-guaranteed mortgagebacked securities. Therefore, if the GSEs are to assist in the markets that are not operating normally it would involve an expansion
of their authorities.

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The GSEs are an unusual construct. They answer to shareholders and have a congressionally mandated mission. As we consider any change in their role, we must always balance these imperatives: The temporary needs of today’s market; the legitimate
policy question of how much of the mortgage market should be directly or in directly influenced by GSEs, which are misperceived as
being backed by the Federal Government; and issues of size, systemic risk, and longer term market distortions that will occur by
inserting perceived government-backed intervention.
Because of the size of the GSEs and these related issues, any legislative expansion of their role must also correct the inadequate
GSE regulatory structure. The current GSE regulator has less authority than a Federal bank regulator but the solution is not to regulate the GSEs as if they are banks. The GSEs’ regulators should
have more tools available than does a bank regulator to take into
account the unique characteristics’ intentions of the GSEs.
This committee and the House of Representatives passed a bill
that goes a long way in addressing these regulatory issues. I congratulate you all for working this through. The case cannot be
stronger for the Senate to also pass GSE reform legislation. Congressional debate about expanded GSE authority should take place
within the context of comprehensive GSE reform. It would be irresponsible to expand GSEs’ business without addressing the fundamental problems of their regulatory structure.
The mortgages facing the greatest stress today are those with the
weaker underwriting standards where borrowers have imperfect
credit and little equity in their homes. Legislation will be required
to allow the GSEs to purchase mortgages that are above 80 percent
loan value and have no credit enhancement. This would require
that the GSEs take on significant credit risk beyond their traditional experience. Legislation that encourages them to take on
more risk must also create an appropriate regulator to exercise
necessary oversight.
The GSEs can expand down the credit curve without legislation
if they reevaluate their underwriting standards and develop new
products. Again, this would mean taking on more risk. A GSE
guarantee for these products would increase the liquidity available
to refinance some subprime borrowers and we are encouraging the
GSEs to do more in the subprime area.
However, we recognize that the GSEs must fully evaluate the
business risks associated with any new initiatives balancing their
private and public missions. Some have suggested that the GSEs
should be permitted to inject some liquidity into the jumbo mortgage market. There is no doubt that raising the loan limits somewhat to allow the GSEs to guarantee jumbo mortgages would be
helpful to a segment of the market which has shown some recent
improvement but is not yet functioning as normal.
The GSEs’ limited entry into the sector would likely improve liquidity and would clearly be attractive to the GSEs from a business perspective. Traditionally this has been a profitable part of
the mortgage market with low default rates. For that reason, it
seems logical that this market will right itself in the weeks and
months ahead. Therefore, consideration of this issue should be limited only to a temporary provision that is part of legislation

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9
strengthening the regulatory structure. We agree with you, Mr.
Chairman, on that.
We should also recognize that lifting the loan limit for even a
short period has the potential to detract from GSEs’ affordable
housing mission and displaced private sector participation.
Recently there have been calls on the Administration and the Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight, OFHEO, the GSEs independent regulator, to lift the temporary caps on the GSEs’ retained
portfolios. The business motivation for this request is clear and
sound. Whether this request will have a positive impact on the
mortgage market is much less clear. There is already ample liquidity in the prime conforming marketplace, the marketplace in which
the GSEs concentrate their investment portfolio business.
The securitization efforts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have
been a huge contributor to this liquidity. The more efficient use of
their capital to ease current market strains is in the guarantee
business where each dollar of capital goes further in adding liquidity.
Yesterday, OFHEO announced steps to adjust Fannie Mae’s investment portfolio cap and to provide more flexibility to both enterprises in managing their investment portfolios. If the GSEs want
to be helpful, I hope they will use this new flexibility to provide liquidity to parts of the market experiencing the most strain.
Again, I welcome congressional debate about an expanded role
for the GSEs as part of a broader GSE regulatory reform discussion. Today’s solution should not create tomorrow’s problem. Treasury and the President’s Working Group are also examining broader
market issues including mortgage origination, the role of credit rating agencies and securitization, the decentralized mortgage process,
and the need for simple, clear disclosure so borrowers can make informed financial decisions. Because these issues have global economic consequences, the Financial Stability Forum in addition to
the PWG will examine some similar issues involving the policy implementation for financial institutions including supervisory oversight principles for regulated financial entities with off-balance
sheet contingent obligations.
I urge caution, however, as we examine the implications of recent
market events and consider corrections. Owning a home is a cherished part of the American dream, and we do not want to unreasonably deny that dream by restricting credit for people who can
afford it. Thank you and I welcome your questions.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Paulson can be found on
page 184 of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Next, a frequent visitor to this committee, and our collaborator
in the housing part of this, Secretary Jackson. Mr. Secretary,
please.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ALPHONSO JACKSON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Secretary JACKSON. Thank you very much, Chairman Frank,
Ranking Member Bachus, and distinguished members of the com-

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mittee. Thank you for inviting me to testify this morning. I want
to recognize my colleagues, Secretary Paulson and Chairman
Bernanke, for their valuable actions and partnership over the past
few months. I am pleased to join you today.
Mr. Chairman, as Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan once said, the
subprime market is democratizing credit and this results in homeownership for millions of Americans. Mr. Chairman, some borrowers were not ready for homeownership, resulting in foreclosure
for tens of thousands of people. Our ongoing concern is that more
Americans may face foreclosure within the new round of resets anticipated in 2008. So far I have been speaking about 20 percent of
the subprime market and not all of these loans will result in foreclosure. It is important that we note this.
The lesson here is not to throw out the subprime loans. Most
people with subprime loans will be fine and their homeownership
adds wealth to our economy and gives equity and financial stability
to our communities. Our estimate is that 80 percent of the
subprime loans made in 2005 and 2006 will not be problematic, but
borrowers need to be informed as soon as possible, which is one of
the reasons we are strongly urging that we use the Nation’s 2,300
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in this country. Information leads to wise borrowing, manageable loans, and more economic security.
Market corrections may escalate in this catastrophe unless we
act now, and so we must act now. Already the FHA has stepped
forward within the full extent of its legislative and regulatory abilities. By the end of Fiscal Year 2007, we will have helped more than
100,000 borrowers refinance with FHA loans. We have worked with
other Federal and State authorities to prosecute predatory lenders.
But in order to assist more Americans, the President has proposed
a series of actions. Some of them did not require congressional action while others do.
Earlier this month, the President announced a new FHA product
called FHA Security. Under this proposal, borrowers who are otherwise creditworthy but have recently become delinquent on their
mortgages as their teaser rates reset, may now receive FHA help.
In the past, FHA did not allow borrowers who were delinquent. Eligible homeowners will be required to meet our strict underwriting
guidelines and pay the corresponding mortgage insurance premium. This offsets the risk for FHA and costs the taxpayers no
money. I want to repeat this again. It costs the taxpayers no
money.
We estimate that with FHA Secure, we can help an additional
80,000 delinquent yet otherwise creditworthy borrowers refinance
and save their homes. This is in addition to the 160,000 delinquent
borrowers we already expect to help by fiscal year 2008. This will
bring the total number of new borrowers assisted by FHA existing
financial efforts to 240,000 by the next fiscal year.
I have already directed FHA to prepare a new regulation for
risk-based pricing. This makes sense. Safer borrowers should pay
less; riskier borrowers should pay a little bit more. I am hopeful
that we will be able to implement the changes in January so that
we can reach an additional 20,000 borrowers. So of the 2 million
loans expected to reset by 2008, we estimate about 500,000 will ac-

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11
tually foreclose. Through FHA, we estimate that we can help save
about half of those homeowners. That is what may be done through
administrative actions. But this country needs FHA modernization
which President Bush has asked Congress to pass and I want to
thank Chairman Frank for getting the bill passed in the House and
we look forward to the Senate.
I know you appreciate this sense of urgency. Again, I am pleased
that you passed the bill. We need to raise the loan limits so we can
help low- to moderate-income and first-time homebuyers in expensive housing markets. We need to give families more flexibility and
downpayment options, something we cannot do today.
The legislative change would help some 200,000 families, if not
more, purchase or refinance into safe FHA-insured mortgages. It
will allow the FHA to be more responsive to the housing market.
Mr. Chairman, every day places thousands of homeowners at
greater and greater risk. Working together, the President, our Congress, we can continue to make changes that will address the
subprime crisis. Foreclosure is not good for anyone, the homeowner,
the community, the local tax base, or the lender. Today we have
a chance to make a powerful and positive change that will reflect
statesmanship and good sense. Again, I thank the committee for
the opportunity to appear today. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Jackson can be found on
page 136 of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We very much appreciate the Chairman of the Federal Reserve coming before us and I will say as a
mark of appreciation, I am prepared to rule out of order any questions about Alan Greenspan’s book.
[Laughter]
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Chairman, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BEN S. BERNANKE, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE
SYSTEM

Mr. BERNANKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Frank,
Ranking Member Bachus, and members of the committee, I am
very pleased to appear before you today to discuss developments in
the subprime mortgage market and possible policy responses including those that have been taken or are under consideration by
the Federal Reserve.
Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, we are having a little trouble hearing
you.
Mr. BERNANKE. How about now?
The CHAIRMAN. The problem is that since we sit by seniority, the
oldest members are furthest away from you, so that’s why you have
to talk loud.
Mr. WATT. Speak for yourself, Mr. Chairman.
[Laughter]
The CHAIRMAN. What did you say?
[Laughter]
Mr. BERNANKE. Lending innovations and the ongoing growth of
the secondary market have expanded mortgage credit and the benefits of homeownership to many households perceived to have high
credit risk. However, in the past few years, a weakening of under-

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12
writing standards together with broader economic factors such as
the deceleration in house prices has contributed—
The CHAIRMAN. Will you suspend for a second, Mr. Bernanke?
There is a vote. I think we have enough time for you to complete
your testimony, and we will then break to vote and come back. I
apologize, but we have no other option. So if everybody will shut
off their pagers, the Chairman can complete his testimony, and we
will break, vote, and come back.
Please go ahead.
Mr. BERNANKE. Thank you. During the past 2 years, serious delinquencies among subprime ARMs have risen sharply, reaching
nearly 15 percent in July. This deterioration contrasts sharply with
loans in the prime mortgage sector of which less than 1 percent are
seriously delinquent. Higher delinquencies have begun to show
through to foreclosures. About 320,000 foreclosures were initiated
in each of the first two quarters of this year, just more than half
of them on subprime mortgages, up from an average of about
220,000 during the past 6 years.
As many borrowers are recent, and vintage subprime ARMs still
face their first interest rate resets, delinquencies and foreclosures
are likely to rise further. In response to these developments, the
market for subprime mortgages has adjusted sharply and originators now are employing tighter underwriting standards. But that
still leaves many borrowers in distress.
To help them, the Federal Reserve, together with the other Federal supervisory agencies, has encouraged lenders and loan
servicers to identify and contact borrowers who, with counseling
and possible loan modifications, may be able to avoid entering delinquency or foreclosure.
The Community Affairs Offices in each of the 12 Federal Reserve
Banks have also provided significant leadership and technical assistance to foreclosure prevention efforts. For instance, a public-private collaboration initiated in part by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Chicago produced the Homeownership Preservation Initiative in
2003. Since then, the program has counseled more than 4,000 people, prevented 1,300 foreclosures, and reclaimed 300 buildings.
Beyond the actions underway at the regulatory agencies, I am
aware that the Congress is considering statutory changes to alleviate foreclosures possibly including modernizing the programs administered by the Federal Housing Administration that Secretary
Jackson has just described.
Prospectively, the Federal Reserve is actively working to prevent
these problems from recurring while still preserving responsible
subprime lending. In coordination with other Federal supervisory
agencies, we issued guidance on underwriting and consumer protection standards for non-traditional mortgages last year and for
subprime ARMs earlier this year.
To help potential borrowers make more informed choices, the
Board is engaged in a review of the Truth in Lending Act rules to
provide mortgage lending disclosures. We are considering proposed
changes to rules to address potentially deceptive mortgage loan advertisements and to require lenders to provide mortgage disclosures more quickly.

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13
We are also planning to use our rulemaking authority under the
Homeownership and Equity Protection Act to propose additional
consumer protections later this year. We are looking closely at
some lending practices including prepayment penalties, escrow accounts for taxes and insurance, stated income and no-documentation lending, and the evaluation of a borrower’s ability to repay.
Additionally, more uniform enforcement of the fragmented market structure of brokers and lenders is essential. With other Federal and State agencies, we have launched a program to expand
and improve consumer protection reviews at non-depository institutions with significant subprime mortgage operations. This project
should also lay the groundwork for various additional forms of
interagency cooperation to help ensure more effective and consistent supervision.
In recent weeks, as committee members are well aware, disruptions in financial markets have increased uncertainty surrounding
the economic outlook. In August, the Federal Reserve took several
steps to address unusual strains in the money markets and to improve the availability of backstop term financing for banks through
the discount window to help forestall some of the adverse effects
on the broader economy that might arise from the disruptions in
the financial markets. And to promote moderate growth over time,
the Federal Open Market Committee this week lowered its target
for the Federal Funds Rate by 50 basis points.
Thank you, and I look forward to addressing your questions.
[The prepared statement of Chairman Bernanke can be found on
page 71 of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We will now take advantage of this and break. And we will come back I should say—
Secretary Paulson has an appointment that he cannot break at the
White House, so we are here until 1:00. I just want to say now we
are going to break. On our side, I intend that we will get as many
questions in as possible. Not everyone will be able to question this
panel, but when we get to the second panel, my intention will be
to pick up the questioning where we left off. So, Members who did
not get to question the first panel will get to question the second
panel before we go back and the Minority intends to do the same
thing. And even though the House may finish at 3:00 this afternoon, we intend to stay with the second panel through the afternoon so we can finish this.
We are in recess.
[Recess]
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will reconvene. I apologize for the
delay. Secretary Paulson has to leave at 12:35, so we have an hour
for questions. We will get done what we can. I will recognize myself
for 5 minutes.
Let me ask you first, we have been urged not to do very much
because of moral hazards, the fear that by lowering interest rates,
or helping people out of prepayment, we will somehow be encouraging this behavior in the future.
Now one way we can prevent this behavior in the future is by
appropriate rules and I think we have an agreement that there are
a set of rules that should apply to all mortgage originations that
will go forward.

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But let me ask all of you, because my own view is that nothing
being contemplated is going to rise to the level of making what people have been through so much fun that they will decide it is worth
doing again. That is, I think the notion that there is a moral hazard here gravely underestimates this. And I do not know anybody
who has any proposals to make anybody whole including the borrowers who are going through this emotional anguish, the lenders.
The notion that there is moral hazard, it seems to me, is one we
ought to deal with.
Let me ask each of you briefly, do you see in anything being contemplated congressionally or administratively any moral hazard?
Mr. Paulson?
Secretary PAULSON. Mr. Chairman, I am not sure what various
people may be contemplating, but I would say that in terms of the
things that are on the table, and in terms of the President’s initiative foreclosure avoidance, I do not see a moral hazard.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me tell you what we are talking about. One
is more liquidity in the system generally and, secondly, trying to
give people an ability to get their mortgages rewritten so they can
refinance without a step-up at a reasonable rate going forward. I
think that is basically what we are talking about.
Secretary PAULSON. Yes. And I would agree with you. The tax relief for people who are going through this very difficult process, I
cannot see someone is going to—
The CHAIRMAN. Let me get a chance to speak to Mr. Jackson.
Secretary JACKSON. No, I do not. Let me say this to you, Mr.
Chairman, is that clearly there are some people we are not going
to be able to help especially and I always said the yuppies who had
this extravagant decision to have two or three cars and a huge
house they cannot afford. But the people that we are looking at basically are middle-income people, firemen, police, teachers, nurses,
and I think that these persons get one shot. And we should do everything in our power to make sure—
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bernanke.
Mr. BERNANKE. Fiscal subsidies to lenders would be a moral hazard. We are not contemplating that.
The CHAIRMAN. No one is contemplating those.
Mr. BERNANKE. So I see no problem in trying to help people refinance.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you and obviously putting liquidity into
the system as a whole, I do not understand how that creates a
moral hazard.
Mr. BERNANKE. We are trying in particular to make sure the
economy is stable and that is the ultimate objective that we have.
The CHAIRMAN. Right. And nobody is bailing out any lenders. Nobody is—I think that is one we can put to rest. Let me now say,
and I want to respond, my own view is that the model that I hope
we can deal with and we have the future to deal with. We have
the current situation. Some people are in situations where it will
be very hard to help them because no direct subsidy is coming. But
to the extent that we can get people out of prepayment penalties
and into a situation where they can refinance with an FHA guarantee and with Fannie and Freddie available to provide liquidity
for the purchase, that seems to be the maximum that we can do.

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15
And with tax relief, so that getting out of prepayment is in there.
That is the package that we are examining.
My own view is that can be aided particularly by a stronger role
for Fannie and Freddie and it is one where I agree that—but somebody said, ‘‘Well, if you let them go up that might come,’’ somebody
said, ‘‘at the cost of going broke.’’
No. I think you get balance. Remove the jumbo and let them do
some higher loans and they make some money and then I will feel
a little—and at the same time they have to go lower. I think the
same with the FHA.
But I just want to say this. It is a statement. I disagree. I do not
think it went far enough. I do not think there is a safety and
soundness issue on behalf of the portfolios. I am daily conscious
and I am not the President of the United States or even the Secretary of the Treasury or even the Director of OFHEO, but as
much as I would like to change that, I am not confident that I will
be able to do that.
[Laughter]
But the point I want to emphasize is this. I believe that the bills
that were passed by very large votes in the House and the Senate—in the House on the FHA and GSEs, there were some differences, but there was a common agreement on a lot of them.
If the Senate would pass some version of those bills and send
them to conference, I am confident that with the Administration
participation, the House and the Senate, within a few weeks we
could have a package that would greatly enable our ability to do
what we are talking about.
And it would result in much more relief for people who are facing
foreclosure and I think some other general things. I just want to
reiterate, and I have reaffirmed this with the ranking member, we
will be pushing for that. And if our colleagues in the Senate were
to send us even things that I would agree with like raising the cap
on the jumbo, or mandating an increase in the portfolios, I would
not go along with that piecemeal approach because I want to get
this done in the best possible way. So I hope that we will get something from the Senate that will be passage of both bills with what
I think are a lot of progressive things and go from there.
The gentleman from Alabama.
Mr. BACHUS. I thank the chairman.
Chairman Bernanke, I and many of my colleagues have introduced a fair mortgage practices act to address some of the
subprime lending issues. And some of the things you mentioned
this morning about escrow and taxes and insurances on subprime
loans we have included in that.
We have also included what Chairman Maloney mentioned earlier, basically a one-page disclosure. But another thing that we
have included, and I will ask the Treasury Secretary, but I would
also like your feedback and input on the various provisions of our
bill.
We created a national registration and licensing standard for
mortgage originators which even the industry, the mortgage brokers, most people have said to us that this is a very necessary tool
to enhance accountability and professionalism in the industry. We

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16
have done a similar thing with appraisers and the Appraising Institute is in support of that.
Would you comment, Secretary Paulson, on that provision?
Secretary PAULSON. Yes. Let me say that I believe what you are
trying to do there in terms of having some uniform standards on
mortgage originators, education, licensing, those kinds of things, I
think that sounds to me like a constructive step.
And I also believe very much in the steps that the Fed has taken
to take a hard look at disclosure and come back with recommendations and a very hard look at, you know, as the chairman said,
OFHEO.
Mr. BACHUS. So you are favorably inclined towards the provision?
Secretary PAULSON. Yes.
Mr. BACHUS. Thank you. Secretary Paulson, you know risk is inherent in markets. In fact, in financial markets you are supposed
to—credit products are supposed to be priced according to the
amount of risk. Do you see any constructive result to the repricing
of risks that we have seen in the markets going forward?
You know, the fact that we are doing it during a period of a
strong economy, I welcome that as opposed to during periods of a
weak economy.
Secretary PAULSON. Yes. Risk is being reappraised/repriced. I remember at the, even a month ago, I remarked to some colleagues
when there was all this focus on risk that there is less risk in the
market today or at that time than there was a month or two earlier. People just were not as aware of it.
Now, so when you look back on these things with 20–20 hindsight it is always agreed that it was constructive. Obviously when
you are going through the situation right now, we are, we are
much more focused on getting through this period of stress and
strain and do it in a way which limits the penalty to our economy.
But, yes, I do agree risk being repriced, reassessed is ultimately
healthy.
Mr. BACHUS. Chairman Bernanke, would you like to comment?
I certainly think some of the risks are being wrung out of the market—I mean some of the excesses are being wrung.
Mr. BERNANKE. Yes, sir. There has been a repricing of risk and
to some extent that is a good thing. It has been interacting with
some concerns about the evaluation of credit products, structured
credit products and the like. And so it has been a fairly sharp adjustment that we have seen in the financial markets.
As Secretary Paulson said, repricing risk, getting a better evaluation of risk, is a good thing in the longer term. We at the Federal
Reserve are mostly concerned with making sure that markets continue to function normally and that the tightening of credit that
has happened does not have undue adverse effects on the broad
economy. Thank you.
Mr. BACHUS. Secretary Jackson, you are helping homeowners
who have not been able to pay their mortgages. Your FHA has a
program now you have outlined where you are going in and offering them a new mortgage and new mortgage payment.
The only concern I have there is that you are taking them from
one market and you are placing them in an FHA insured product.

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And I am wondering, are you being careful to see that these, you
know, howeowners who did not pay their mortgages before, did not
meet their obligations, some of them because of the product, but
that they are going to have—is there any assurances that they are
going to be able to pay these and not fail and, therefore, create liability on the cost to the FHA and the taxpayers?
Secretary JACKSON. Ranking Member Bachus, that is an excellent question. What we are doing, which is very important, is we
are looking at risk-based premiums, and the other thing that is
very important that we are doing is that we are looking at the
credit history of many of these persons. And many of these persons
have paid their mortgage religiously until the teaser rate kicked in.
The best example that I can give you is a family just across the
river in Prince George’s County who had not missed a payment
and, in fact, made two of the teaser rate payments, then had a serious problem. And they had steady jobs for the last 20 years and
had no credit problems at all.
Well, we refinanced their loan and we saved them $350 a month.
They have no problems today. In fact, it is a plus because they are
able to do a lot more for their children than they were before they
had this refinancing. So we are very serious. We are not going to
make the same mistake that some of the subprime lenders made
in the sense that they did not really look at the creditworthiness
of the person. We are not going to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. KANJORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, I guess I will direct this primarily to the Secretary
of the Treasury and to Mr. Bernanke. I am here long enough—I
think there are about five of us left on the committee to remember
the S&L crisis. And I remember the pre-S&L crisis of the late
1980’s when the regulators with the assent of Congress if not by
activity but at least we were happy to see them clean up the problems that appeared to be out there, invented a new terminology,
supervisory goodwill. Do you all remember that great methodology
of getting out of the S&L crisis?
When, if we had acted at the time, would have cost us about $15
billion. In a short period of 2 to 3 years, because we contaminated
the good S&Ls and caused them to collapse also, it became a $200
billion problem, in which I happen to give a lot of credit to George
Bush the first as an act of courage when he recognized that and
sent the appropriate legislation up here to really solve the problem.
But having watched what we are doing, it seems to me I am
hearing shallow echoes in the Administration, in the regulatory
community, that we can find another easy fix and not necessarily
have to face the consequences. And I happen to agree that’s possible, probably more than 50 percent likely, except if we hit a recession or we do something or something occurs that we are not prepared to meet within the formula.
So, as a result, Mr. Bernanke, I wanted to get some sense from
you. I was surprised at the 50 percent Fed rate change. I had anticipated 25 percent. I had not anticipated that you would go to a
full 1 point on the open door or the open window area.
Was that done just for the purpose of getting rid of this problem
very quickly or is there something more serious out there that we

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are not even aware of and so many people who thought it was only
going to be 25 base points should be more aware. I am not and I
do not want to plant any seed one way or another. I would like
your comment on that. What do you anticipate? This was not an
overreaction. Was this just a firm statement on the part of yourself
and the Fed that you are going to take very strong action if there
is any chance of a recession or a disruption of the markets?
Mr. BERNANKE. Congressman, as we said in our statement, over
the month of August the financial market turmoil has effectively
tightened credit conditions that has the risk of making the housing
correction more severe, and it may have other effects on the economy. So we took that action to try to get ahead of the situation,
to try to forestall the potential effects of tighter credit conditions
on the broader economy.
Ultimately, our objective is to try to meet Congress’s dual mandate of maximum sustainable employment and price stability, and
we took that action with that intention. There is quite a bit of uncertainty, so we’re going to have to continue to monitor how the financial markets evolve, how their effects on the economy evolve,
and try to keep reassessing our outlook and adjusting policy in
order to try to meet that dual mandate.
Mr. KANJORSKI. Very good. Mr. Paulson, just one question for
you: Are you satisfied that everything has been done now or is in
the process of getting done to solve this immediate problem that we
face in the credit crunch, or are there other things that we will
have to participate with the Administration on?
Secretary PAULSON. Let me say that as was mentioned earlier by
the ranking member, credit is being repriced, reassessed, across a
broad range of markets. There are a reasonable number of the
credit mark. It’s the capital markets that still aren’t functioning as
normal. They are operating under strains, stresses of one sort or
another. Now, there has been improvement in many of them, and
so there has been gradual improvement and that is a very good
thing to see. We’re going to work through some. It’s going to take
us a while. We’re going to work through some much quicker than
others.
In terms of the subprime, which this hearing is on, a number of
those and some of the mortgages with the most lacked standards,
and with the teaser rates, we’ll be resetting over the next 18
months or 2 years. So it will take us a while longer to work
through that, and that is not an important part of the overall economy, but believe me it is very, very important to everyone who is
in danger of losing a home.
So, again, I can’t tell you that every action has been taken that
needs to be taken. I think we’re doing the right things for now and
we’re watching this very carefully and we need to be vigilant.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Baker.
Mr. BAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Bernanke, in a correspondence with Chairman Frank on
September 17th, you were specific in a response relative to the advisability of increasing the conforming loan limit and you had three
elements in that response: One was that the change must be explicitly temporary; two, it must be promptly implemented; and,
three, it would be ill-advised if it has the practical effect of reduc-

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ing incentives to meaningful GSE reform. Acting on the belief that
Fed testimony is not casually constructed, I read very carefully
your statement on page 11 addressing the same, general subject
matter. And you repeated two of the three, ‘‘explicitly temporary,’’
‘‘sufficiently promptly,’’ but you did not include the language relative to the necessity, if we act, to tie that expansion of portfolio
to GSE reform.
I just want to make clear with understanding, is it still your
view that any modification the portfolio would be ill-advised unless
done in concert with an appropriate GSA reform?
Mr. BERNANKE. Yes, first of all, let’s be clear.
We’re talking about the conforming loan limit and not the portfolio.
Mr. BAKER. Correct, I’m sorry.
Mr. BERNANKE. There are several concerns as I describe in my
letter expanding the implicit government guarantee into a new
area at the mortgage market and so on. But I think the primary
concern I have is that if this goes ahead without any reform that
somehow reform may not ever happen or be effective, so I do believe it’s important that this be done, if it is done in the context
of meaningful GSE reform.
If it is done as I indicated, I think it needs to be temporary. And
if it’s not prompt, it’s not going to be productive, because these
markets will recover over the next few months. And if this comes
online in March, it will be counterproductive.
Mr. BAKER. Thank you. Secretary Paulson, in market observation
it appears that much reaction in the marketplace was in response
to improperly identified risk and their great risk aversion in worldwide markets where there was not a certainty that the mortgage
origination process or review processes were in all cases done with
appropriate due diligence, and therefore there was a withdrawal by
some investors from those mortgage obligations, whether they be
securities or whole mortgages, and I hope you agree with that observation.
And, secondly, I have the concern with regard to proposed reform
in assigning liability. And that is to a reasonable man, if you look
at a document and fraud is not apparent on the face of the document, or you look at the security which you are acquiring, and
there’s no apparent fraud easily detected to you, the inappropriateness of assigning liability to that investor in that security or holder
of that mortgage in the process of the secondary market and beyond, when there is no contribution to the unprofessional or inappropriate conduct which led to the predatory behavior, and the consequence of that, I believe, would be to have a withdrawal from the
market from those unwilling to take improperly identified risk,
thereby, actually hurting the very individuals that we are trying to
assist with enhanced assignee liability.
Do you agree with those perspectives?
Secretary PAULSON. Congressman, I do agree with that. Just to
expand a bit, we’ve had great innovations in the capital markets.
This has helped our society, helped homeowners. The history is innovation moves ahead of regulation or policy, so when we go
through a period like this, we need to readjust and say what things
should we do differently? Where do we need some additional regu-

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lation? Where do we need some additional policy measures? But we
need to get the balance right and not go too far.
I do believe that in terms of assigning liability to those investors
who purchased the mortgage, that would have the negative of
being a very big damper on securitization and would thereby curtail product to those who need it.
Mr. BAKER. Let me, if I may.
Secretary PAULSON. So, there would be some things I would do
and that I probably wouldn’t.
Mr. BAKER. I want to get in before my clock runs out.
And that is with regard to data already mined, it appears that
it’s the subprime market, lower-income households, modest price
housing, where the delinquencies have bounced up a bit. Whereas,
in the jumbo market, although recognizing there are some liquidity
concerns, the problems are not as evident, so that in our effort to
help people with the triggering questions and other mortgage aberrations, we should be focused on the lower-priced homes and the
lower-income individuals. I would be interested if anyone has data
given the fact that on the FHA side, we just go on to about a
$700,000 house. We’re about $500,000 on the GSEs, where there’s
any data to indicate that poor people are having trouble getting access to $500,000 houses, because that portfolio increase seems to be
a problem.
Secretary JACKSON. We have a limit. Let me say this to you, Congressman. FHA is limited. That’s why I’m very pleased again that
you all passed the FHA modernization legislation which will eliminate the present cap that we have. So we are dealing with people,
really, at a moderate income. But I want to say something, and I
think both of my colleagues will say.
It’s not just the low-income, middle-income market. The jumbo
market where we had a number of what we call today, ‘‘yuppies,’’
purchasing homes and cars that we have a serious problem with
too. So, we can’t minimize at the level of middle-income people, basically firemen, police. We have some serious problems too at the
top.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from New York.
Mrs. MALONEY. Thank you, thank you, very much.
Chairman Bernanke, thank you for your guidance on the
subprime prices, but according to Secretary Jackson, the initiatives
we put in place will only keep 260,000 people in their home. Some
economists are projecting two to five million Americans may lose
their homes, so I am interested in further guidance on what we can
do to keep these people in their homes. It helps them. It helps the
economy, either in writing or in building on your suggestions that
you gave today. But the question that I hear from my constituents
the most on the subprime crisis is the credit crunch.
The credit crunch in the financial markets that literally shocked
investors this Summer, some of the most sophisticated investors in
the country were really caught off-guard with this credit movement. And even now there seem to be lots of questions about who
holds subprime’s mortgages in their portfolios and what the impact
is going to be going forward. Specifically, what is the role that
hedge funds have played in this and are we at more risk today

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than before, because of the proliferation of these sort of exotic financial instruments.
Some economists have suggested that the financial markets could
actually melt, and what could we do to prevent that. Related to the
question is, do you believe that regulated institutions have proper
evaluation policies in place?
How could the credit rating agencies be so wrong consistently—
wrong on Mexico, wrong on Asia, wrong on Enron, wrong on
subprime? Do you think we need more of a focus on how we are
rating these products? Do these questions about valuation policies
reflect why the LIBOR spreads over treasuries remain at unusually
really high levels? And why is there that spread?
Mr. BERNANKE. Congresswoman, there are a number of questions
there. On helping more people, I think that FHA reform could be
pushed even further. I think risk-based premiums would help differentiate among different lenders, and I think more flexibility in
designing mortgages would allow for more affordable mortgages,
say, with a shared appreciation with a variable maturity.
My sense is that as we go forward, lenders are not going to want
to be in the position of foreclosing if they can avoid it, because it’s
very costly to do so. If the FHA can provide affordable housing
products that would be attractive alternatives, then the lenders
will themselves be willing to forgive principle, assist the homeowner to move into those products, because it’s cheaper for them
as well. So I am somewhat more optimistic, I think, than my colleague here as to what the FHA could possibly do if these conditions worsen.
On the question of hedge funds, hedge funds have not been for
the most part a major component of this recent problem. In particular, we have not had any significant counterparty losses arising
from the hedge funds. And so in that respect the market-based regulation that the President’s Working Group described in its principle seems to be working reasonably well.
Where the issues have arisen more is in the so-called structured
credit products, which are complex instruments that combine many
different types of credit, and many different types of credit guarantees. We are finding that they are somewhat opaque, and it has
been difficult for investors to evaluate exactly what those products
are worth and where part of what’s taking so long here is for this
process to go forward as banks and investors work through these
products and figure out what’s in them and what they’re worth.
The credit rating agencies raise a number of issues. There has
been some recent legislation, of course, by the Congress to try to
make their ratings more transparent. We’ll see how that works in
the future. But I only want to add, and perhaps Secretary Paulson
would amplify, but the President’s Working Group is going to make
it a high priority to be looking at that issue and try to understand
if there are improvements that can be made.
Secretary JACKSON. Let me augment this Congresswoman.
The CHAIRMAN. Quickly, Mr. Secretary, please.
Secretary JACKSON. You said that we said that FHA secure will
save somewhere between 200,000 and 260,000 families, but once
the legislation has passed modernization, it will be much higher

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than that. We will be able to save somewhere between 500,000 and
700,000 families, but we have to have the legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from California, Mr. Royce.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to ask Chairman Bernanke a question.
Chairman Bernanke, both you and your predecessor, Chairman
Alan Greenspan, have gone on record describing in detail the systemic risk that you believe was posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac portfolios. On March 6th, you said about GSA portfolios and
systemic risk, and I’ll just quote your remarks, you said: ‘‘Financial
crises are extremely difficult to anticipate, but two conditions are
common to such events. First, major crises usually involve financial
institutions or markets. They are either very big or very large or
play some critical role in the financial system. And, second, the origins of most financial crises can be traced to failures of due diligence or failure of market discipline by an important group of market participants.’’ And, you said: ‘‘Both of these conditions apply to
the current situation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.’’
Now, given the past accounting problems experienced by Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the potential financial risk associated with their portfolios as you have said in the form of credit
risk, interest rate risk, prepayment risk, lack of market discipline
by a duopoly that works off this implicit government guarantee, I
was going to ask you, do you believe they’re best suited to address
the problems we’re witnessing in the mortgage market by changing
the approach to Fannie and Freddie? Or are the actions taken by
the Fed in reducing the discount rate and the Fed Funds rate to
push liquidity into the system and make liquidity available, make
cash available for financial institutions to loan to other banks and
loan to homeowners, and so forth, is that the best approach? I’d
like your thoughts on that.
Mr. BERNANKE. Congressman, you put it very well. I think there
are systemic risks associated with the portfolios. They arise not
only from credit risk, but also from operational risk and interest
rate risk. That is why it is so imperative to have strong GSE reform, so that the GSE regulator can assure the sufficient capital
behind those portfolios and make sure that receivership and, you
know, other elements of oversight are in good shape.
I don’t think that the portfolios are the most productive way forward in terms of addressing the current housing situation, even
putting aside systemic risk. The conforming loans, which are the
primary part of their portfolios are easily traded now. There is no
liquidity problem in conforming loans. If the portfolios were to be
used to purchase more subprime loans, first I would not recommend that they reduce their credit standards. There is some capacity to buy those loans within their existing credit requirements.
I don’t think it’s safe to reduce the credit quality of those portfolios,
but if they choose to do that, they could easily do it by selling off
the existing conforming loans that they hold and make room under
their caps to buy these alternative loans.
So I do have concerns about the portfolios, and they underscore
my belief that there needs to be a strong GSE reform bill that will
ensure the safety, soundness, and lack of systemic risk associated
with them.

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Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Chairman Bernanke.
Thank you very much, Chairman Frank.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen. Let me just say at this
point, the gentleman will have to admit it in 17 seconds, and I’ve
neglected to say one thing. If there is no objection, I would just direct to Mr. Jackson. Later, we’re going to hear from Judith Liben
from the Mass Law Reform.
One of the problems that has not gotten enough attention here
are the people who rent in properties that were foreclosed upon,
and they have found that their leases were wiped out. We need to
work on that, and I hope we can work together on some suggestions that she hasn’t asked the HUD people, to look at the recommendations in Ms. Liben’s testimony and we want to work together with you on that.
Mr. ROYCE. I am reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, if I could.
And the other aspect that I just thought I’d mention is the Fed
setting the interest rate at one percent from June of 2003 to June
of 2004, if we look at this bubble and what helped to create this
bubble long-term, would you concur that perhaps in retrospect, one
percent effective Fed fund’s rate might have been a cause of some
of the action subsequently that we saw in the market and people
take.
Mr. BERNANKE. Well, I think economists will have to make that
assessment in the long term. I think that there are other factors
associated with the housing price increases, including very low,
long-term interest rates around the world, which were associated
with big increases in housing prices in many countries around the
world, not just the United States. In particular, as the Fed Reserve
lowered interest rates to one percent and then raised them gradually, mortgage rates did not respond very much to those short-term
rates. They were in fact primarily determined by the long-term
rates, determined international capital markets.
Mr. ROYCE. So you don’t think that was a contributing factor?
Mr. BERNANKE. Well, monetary policy works to some extent by
effecting asset prices of all types, but again, I think the primary
factor leading to increases in house prices, not only in the United
States, but in many countries around the world, was the generally
low level of long-term, real interest rates in global capital markets.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Chairman Bernanke.
The CHAIRMAN. I would also ask unanimous consent at this point
to put into the record the statement from the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors.
The gentleman from Illinois is recognized for 5 minutes, without
objection.
Mr. GUTIERREZ. Chairman Bernanke, in your testimony, you
cited the HOPI program administered by Neighborhood Housing
Services of Chicago as an example of a model foreclosure prevention program. I agree. And I can tell you that we will need this program and others like it in Chicago over the next 6 to 12 months.
And participation in this program by the private sector is vital,
both in terms of a willingness to work with borrowers and to donate the capital to keep the program going. As you probably know,
two of the principal institutions that provide capital to keep HOPI

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going are Bank of America and LaSalle Bank. LaSalle support for
the HOPI program and its long history of philanthropy and community involvement are primary reasons that I wrote the Federal
Reserve in June of this year and requested a public hearing meeting on the Bank of America, LaSalle merger.
The response letter I received from the Federal Reserve indicated
that the Board would carefully consider my request for a public
hearing, and then of course not grant any. The next correspondence
I received from the Board on this topic was a notice of order of approval of the merger. Now, I know that while considering the Bank
of America/Fleet Boston merger in 2003, and JP Morgan Chase/
Bank One merger in 2004, the Federal Reserve held public meetings.
In fact, the Board held two meetings for each merger. Ironically
the last meeting for the Chase/Bank One merger was held at the
Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on LaSalle Street. In the Bank of
America/LaSalle merger, we had the largest U.S. bank acquiring a
dominant regional bank with a significant deposit market shared
locally and regionally. Beyond that, LaSalle is an intricate part of
the Chicago community in terms of philanthropy and community
development, supporting hundreds of projects like the HOPI program for which we are both fans.
So, my question is, in a major market like Chicago where Bank
of America really does not have much of a retail presence, why no
public meeting Bank of America/LaSalle merger did the Board consider LaSalle’s participation and programs like HOPI, and increasing needs of these types of programs and approving the merger
without a hearing? Mr. Chairman, my concern is not that Bank of
America will pull out of programs like HOPI, but that they will not
match their current level and LaSalle’s level of funding. If that
happens, programs like HOPI will not be able to serve the number
of people who need assistance.
Mr. BERNANKE. Congressman, I appreciate your comment and I
assure you we will look carefully at each of these cases and holding
public meetings as required. In the particular case you mentioned,
we actually got relatively few comment letters. I know yours was
among them, and the issues that were raised were fairly readily resolved directly with the banks and with the people who submitted
the letters.
I apologize if we didn’t respond to you adequately, but in that
case we felt that the issues were sufficiently circumscribed at a
public hearing wasn’t necessary. But, I agree with you that in cases
where there are substantial effects on local communities that there
should be a presumption to look to a public hearing to make sure
that all views are heard, and continue in that direction.
Mr. GUTIERREZ. Thank you. And I appreciate your words. It’s
just that Bank of America is already the largest. In their application as I read it, they exceeded 10 percent of deposits, and that’s
a rule that apparently you guys have there that no one bank
should have more than 10 percent.
So there were a lot of issues, Mr. Bernanke, that I think, especially given the reason that you’re here this morning along with
Mr. Paulson and Mr. Jackson, to have a public hearing, because
people are concerned, LaSalle Bank just wasn’t another institution

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in Chicago that was brought up. It was a Chicago institution, not
because of the marathon, but because of much of its participation.
And I don’t think we should take the past as necessarily what the
future will bring. Now we’re going to continue in the absence of any
public hearing, which I think was essential. And I find it just rather ironic that we would have two hearings on other mergers on LaSalle Street at the Chicago Reserve and not have one for such a
gem of an institution when there’s a merger of this significance
going on in Chicago.
So I encourage you and others at the Federal Reserve to watch
what goes on here, because really now the onus is on you. There
was no public hearing. You approved it without one, a rather large
merger, which seemed to me to violate some of your rules, if at
least a 10 percent deposit standards, I know they’re making
amends. I’d like to know which 10 percent they’re going to get.
You know, in order to reach the 10 percent, who are they going
to get rid of? How are the going to get rid of a billion-and-a-half
dollars? Where are those loans and assets going to be distributed
from?
I thank you very much for looking into this matter.
The CHAIRMAN. Next, the gentleman from Texas, and perhaps
larger places, Mr. Paul.
Dr. PAUL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to follow-up on the discussion about moral hazard. I think
we have a very narrow understanding about what moral hazard
really is, because I think moral hazard begins at the very moment
that we create artificially low interest rates, which we constantly
do. And this is the reason people make mistakes. It isn’t because
human nature causes us to make all these mistakes, but there’s a
normal reaction when interest rates are low that there will be overinvestment and malinvestment, excessive debt, and then there are
consequences from this.
My question is going to be around the subject, how can it ever
be morally justifiable to deliberately depreciate the value of our
currency, and that is what we do constantly. I mean, we’re in the
midst of a crisis today and efforts have been directed toward propping up financial markets in Wall Street. First, the crisis is noticed. There’s a panic. We dump in tens of billions of dollars into
reserves and that reassures the market, and Wall Street feels a little bit better, and it is still not enough.
Then, we take a discount window and we lower the rates, and
we don’t look at our problem from what caused it. What we say is,
let’s make it a door. Let’s open up and lower the rates. And again
Wall Street says, oh, this is wonderful. Do the poor people like this,
and do they respond, and is this going to help get houses when
some of them couldn’t even afford a house, because even with the
low interest rates that were available, because the costs are going
up, and cost goes up because the dollar goes down.
Then, even this week, what did we do. Our Federal Reserve lowers the interest rates by 50 basis points and the poor people and
the middle-class people say, boy this is wonderful. My cost of living
is going to go down. I’m going to get a job. No. Wall Street goes
up 350 points, so it looks like everything is directed toward a bailout. Whether it’s done deliberately or not, the American people see

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this as a deliberate bailout of the financial markets. The poor people are losing their houses.
There’s every sincere effort made to try to correct this, but it’s
inevitable that it’s not going to work because the monetary system
is such that there’s so much misinformation. We talk about market
discipline. You indicate, Mr. Chairman, that we should have market discipline, and didn’t have enough market discipline, but
there’s no possibility to have market discipline when all the information is erroneous.
Today, with this concept and during this testimony, we see oil
prices soaring, over $82 a barrel. We see wheat and corn soaring.
We see other commodity prices soaring: gold, $730, $740 an ounce.
There’s a great deal of concern out there. This is all reflecting the
fact that the dollar is going down in value, and if we don’t deal
with that we can’t solve the problem. And we look at this and
think, well, we’ve created all these problems because we’ve had this
malinvestment, all this credit going into the system, and we have
all this correction that needs to come about, and we think we can
solve the problem of inflation with more inflation. But really the
bottom line is what moral justification do we have to deliberately
devalue the currency and the dollars that people save. This forces
the cost of living up for the people who don’t even have a chance
to buy a house, so there’s a moral consequence of the system that
we have today, and I can’t see how we can avoid this moral obligation we have.
The responsibility to Congress should be to maintain the value
of the currency, not deliberately tax the people by creating new
money and passing on the high cost of living to the people who can
least afford it. Wall Street never suffers from that, and we know
of all these things out in the open, the Federal Reserve does. But
we don’t know the details of what the Working Group on Financial
Markets does to prop up markets, because I’m sure they’re very
busy and have been very busy in these last several months.
But, is there any moral justification for deliberately devaluing
the currency?
Mr. BERNANKE. Thank you, Congressman. The value of the currency can also be expressed in terms of what it can buy in domestic
goods, that is, the domestic inflation rate.
That is part of the Federal Reserve’s mandate, to maintain price
stability, which to my mind means the value of the dollar. The inflation rate is something we paid close attention to, we continue to
pay close attention to, but over the last year it’s been a little over
2 percent.
We will continue to pay very close attention to the inflation rate.
It’s an important part of our mandate, and I agree with you that
an economy cannot grow in a healthy, stable way when inflation
is out of control. And we will certainly make sure that doesn’t happen.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from New York, Ms. Velazquez.
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Bernanke, some experts suggest making originators or
assignees liable if the underwriting standards or mortgage origina-

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tions are found unsuitable. Do you feel that this is an adequate solution to curbing unscrupulous securitization activity?
Mr. BERNANKE. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘‘adequate.’’
There are of course many different ways we can go about addressing these issues, including some of the rulemaking that the Federal
Reserve is doing about the subprime lending and some of the disclosures we’re working on as well.
With respect to assigning liability, I would say that there may
be circumstances where it might prove a useful adjunct to some of
these other methods, but I think it is extraordinarily important
that we make sure that if that exists, if assigning liability exists,
that the rules be very, very clearly delineated, the responsibilities
of the investors be very, very clearly delineated, and that there not
be some uncapped damages or unspecified damages that they
would be liable for because if you do that then the investors will
simply consider it too risky and they will pull out and you simply
will not have any investment in this whole sector.
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. So where you’re turning today is that they are
not clearly defined.
Mr. BERNANKE. Well, we’ve seen from different States different
experiences. And there have been examples where assigning liability provisions have driven lenders out of the State.
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. In your testimony, on page nine, you recognize
that the values that FHA has been able to ensure have failed to
keep pace with rising home values in some areas of our country.
However, when evaluating the GSE’s loan limit you raised concerns
about the effect it could have on market discipline.
Can you explain how raising FHA loan limits is different from
raising the GSEs and why would the market discipline effects be
different in the GSE’s case and not for FHA?
Mr. BERNANKE. Well, I prefer the FHA as a vehicle for addressing these problems. It’s specifically addressed towards lower- and
moderate-income home buyers. It is a government explicit—has an
explicit government backstop. It’s not an implicit government backstop. It’s on budget and it has an explicit mission, which is to help
homebuyers and not to make profits for any stockholders.
It’s a very different kind of operation, so I think if we’re going
to be using a government agency to help people refinance their
mortgages, that we need one that is accountable and is explicitly
budgeted for, as the FHA is.
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Secretary Jackson, I want to focus on the development of affordable rental housing, which is particularly difficult
and costly to finance, especially in urban areas like New York.
In addition, many homeowners facing foreclosure might need to
move to rental units, which might increase the demand for those
units. With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac approaching their portfolio caps and unable to play a significant role in this market because of the size of the loans how do you suggest we ensure that
multifamily rental developments continue to thrive in this environment?
Secretary JACKSON. Congresswoman, I think in certain areas of
this country that’s going to be very difficult to do and I’m not going
to tell you it will be easy, especially when you look at the area that

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you represent in New York City. We see the prices consistently rising.
And I think that if we can implement both FHA secure and FHA
modernization to save a number of the families they will not have
to go to the rental market, but it’s still going to be very difficult.
We see serious problems from Virginia all the way back to Maine
and from Utah all the way back to California. I think what we can
do is basically begin to work with these States to try to find a situation where we have affordable housing, as the case in Starrett
City, we don’t lose that affordable housing, we do everything in our
power to maintain it.
And that’s what we’ve set out to do and will continue to do, but
it’s not going to be a very easy task, especially when the HAP payments of 30 years leave and these landowners realize that they can
get a much bigger profit for their property.
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Paulson, would you mind commenting on
that very same issue?
Secretary PAULSON. Excuse me. You will have to repeat the question.
The CHAIRMAN. Quickly.
Ms. VELAZQUEZ. That’s fine.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, and let me just say that—for a second, if the gentlewoman would yield, Mr. Secretary, I was glad to
hear you say that.
Trying to preserve the existing affordable housing will be a very
high priority for us, and we look to working—it clearly from every
standpoint makes more sense to preserve the existing housing, preempt all the zoning and other issues than to start from scratch. So
we’re glad to hear that, and you tell us what we need to do.
Next, the former ranking member of the Housing Subcommittee,
now the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, the multitasking gentlewoman from Illinois.
Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, it seems like there has been a lot of—we’ve heard a
lot of criticism that the regulators didn’t do enough and should
have acted sooner. And I know, Chairman Bernanke, that your
predecessor was on 60 Minutes the other night and he said that he
had missed the significance of practices that were going on and not
until late did he react to that, 2005 or 2006.
What are you doing to ensure that these practices, what’s happening are not overlooked or not managed—what, I know that you
spoke about monitoring but can you give us some other methods
that you will use to take a good look at these practices?
Mr. BERNANKE. As I discussed in my testimony, we are approaching this from a whole different range of ways. We are looking at
our rulemaking authority. We have promised to promulgate rules
by the end of the year that will address subprime lending practices.
We are looking at disclosures, trying to improve, for example, advertising and the timeliness of disclosures to potential borrowers.
We are working on a pilot program where we try and coordinate
with State and other Federal agencies to make sure that we are
working together to make sure that some lenders don’t fall between
the cracks, between the Federal and the State and the different
regulators that we have.

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And we’re doing what we can, as I described, to try and assist
those who are already in trouble, for example through our community outreach efforts. So we are very much aware of the seriousness
of this problem. Within the limits of our tools and authorities, we
are going to do all we can to try to help improve the situation.
Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Secretary Jackson, it’s nice to see you here, and I have a question that I probably have asked you several times before.
In 2002, HUD attempted to reform RESPA, but never issued a
final rule. Much of the discussion of the 2002 proposed rule revolved around the guaranteed mortgage package, which has provided, which would have provided lenders an exemption from the
Section 8 anti-kickback provisions of RESPA.
Is there something that we can expect to see from the Department in the new RESPA rule?
Secretary JACKSON. Yes, Congresswoman. I can project that we
would probably come back to you by the end of the year, no later
than December 31st, as I promise you, with some suggestions as
to how we approach this issue.
I made a commitment to this committee that we would not move
forward without your input, and we will have that for you by the
end of the year.
Mrs. BIGGERT. And I thank you. But the White House summary
of the President’s Homeownership Initiative stated that one of the
RESPA regulations main goals will be to limit settlement cost increases. And that probably is a laudable goal, but are there different ways of accomplishing that other than directly regulating
prices?
Secretary JACKSON. You know, Congresswoman, I don’t want to
speculate how we’re going to approach this. I would much rather
bring it to you all, get your input as to what approach we’re going
to—what approach is best to take. I think that’s probably the best
way to answer it.
Mrs. BIGGERT. Can you shed some light onto what the meaning
of the phrase is?
Secretary JACKSON. I would prefer to, if possible, have that discussion with you personally.
Mrs. BIGGERT. All right.
Then, Secretary Paulson you—in your testimony, and you didn’t
have a chance to get to something on the importance of disclosure—could you just talk about that briefly?
Secretary PAULSON. Disclosure is obviously very important, but
we have an overload of disclosure. Consumers have pages and
pages and pages of things to look at, so they tend to think of it as
being boilerplate or they don’t read it or it’s the fine print.
So I very much appreciate the role that the Fed is taking because
they’re looking at this in a very, very thoughtful way, discuss that
with the chairman. They’re doing consumer surveys, understanding
how to best reach people and they’re going to report back later in
the year.
From my two cents worth, the idea that I like a lot is every mortgage having one page, very simple, big print, you know, your mortgage payment is ‘‘x’’ dollars today and it could be as high as ‘‘y’’

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30
dollars or whatever, signed by the originator and the mortgage
holder.
But again, people who are much more expert than I am are now
looking at this very carefully, and I think too often we just say, oh,
we write it all down and have someone sign it; that’s the disclosure. And the onus, I think, has to be to come up with disclosure
that’s going to be simpler, clear and more meaningful.
Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Panelists, the Secretary has to leave, and I think
that will be the end of the panel, but the last questioner on this
panel will be the gentleman from North Carolina.
Secretary PAULSON. Can I just say one thing?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Secretary PAULSON. Mr. Chairman, I think when I do leave, I
just want to say to everyone here that I apologize. I will deal with
any of you one-on-one if you call with questions, and of course if
you want to just submit a question, I’ll give you the answer for the
record.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. The gentleman from
North Carolina.
Mr. WATT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I’m not sure whether
Secretary Paulson is leaving before or after but—
The CHAIRMAN. After your questions.
Mr. WATT. I just want to follow up on something that Mr. Baker
said earlier to Mr. Bernanke.
My experience in 15 years of serving on this committee is that
particularly in prepared comments and in off-the-cuff public comments of any kind neither the Fed nor the Secretary or any of you
make comments that don’t have some intent.
And I guess this is not necessarily a question unless you all want
to respond to it. I detect a level of animosity, Secretary Paulson
and Mr. Bernanke, in some of your comments, both prepared and
this morning, toward the GSEs.
Even, Mr. Paulson, at the bottom of page five and top of page six,
your statement that, had you to do this over again you wouldn’t
have GSEs structured like this. And I guess my comment—I hope
this is not an intent. It seems to me that there are degrees of public involvement in a number of levels. Everything that we do at the
Fed is public involvement at some level in structuring and shaping
our economy, and the government has made a judgment that we
will inject ourselves through the GSEs in a particular segment of
our economy.
So I guess my general comment is I hope you all will be a little
more careful in projecting this because I perceive a level of animosity here that I hope is not—
Secretary PAULSON. I would like to comment on that, and I’ll be
brief.
I feel no animosity. I have a high regard for the people who run
these institutions and for what they’re doing. What I said is—
which I think we all need to recognize, is that this is an unusual
construct.
It is an unusual construct when you have for-profit institutions
with boards that need to be focused on earnings per share and
their shareholders while there’s a public service mission.

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Mr. WATT. And I acknowledge that, Secretary Paulson, but that
same perceived conflict, I guess, would be in any responsibility that
we imposed on shareholder institutions. CRA has that—carries
that responsibility. Our involvement in raising or lowering the discount rate has some impact in those private markets.
And I don’t know when you start singling out one institution or
one set of institutions that—
Secretary PAULSON. The reason I did it—and I think it’s important for people to understand this—is I—when we look at an institution like this we need to understand and think through very
carefully all the issues.
And for instance I’ll just give you one example, okay. There’s
been—
Mr. WATT. Can I—I really had a question that I wanted to ask.
Maybe you could give me your other construct that you would do
if you were doing it over in writing and we could have a conversation another time. I didn’t even really—wasn’t even seeking a response from you all on this—and Mr. Bernanke, I’m sure he wants
to do it too.
Let me quickly ask a question. One of the proposals that has
been under consideration is in the bankruptcy code. Bankruptcy
judges don’t have the capacity to deal with mortgage adjustments
when folks go into foreclosure, they go into bankruptcy in fact. One
of the proposals that is being kicked around is the prospect of
changing that. Do you all have any particular responses or reactions to that, any of you?
Mr. BERNANKE. I first want to say that I have no animosity
whatsoever toward the GSEs.
Dick Syron used to be in the Fed system, and so he’s a Federal
Reserve veteran and he’s a good friend of mine. It’s just a question
of public policy and what is the best way to achieve the government’s goals without creating risks in the financial system.
On the bankruptcy code, it’s ironic in a way that the rules about
separating the house from the rest of the obligations was originally
intended to protect the borrower not the lender. So there are some
complicated issues there. I’m not prepared unfortunately this
morning to give you an insightful comment on that subject.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Jackson, any comment?
Secretary JACKSON. The only comment is I feel the same way as
my colleagues. I have no animosity. In fact—
The CHAIRMAN. We’re beyond that. We’re into bankruptcy now.
Mr. WATT. Can I just ask you all to take a look at—I think there
are going to be some proposals fairly shortly on that issue.
The CHAIRMAN. And I would say too, just because you would
have done something differently if you could do it over again
doesn’t mean you won’t work with them because I’m going to work
with the Senate; if it was up, to me there wouldn’t be one.
[Laughter]
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Paulson, do you have anything on bankruptcy?
Secretary PAULSON. Oh, I have nothing down on bankruptcy. My
biggest focus on the strong regulator, which I just think is essential, is that we not have it be bifurcated, that there is more flexibility with regard to their powers on capital—

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The CHAIRMAN. Let me just say then because you’re going to
leave, I want to acknowledge here mentioning the Senate was a little outdated because yesterday—we got an article dated yesterday
in which Senator Dodd says he promised to move quickly on a bill
to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and says he will keep
those things along with the FHA. I agree with him on that; it’s a
very encouraging article.
And again I think we have a great deal of agreement among the
three parties, House, Senate and the Administration. I congratulate Senator Dodd, he’s—frankly he’s had a full committee membership now with Senator Johnson back. So I’m rooting for it.
We’ve already sent the word. We all plan to work together.
This panel is now dismissed, and the next panel can please come
forward. Let’s do this quickly.
Hey, express your lack of animosity outside, guys. I have to get
a new panel started. Please clear the room quickly so the new
panel can get here.
Please, please. We need to clear the room. Please don’t hinder
that. People, please allow the witnesses to leave. You can talk in
the hall.
Would people please stop obstructing Senator Jackson’s ability to
leave?
The second panel, and in the order in which I have it, which implies nothing other than the way we got it typed up, we’ll begin
with Mr. Daniel Mudd, who is the president and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, and will someone please close the door?
Mr. Mudd, please start with your statement. All of the written
material that any of the witnesses want to insert into the record
will be inserted with unanimous consent, and you may now proceed
for your 5 minutes, plus a little bit.
STATEMENT OF DANIEL H. MUDD, PRESIDENT AND CEO,
FANNIE MAE

Mr. MUDD. Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and
members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify.
I want to focus my testimony on four points today. One, investors
have fled the market and liquidity has dried up in many sectors
of the mortgage finance industry. Two, what that means is that
many loans won’t be there for those who need them the most.
Those refinancing out of subprime or Alt-A loans, affordable apartment financings, rescue bonds and yes, as discussed, even some
jumbo mortgages. Three, Fannie Mae is working well, and is in
good shape to play a constructive role, but we can do more. And
four, in all of this, I hope we can keep our focus on the long-term
goal, a stable, available system of affordable housing and mortgage
finance in the United States.
Congress charted Fannie Mae, and I quote, ‘‘to provide liquidity,
affordability and stability in the low, moderate and middle income
mortgage market and to do so under all conditions.’’ That is what
we do. That is all we do, and we do it only in the United States.
As a number of observers have pointed out, the mortgage market
operated smoothly through the financial crunches before such as
1998 and in other times of distress, but not so this time because
liquidity is not returning. In fact, if you want an example of a mar-

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ket where the GSEs did not provide that stability, the subprime
market from 2003 to 2007 is your case study.
If you want an example of a market where the GSEs did not provide long-term liquidity, that case study is happening now. We
think more can be done, and we want to do our part consistent
with the charter Congress assigned us to help provide stability and
liquidity across the mortgage market.
And accordingly, since this crisis started, we have helped lenders
refinance about $6.5 billion of subprime ARMs into prime loans
through our HomeStay initiative. This has helped more than
33,000 homeowners avoid subprime payment shock.
We have committed to fund $450 million in mortgage rescue
packages from State housing finance agencies. Through August,
our loan servicers have renegotiated more than 750 loan workouts
per week, keeping about half of our seriously delinquent borrowers
out of the foreclosure process.
Our mortgage-backed security business is currently operating at
record volumes as demand for conforming product increases, but
packaging loans into securities isn’t the cure for all parts of the
conforming market and it can’t address all the liquidity needs.
So where possible under the limits of our portfolio ceiling, we
have sought to fund affordable multifamily housing mortgages and
affordable single family loans in instances where other buyers have
exited the market.
One of our primary tools since our creation in 1938 has been buying and holding mortgages and mortgage-backed securities in our
portfolio. However, as you know, our portfolio has been capped
since May of 2006, under a consent agreement with our regulator
OFHEO while we fixed our accounting and internal control weaknesses and caught up on our financial reports with the SEC.
OFHEO’s decision to give us some limited flexibility to increase
mortgage market liquidity is helpful but we believe having the
flexibility to increase our portfolio by at least 10 percent would actually allow us to be a more active long-term investor in subprime
refinance loans, affordable multifamily loans, and other critical sectors of the market where capital has dried up.
We are fast closing in on the time when the terms of the OFHEO
consent agreement will be satisfied, although this market crisis did
not wait for us. The fact is we have made tremendous progress. We
have reissued audited financials. We have vastly reduced our control weaknesses. We expect to file our 2007 quarterly SEC reports
by year end and our 2007 10K will be on time.
As we get current, we would anticipate the cap being removed,
thus allowing us full flexibility to respond to the needs of the market and fulfill our mission.
I am confident we can provide liquidity to help the home finance
market without taking any risks that we’re not capable of managing. Our purchases will comply with all relevant regulatory guidance and be consistent with the internal controls framework we
have established with OFHEO.
We think the President’s foreclosure initiative is an important
step. We look forward to working with the Administration to make
it successful. Increasing the conforming limit above the $417,000
cap to increase liquidity in the jumbo market would also be helpful.

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Were Congress to pass it, we would support such an increase and
be ready to act.
And finally, to be sure, while I have spoken mostly about Fannie
Mae and the role we should play, I want to emphasize that there
are important roles for many institutions in this crisis. Steps can
be taken now to improve the long-term health of the home finance
system.
The bad actors should be prosecuted. Transparency and clear disclosures can be put in place for both consumers and investors. But
my fear is that amidst all this turmoil and change we will lose
sight of what has brought us so far, which is a commitment to decent, affordable housing for all Americans.
That housing is beyond the reach of two-thirds of the low- to
moderate-income families in America. And the difference between
what families can afford and what a home costs is growing; it is
not shrinking.
The need is great and through this period and in the years ahead
Fannie Mae is committed to doing our part.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Mudd can be found on page 180
of the appendix.]
Mr. WATT. [presiding] Mr. Syron.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD F. SYRON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO,
FREDDIE MAC

Mr. SYRON. Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and
members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear
today. Let me on a side note just say that these are obviously complicated issues, and there are some contentious issues involved
here. And I very much appreciate the efforts of Chairman Frank
to generate an honest intellectual discussion of just what the issues
are here and to get past philosophy, in some cases, and talk about
what we can do to help people in this country.
Since I testified last in April, the problems in the subprime market have worsened, and there are indications they are spreading to
the broader economy, and I dare say, as my friend Chairman
Bernanke said, that I don’t think they would have done what they
did earlier this week if they didn’t believe that was the case.
Outside the market supported by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae,
mortgage money is either unavailable or available only at high
rates. Just yesterday, I met with the originators of approximately
70 percent of mortgages in the United States, and they told me
that the only markets in which mortgages are being freely originated are the markets in which the product can be sold to the
GSEs.
Amid this turmoil, we are taking concrete steps. We can do more.
But we’re taking concrete steps to stabilize markets and help borrowers within the boundaries of current regulatory prescriptions.
In February, we were the first secondary market participant to
announce tightened lending standards to limit future prepayment
shock for subprime borrowers, helping ensure these borrowers can
indeed afford the homes they are in.
In April, we committed to purchase up to $20 billion in more consumer-friendly mortgages that will better offer choices for subprime

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borrowers. We began delivering on that commitment this summer.
We have also seen a very substantial increase in our purchases of
mortgages to credit-impaired borrowers. Based on our experience so
far this year, we expect this year to buy 25 billion of those mortgages, and the lion’s share of that I would consider to be in the
subprime category, somewhere in the $15- to $20 billion dollar
range.
Finally, we remain very dedicated, as I think a number of people
are, to helping borrowers avoid foreclosure. Year-to-date, we have
worked out about 30,000 mortgages, for a total of about 200,000,
since the beginning of 1994.
Now these efforts will cushion the negative effect on borrowers
and communities, but they’re not by far a panacea. Certain regulatory and legislative matters are needed to alleviate the credit
crunch, restore confidence, and help more borrowers. The President’s plan for modifying FHA is a good start, as well as enhanced
borrower education and beneficial tax code changes. But the GSEs
can and should play a larger role. Meaningfully lifting the caps on
GSE portfolio growth would provide a needed backstop for mortgages, sending a positive signal. On that note, the recent OFHEO
moves, I think, are beneficial in the sense that they raised Fannie’s
cap, which I think is good, by about 2 percent. But I can tell you,
averaging over a year, it has no effect on us.
Similarly, a temporary lifting of the conforming loan market
would enable us to provide needed liquidity to the jumbo market
where rates have spiked to nearly a full percentage point above the
conforming market. In high-cost areas in particular, a temporary
lifting of the conforming loan limit might help prevent declines in
home prices that could lead to additional defaults.
In closing, let me say that a bipartisan Congress chartered
Freddie Mac to keep mortgage markets stable and functioning in
all periods. Freddie Mac can’t solve the whole problem, but we can
be and should be a part of the comprehensive solution. Our job is
to provide stable and affordable mortgage financing for families in
U.S. cities, towns, and rural communities. Actually, that is what
we are doing, and that’s what we want to do more of.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Syron can be found on page 222
of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Ms. Liben.
STATEMENT OF JUDITH LIBEN, MASSACHUSETTS LAW
REFORM INSTITUTE

Ms. LIBEN. Thank you. Good afternoon. My name is Judith
Liben, and I am a housing lawyer at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.
I thank you very much for this opportunity to testify about the
mortgage crisis that has hit not only homeowners but also another
large and growing group of people to whom very little attention
thus far has been paid. These are people across the country who
never took out a mortgage but are also losing their homes to foreclosure, and at an increasing rate. I’m talking about tenants in
foreclosed rental properties, properties that are typically but not always smaller buildings, condominiums, and single-family homes lo-

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36
cated in low-income and indeed in more upscale neighborhoods
across the country.
Many times a lender, who in this testimony I’m going to call the
banks, because that’s what they’re called on the street, whether
they’re originators or servicers or other things. Many times the
banks end up owning rental properties after foreclosure, just as
they do other properties. And then what happens to the families,
the individuals, the elders who live in the building? We have in the
last 2 weeks since we received this very kind invitation to testify
here, collected stories and articles from around the country in
many States. In our testimony we’ve listed those States. And those
stories have turned out to be remarkably similar.
The CHAIRMAN. And under the general—they’ll be part of the
record, the package you gave us will be inserted in the record.
Ms. LIBEN. Thank you very much. And, Mr. Chairman, one more
article came in last night which I’m going to talk about, and if I
could give that to the committee, I would appreciate it.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay.
Ms. LIBEN. The stories are remarkably similar. From State to
State, here’s what happens. First, the banks typically evict all the
renters in the building, for various reasons, but out they go. And
they evict them very, very quickly. Often tenants don’t even know
there has been a foreclosure. They are the last ones to find out, and
that there’s a new owner, until some guy—it’s usually a guy—
comes around and says the bank now owns your building. Here. We
have a program called Cash for Keys. We’ll give you $500 if you
get out in a week or 5 days, it obviously varies. Or we’ll give you
$800 or maybe even $1,000. And many tenants do just that.
They’ve already lost their security deposit. They take this small
amount of money. They have no place to go and they leave. And
as the Congresswoman from New York says, they go into a rental
market where they may now be competing with the foreclosed
homeowners who are looking to rent.
If a renter doesn’t take this Cash for Keys pittance, they will
then go through the legal process where they’ll be put out within
3 to 30 days in most States, with no defenses that you’re allowed
to present in court. And the banks are evicting even in those few
jurisdictions and States where it is unlawful, it is prohibited from
evicting tenants after a foreclosure. So, mass evictions are one
enormous problem, and I can tell you how widespread that problem
is later.
Second, while tenants are living in the buildings, the foreclosing
banks typically refuse to maintain, make repairs, and very often
don’t pay the utility bills so that people are left without water,
without heat, etc., to the point where some communities are starting to get alarmed. One of the articles we attached is from Oakland
where the city attorney got together a group of people, and he said
that in his city, it is becoming a humanitarian crisis.
Of particular concern to this committee is what’s happening to
Section 8 tenants. This is in the housing side of your committee.
I’ve brought with me an article from Atlanta in which over 200 tenants have been evicted from their Section 8 housing in the last—
I’m sorry, I don’t remember the period of time—and this is housing
in which the owners took the Section 8 subsidy and yet somehow

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didn’t pay their mortgage, and those tenants are out, and now the
housing authority is struggle to see how on earth can we help
them.
And, of course, vacancies lead to a downward spiral of neighborhoods, obviously crime problems, and the properties become less attractive. So even when it would make good business sense for
banks to try to keep the buildings occupied, bring in a rental
stream, make it more attractive to buyers, they usually refuse to
do so.
How widespread is this problem? Well, perhaps there’s some
study out there that gives nationwide statistics, but we haven’t
been able to find them, although I do think some of the databases
collect foreclosures by owner occupied and non-owner occupied. But
let me give you one very revealing example. In Minnesota, they
keep good track of foreclosures. And in Hennepin County, which includes the Twin Cities and the nearby surrounding suburbs, there
were about 3,000 foreclosures in 2006, which was a 100 percent increase over 2005. Thirty-eight percent of those foreclosures, city
and suburb, applied to rental properties. And remember, when we
say rental properties—excuse me. I’m sorry. My time is up.
The CHAIRMAN. You can take another 30 seconds to finish up.
Ms. LIBEN. Rental properties may be many, many units within
a building, so we don’t know how many families are affected. Thirty-eight percent applied to rentals, and in the City of Minneapolis
itself, 56 percent. This is very common in cities where you have a
higher proportion of rentals. It’s not an isolated case, and you’ll
find this replicated in other places.
And at some point, if someone wants to question us, we have—
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. That’s the general rule.
Mr. LIBEN. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Liben can be found on page 140
of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Next, Mr. John Robbins, who is chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Mr. Robbins.
STATEMENT OF JOHN ROBBINS, CHAIRMAN, MORTGAGE
BANKERS ASSOCIATION

Mr. ROBBINS. Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member Bachus, as
you know, the Mortgage Bankers Association has been in constant
dialogue with this committee since the credit crisis unfolded. The
present proposals are a welcome addition to the debate, and let me
start by saying that we support them. While they are not a silver
bullet, they offer additional options to distressed borrowers. We
have long advocated many of these changes, such as FHA modernization, RESPA reform, and financial literacy. We encourage
other actions not addressed by the President and would be happy
to discuss those with you as well.
We strongly agree with the President’s proposal to modify the
RESPA rules to promote better comparison shopping by consumers
to provide clear disclosures, limit settlement cost increases over
their initial quotes, and require better disclosure of broker fees.
The mortgage settlement process today is flawed. It floods borrowers with so much paperwork that predators can easily hide in

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plain sight. The right RESPA reform will leave predators far fewer
places to hide and make it easier to shop for a good deal on a mortgage and lessen surprises at the closing table.
The President supports State regulator-based efforts to create a
mortgage broker registration system. This will be an important improvement for consumer protection. In fact, we believe all loan
originators need to be registered regardless of their parent company’s charter. It’s the only way we’ll ever be able to hunt down
and punish bad actors.
Borrowers should also receive improved and timely disclosures
from mortgage brokers. These disclosures should clearly explain
the broker’s compensation and their relationship to that borrower.
The MBA has always championed financial literacy. Our home loan
learning center receives over a million inquiries a month currently
from consumers who are looking to educate themselves. If an educated consumer is the best defense against predatory lending, then
an uneducated consumer is a predator’s dream. We must devote resources to help people help themselves.
The President supports efforts to fight fraud and vigorously enforce existing consumer protection standards. We welcome this
scrutiny and think it is long overdue. We also agree with the chairman and others that in order to have a smoothly functioning regulatory system, we must have a strong regulatory enforcement system.
The President proposes to exclude forgiven mortgage debt from
a borrower’s gross income. While we support this effort, any change
must be done in a way that preserves the incentive for borrowers
to work with their lender on loss mitigation, and does not encourage foreclosures.
The House has already taken significant steps to enact FHA
modernization. We urge you to work with the Senate to complete
work on this important bill and send it to the President. Empowering FHA will give distressed borrowers another important tool
and help provide more options for first-time home buyers in the future.
The President’s plan includes a new foreclosure initiative. Mortgage servicers are already today working through problems with
their customers. Several CEOs from our largest member companies
met with Secretary Paulson last week to discuss their efforts. We
are working with NeighborWorks, the Housing Preservation Foundation and other community, consumer and civil rights groups to
ensure that our customers are receiving the maximum amount of
help we can provide.
One issue that the President did not address is how the GSEs
can be an active partner in addressing the credit crunch and helping distressed borrowers. Subject to appropriate safety and soundness considerations and investment parameters, we support an increase in the GSE portfolio caps to immediately inject liquidity into
the housing market. We welcomed OFHEO’s action yesterday in
this direction and hope they will move further soon.
Finally, we believe that finishing GSE reform legislation would
help add confidence to the secondary market and protect the mortgage market into the future.
Thank you.

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[The prepared statement of Mr. Robbins can be found on page
207 of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Robbins. And now Mr. Harry
Dinham, who is the past-president of the National Association of
Mortgage Brokers and runs the Dinham Companies.
Mr. Dinham.
STATEMENT OF HARRY H. DINHAM, CMC, PAST-PRESIDENT,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MORTGAGE BROKERS, THE
DINHAM COMPANIES

Mr. DINHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Bachus, and committee members. I appreciate the opportunity to testify
before you on what can be done to minimize and mitigate foreclosures for both today and tomorrow.
First we would like to commend Chairman Frank and Ranking
Member Bachus for requesting a GAO study on the causes of foreclosure. We look forward to the findings of this study. I have been
in the mortgage business for 40 years. Like most of my fellow
NAMB members, I am a small business owner living in the same
community where I work. We are witnessing firsthand the severe
impact that the current credit crunch is having. Thousands of borrowers are facing resets on their loans but unable to either refinance or sell their home in this slumping housing market. To put
it simply, people are losing their homes, and there’s no way to
measure the harm that it’s causing. In fact, my home State of
Texas has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.
Unfortunately, hundreds of large lenders are closing their doors,
shutting down their warehouse lines of credit, shifting their business in-house, and forcing retreat from those communities where
they need help the most. Because of this, there are fewer participants in the market, which means less competition, less choice, and
increased cost for consumers who are already struggling to find affordable loans.
I want to say that NAMB also supports sensible legislation and
supports efforts to accomplish this. There are a number of steps
that Congress can take to help struggling consumers. The first of
these steps was taken by the House just 2 days ago when it passed
H.R. 1852. We applaud the committee for pushing forward FHA reform, and we urge the Senate to act swiftly so that this important
legislation can go to work.
But more can be done. The turmoil that was once confined to the
nonprime market has now spread into the nonconforming and
prime market. The widening spread between conforming and jumbo
loans, one could say a panic premium, is calling for increased loan
limits, lifting of portfolio caps, and a return to stability in the market.
While we are in favor of OFHEO’s recent policy change, we urge
OFHEO to further restore confidence in our markets by lifting GSE
portfolio caps more broadly. If the regulator cannot and will not
act, we support legislative action to make this happen.
We also firmly support increasing the GSE’s conforming loan limits to make financing more accessible and affordable for homeowners, especially those living in high-cost areas, as was accomplished by the House and this committee earlier this year.

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In addition, we support initiatives to provide temporary tax relief
on canceled or forgiven mortgage debt, and believe the bankruptcy
code should be amended to give borrowers a chance to work out
their mortgage. Homeowners should not be punished because they
reached out to their lenders to restructure their loans to keep their
home.
While these are essential solutions for today, other measures can
also be taken to offer meaningful consumer protection for the generations of future borrowers:
Raising the bar to entry for the mortgage profession by establishing uniform minimum standards for education, testing and
criminal background checks for all mortgage originators;
Establishing a national registry for all mortgage originators,
such as the one put forward by Ranking Member Bachus, along
with several other leading members of this committee in H.R. 3012;
Requiring escrow accounts for taxes and insurance on all first
lien, nonprime loans, regardless of LTV;
Strengthening enforcement actions against deceptive and misleading advertisements;
Reforming the mortgage disclosure system, and moving forward
with RESPA reform, so long as it does not confuse consumers, pick
market winners and losers, or unfairly and unlawfully harm small
business; and
Improving consumer financial literacy. Clearly the best investment we can make for the future is taking measures designed to
educate consumers so that they can comparison shop and make informed financial decisions.
NAMB has been dedicated in its efforts to move forward many
of these proposals, and looks forward to continuing to work with
this committee as well as respective regulators on accomplishing
these effective solutions.
Thank you. I am available to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dinham can be found on page 84
of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Next, Mr. Bruce Marks, who is the
chief executive officer of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation.
Mr. Marks.
STATEMENT OF BRUCE MARKS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER,
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSISTANCE CORPORATION OF AMERICA

Mr. MARKS. It is good to be here, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very
much. And I want to also thank you for focusing on the tenants,
because that’s important, and the rental housing.
I’m not going to actually read the comments that are presented
in my written statement because I want to respond to some of the
issues that I’ve heard and the comments that I’ve heard over the
last 2 or 3 hours.
The first thing we should be clear about is that the subprime
lending crisis was never about homeownership; it was about generating billions of dollars in fees for brokers, for investment bankers,
for lenders, and for the rating agencies. There are six major players
out there, those four plus the borrowers and the investors. Right
now the two who are holding the responsibilities and are being

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hurt financially are primarily the borrower, but to a lesser extent,
the investors.
So let’s be clear. Because how could you say it provides homeownership for working people when you have the products which
are, one of the products is a strangulation ARM. A strangulation
ARM is not the traditional adjustable rate mortgage which goes up
and down as either the prime rate or the LIBOR rate goes up or
down. These are loans structured to fail. They start out at an affordable mortgage payment, usually at 6 or 7 or 8 percent, and
then they double. Well, who can afford an interest rate of 10 or 11
or 12 percent? They’re structured to fail.
But if that’s not bad enough, then you have option ARMs—negative amortization mortgages. Well, that means that when you make
your payments every month, you owe more. You owe more. That’s
also a predatory loan.
Thirdly, if that’s not bad enough, we have no docs. No
verification. Put down anything and you can get a mortgage. Why
did the lenders and investment bankers do that? Because they generated billions and billions of dollars in fees. And that’s where we
are today. So, please, don’t say that the subprime lending market
provided homeownership for working people or for minority home
buyers. It did not.
And we’re talking about a crisis out there. It’s nice to hear all
these things we’re nibbling around the edges. We’re talking about
two, three, and four million people losing their homes. We’ll be
back here in 6 months, saying that what we said here today didn’t
even begin to address the issue out there, because it’s a crisis. It’s
a crisis, and it’s going to get much, much worse. And I don’t
think—either people are not being—don’t realize it, or they’re not
being honest out there.
On the ground you see it. There is a solution out there. The solution is not a taxpayer bailout. It’s not even some of the things we
heard about today. It’s about restructuring loans. The lenders created the problem. The brokers also created the problem, but the
problem is, you can’t find them. They are like roaches; once you
step on one, there are about five more. But the lenders are out
there, and they created the problem, so they need to fix it.
So what’s the answer? Take what people can afford. Take their
net income, their required liabilities they have to pay every month,
their required expenses, determine what they can afford, and say
to the lenders, restructure the loans.
But look what’s happening on the ground out there. Look what
the lenders are doing. They’re saying to people, yes, you’ve made
your payments out there. Yes, we understand you could afford a 6
or 7 percent interest rate. But now we’re saying you have to—we
won’t let you out because of the prepayment penalty. And by the
way, you’re going to have to pay 10 or 11 or 12 percent. And who
can afford it? Massive numbers of people are losing their homes.
I know it might be a little bit controversial to say, and it might
get people a little angry, but I’m not sure what else to call that except economic terrorism. Because that’s what’s going on in this
country. Hardworking people—because, remember, we have a reasonably strong economy—are losing their jobs—or not losing their
jobs, but they’re losing their homes. And these lenders and

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servicers and the largest one in the country, Countrywide, well,
they’re engaged, as are others, in economic terrorism.
And then we hear from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and they
want to increase their limits. But they are now the 600 pound gorilla out there. They can determine this market. They can have a
tremendous impact on what goes on. So before their limits are increased, they should say we will not buy mortgages from people
who are engaged in unfair, deceptive, and maybe economic terrorist
tactics until they reform their overall policies, not just for the loans
that they buy.
So it’s crucial on the ground—you know, the last thing I want to
say is, I hear too much about how we’re blaming the victims. The
analogy is, if a car maker makes a vehicle that goes into overdrive
and kills lots and lots of people, what do we do? We say to them,
you have to correct your defective product. We don’t say to the drivers, you’re responsible. You’re to blame, and we’re going to take everything from you. Well, that’s what’s going on. The lenders created it, the lenders profited from it, and the lenders have to fix it.
Let me go on and talk a little bit—
The CHAIRMAN. You have another 30 seconds.
Mr. MARKS. I have another 30 seconds? There is a good way—
there is a way to do it. NACA provides prime loans to subprime
borrowers. We have $10 billion of a mortgage that is no downpayment, no closing costs, no fees, lending to subprime borrowers. The
interest rate today is 5.375 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. One
product. The performance of our loans is better than anything out
there. So this argument that you have to compensate for risk for
subprime borrowers by providing them with a mortgage that is
unaffordable, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you provide prime
loans to subprime borrowers that are affordable, they become
prime borrowers.
So we have committed a billion dollars out of that money to refinance people out of their predatory loans. But a billion dollars is
a drop in the bucket out there. So what has to happen—and we
have over 50,000 people who have responded. We have to do much
more. The lenders have to restructure these loans.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Marks can be found on page 173
of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Next, Mr. Alex Pollock, who is a resident fellow
at the American Enterprise Institute.
Mr. Pollock.
STATEMENT OF ALEX J. POLLOCK, RESIDENT FELLOW,
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE

Mr. POLLOCK. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, and members of the
committee, what we’re dealing with is the deflation of a classic
credit-inflated asset bubble. Financial markets and governments
have been here many times before. In response, it’s sensible to
have temporary programs to bridge and partially offset the impact
of the bust and to reduce the changes of a housing sector debt deflation.
We can also take long-term steps to fundamentally improve the
functioning of the mortgage market. And here, as some of you

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know, I have a very simple but I believe very powerful idea, which
is to tell borrowers what they really need to know about the mortgage in a clear and straightforward way. I appreciate the supporting comments of Congresswoman Maloney and Ranking Member Bachus and Secretary Paulson for this idea earlier today.
Needless to say, the unsustainable expansion of the subprime
mortgage credit activity, but more importantly, the great American
house price inflation of the 21st Century are over. Typical estimates of credit losses to lenders and investors are about $100 billion. All these elements of boom and bust display the classic patterns of recurring credit overexpansions and their aftermath, as
colorfully discussed by such students of financial cycles as Charles
Kindleberger, Walter Bagehot, and Hyman Minsky.
It’s important to remember that the boom gets going because
people experience financial success. This time we had the greatest
house price inflation ever, according to Professor Robert Shiller,
who carefully studies these matters. If the price of an asset is always rising, the risk of the loans comes to seem less and less, even
as the risk is in fact increasing, and more leverage always seems
better.
Now house prices are falling on a national basis, and with excess
supply and falling demand, it’s not difficult to arrive at a forecast
of further significant drops in house prices as well as continued increases in mortgage delinquencies and defaults.
So, what to do? There are two categories of possible responses,
as I said. Temporary programs to bridge the bust, and fundamental, long-term improvements. In the bridging-the-bust category,
I think looking for an appropriate means of refinancing adjustable
rate subprime mortgages is a project definitely worth pursuing.
President Bush, H.R. 1852, numerous Members of Congress and
the FHA itself, as Secretary Jackson was saying this morning, have
suggested using the FHA as a means to create a refinancing capability for these subprime mortgages, and I think this makes sense,
because the FHA is and always has been since its creation in 1934
a subprime lending institution.
While we’re pursuing this, though, we also have to consider that
the mortgage servicers, who are the ones who actually deal with
the borrower, are agents for the bondholders of securitization
trusts in most of the cases. Their duty as agents is to maximize the
returns of the bondholders of the trust. But I believe that a special
program in which the FHA could refinance 97 percent of the current value of the house and the investors would accept a loss on
any difference between that and the principal owed, would in fact
be an alternative preferable to foreclosure for the investors, as well
as obviously so for the borrowers. Chairman Bernanke also expressed this view a few minutes ago.
Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I do not favor an increase in the conforming loan limit and thereby expanding implicit
government subsidies to the jumbo market. But perhaps, odd as it
may seem coming from someone at AEI, I do favor granting Fannie
and Freddie a special authorization for an increased mortgage portfolio.
However, I believe this should be strictly limited to a segregated
portfolio devoted solely to refinancing subprime ARMs. In my view,

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such a special authorization might be for $100 billion each and include the ability to purchase FHA-insured subprime ARM
refinancings. That would give FHA loans both a Ginnie Mae and
a Fannie/Freddie outlet for funding, but it needs to be strictly limited to this purpose.
Finally, a market economy based on voluntary exchange requires
that the parties understand the contracts they’re entering into, and
in particular, a good mortgage finance system requires the borrowers understand how the loan will work and how much of their
income it will demand. It’s utterly clear that the current American
mortgage system does not achieve this. A recent striking study by
the FTC confirmed this with consumer research. This is a fundamental failure of the American mortgage system.
So what we need to get is informed borrowers so they can better
protect themselves. That means information, as others have said.
It has to be simply stated and clear in regular-size type, and presented from the perspective of what commitments the borrower is
making. That is, the disclosure should focus on the financial impact
on the borrower—and this can be done on one page. Mr. Chairman,
here it is. I call it Basic Facts About Your Mortgage Loan. I believe
a borrower should get this well before closing signed by the lender.
I really appreciate the fact that Ranking Member Bachus and cosponsors have included this proposal in H.R. 3012, that Congressmen Green and McHenry are working on a bill along these lines,
and that Senator Schumer announced his intent to introduce a
Senate bill with this proposal yesterday. I think this is a completely bipartisan idea, and with whatever else we do, we ought to
do that. Thanks again for the opportunity to be here.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pollock can be found on page 195
of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. The questioning will begin with the gentleman
from Massachusetts, Mr. Lynch.
Mr. LYNCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding
this hearing. I want to thank the ranking member as well, and I’d
like to thank the panelists here for their help in informing the committee and helping us with our work.
I know that most of you on this panel were here for most if not
all of the testimony of the previous panel, Mr. Paulson and Mr.
Bernanke especially, but I personally got the sense by their remarks—and this was true of the previous hearing, that they are of
the opinion that this crisis was either well in hand or actually behind us.
And I think that is in stark contrast to some of the comments
I’ve heard here today. Ms. Liben and Mr. Marks, I think, you’ve
been emphatic in the scale and the scope of this problem. I also
think Mr. Bernanke, especially in his remarks, evidenced by his
statement that he thought the GSEs in their offer of help, the help
ought to be temporary and they ought to do it quick because pretty
soon the market is going to take care of this thing and there will
be no crisis.
I am not of that opinion. I’ve read through all of your testimony.
Mr. Mudd, I noticed had a very good synopsis of the scale of the
problem, and you note correctly that there is about $600 billion in
subprime mortgages that will not reset until 2008.

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And that will be another impact as well, not only in the
subprime market but also in the wider markets. We don’t have a
compartmentalized economy here, and I think as you’ve indicated
there will be a wider impact.
My feeling is that as far as the GSE’s role, they need to get in
the game in a bigger way. We set them up in the charters here to
do exactly what they need to do right now and provide liquidity.
I have in my hand, you wouldn’t know it from the previous testimony, but there is a list of 80 lenders that have closed shop or
been acquired or stopped making loans. I have a list of about 120
hedge funds and private equity funds that are in dire straits because of their investments in subprime paper.
I would like to ask you, Mr. Mudd specifically, given that the
consent decree which capped your portfolio was built around several requirements and actions you needed to take in order to fix
the accounting and control problems that were discovered, can you
update this committee as to where you stand on your financial reporting and other remediation efforts and where are we in that
process?
I know the chairman called at the beginning of this hearing for
the Senate to take up the GSE bill, and I am in full support of
that, but I’d like to just get a snapshot of where we are in this
process. And Mr. Syron, if you could, elaborate on your side as well.
Mr. MUDD. Sure, absolutely, Congressman. We’re registered with
the SEC. We completed our restatement, which was redoing the financials from 2001 through 2004. We have subsequently issued our
financials for 2005 and 2006. We would expect to have the quarters, the quarterly report 10–Qs out for 2007 and to file the year
as with other companies, completing the current year on time this
year.
Those are kind of the items that have been checked off. The
other way to think about those is it’s not just going through the
paces. But there is an enormous amount of underlying work that
starts with a review of all your accounting policies, rebuilding the
systems that support those, rebuilding the team, not only in the accounting department but at various levels of management, changing board procedures, and creating independent reporting.
Indeed, the chairman of our audit committee is the former head
of the FASB, to take one example. So there has been really an
overhaul from top to bottom that has produced that amount of
progress. So I guess my argument would be that while we’re anticipating being a current filer, and having all those items solved,
we’re not there yet, and I understand that’s for us to do.
But certainly in this time we’ve made more than 10 percent improvement in the way that we operate that would justify a 10 percent increase in the cap.
Mr. LYNCH. Okay. Absolutely.
Dr. Syron.
Mr. SYRON. Thank you, Congressman Lynch. Don’t call me ‘‘doctor’’ because I don’t do colds.
Our situation, I think, is quite similar in a lot of ways to what
Dan talked about. I mean we have totally rebuilt our organization
in terms of the management of the organization, order of the orga-

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nization, our accounting systems, our control systems. This takes
a while.
We have made, I think, enormous progress. We have a little
ways to go. But we filed this year—no, last year right after the
turn of the year, we filed quarters for this year. We’ll file another
quarter before Thanksgiving. We will file our 2007 10–K on a timely basis.
Shortly after that we will be filing with the SEC, and again I like
the construct that Dan used. If you wanted to say there wasn’t any
cap on these institutions—and I’ve been open in previous history
in saying that I think in some parts we grew too fast, but gee, to
have a complete ceiling now, right, while these organizations have
made substantial progress and say, well, you have to wait until you
get to the total end—I mean these organizations are creatures of
the body politic, and they should do what the body politic wants.
The body politic set a capital ratio for the organization. We
agreed because of our problems to have a 30 percent cap over that.
It’s a cap even on top of that.
Mr. LYNCH. Okay. Mr. Chairman, could I have 30 seconds?
The CHAIRMAN. Very quickly.
Mr. LYNCH. All right. I just want to thank—Mr. Mudd, I know
you’ve done some great work with the Mass Housing Finance Agency in my district, as well as Ms. Liben and Mr. Marks, you’ve done
great work in my district putting people, hardworking people,
maybe some low-income people but hardworking people into housing that they could afford, and that is much appreciated.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas.
Mr. HENSARLING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and again, thank
you for holding this hearing on a very important and somewhat
vexing challenge that our Nation faces.
I ask myself several questions every time we have a hearing on
the subject of the subprime market. Number one, how big is the
problem? If we take a snapshot of it today relative to 2002, perhaps
it isn’t that bad. I’m not sure we have a crisis.
Certainly individuals who lose their jobs and lose their homes
have a personal crisis, but my concern is where is it headed, particularly with all the resets scheduled for next year. So we ask ourselves the question, what is it that we do now if we fear larger economic implications for our Nation, and number two, how do we prevent it from happening in the future, and will whatever cure we
concoct be better than the illness?
Second, let me ask the gentleman from the GSEs, you’re clearly
advocating an increase in your loan limits, but I’m still a little unclear on how this is going to help the subprime market.
I’m also under the impression, correct me if I’m wrong, that nothing prevents you from securitizing the subprime loans as we speak.
Tell me, why wouldn’t we instead be wiser to decrease your loan
limits and force a greater focus on the subprime market, Mr.
Mudd?
Mr. MUDD. Thank you, Congressman.
Two points. One is with respect to the limits. When Congress
first established those limits the idea was—I think at least accepted that prices weren’t the same everywhere so there was a higher

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limit in Alaska and Hawaii, as it turned out. But if you look now
at the prices of homes, the average price of a home in Alabama or
Mississippi is in the vicinity of $100,000; in California it’s in the
vicinity of $800,000.
For a lot of areas in this country, a fairly expensive home actually often turns out to be a starter home. So if that’s an issue that
Congress wants to pursue, I said we’d be happy to act there.
With respect to the size of the portfolio cap as a general matter—
Mr. HENSARLING. Excuse me. I was just speaking of your loan
limits, not your portfolio cap.
Mr. MUDD. That’s the principal focus on—and I think the second
part of your question was how does that affect the other part of the
market.
I guess the only illustration that I would give you is that there
seems to be a notion that each of these markets operates as its own
contained bucket of liquidity. So there’s subprime and Alt-A and
prime and jumbo, and it turns out that actually it’s a broad pool.
There are distinctions between those various products, but an increase in liquidity overall in the market is generally helpful to everybody.
It’s true that so far the conventional conforming piece, our piece
that we focus on, has held up pretty well. The neighboring sectors
of the market have not held up well, and there are those there that
would tell you this is worse than—
Mr. HENSARLING. If I could, don’t the jumbo tend to be the more
profitable for your company?
Mr. MUDD. Well, we don’t do jumbos. We don’t do jumbos right
now, and I would say as—
Mr. HENSARLING. Would they prove to be the most profitable?
Mr. MUDD. And I would say the profitability would generally be
comparable to the broad scale of loans that we invest in.
Mr. HENSARLING. Dr. Syron, nothing personal, but in the interest
of time, I’m going to move on.
Mr. Pollock, I can’t tell you just how much enthusiasm I have for
your one-page disclosure form. It is only exceeded by my enthusiasm at Congresswoman Maloney’s response, since she is in a far
better position to do something about it.
I have always feared that as Congress mandates more disclosure,
that eventually too much disclosure becomes no disclosure, so I applaud you for that.
But in the remaining time that I have, I looked at part of your
testimony where you speak about how Federal intervention should
be temporary, inhibit as little as possible personal choice and longrun innovation and we in Congress should not—careless lenders,
investors, speculative borrowers.
Could you speak a little bit about moral hazard as far as what
incentives Congress would provide should we choose to bail out the
players in the market?
Mr. POLLOCK. First of all, Congressman, thanks very much for
your comments on the one-page form.
I think the moral hazard issue is exactly what I was trying to
get at in the paragraph which you quote there from my testimony.
In the bust where there is a danger of a debt deflation where declining asset prices lead to greater defaults, lead to further declin-

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ing asset prices you can do temporary things I think sensibly, and
I mentioned a couple of the things I think you might.
But in doing that you don’t want to do all the other things I mentioned. You don’t want to bail out careless investors, careless lenders, speculators, liars, and you do, above all, want to do things
which are temporary.
I have done a study of the history of government-sponsored enterprises.
The CHAIRMAN. We don’t have time for the history. If we can get
contemporary—
Mr. POLLOCK. Can I summarize the history, Mr. Chairman, in 10
seconds?
The CHAIRMAN. No, if you could answer in the policy term, we
are over time.
Mr. POLLOCK. It is this, that government-sponsored enterprises
are a deal between the government and an enterprise, which the
government should look at again every once in a while. And the notion of a program which focuses Fannie and Freddie more on refinancing a specific asset, subprime adjustable rate troubled loans
would in my mind come in the realm of such a temporary deal.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HENSARLING. My time is up. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from North Carolina. We’ll do
that, then we’re going to go through some votes. I would ask the
panel to stay.
I certainly plan to come back. I think these may be the final
votes of the day. I apologize, but it is—a lot of the staff will be here
and members will be here and I do plan to come back and I would
hope to ask my questions.
The gentleman from North Carolina.
Mr. MILLER OF NORTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Pollock, I’m sure that Mr. Hensarling would be even more
surprised that I also agree that the current disclosures are apparently intentionally incomprehensible. They come at closing when
it’s too late to do anything about it, and usually the borrower signs
10 or 15 pages in 2 or 3 minutes. And so not surprisingly a lot of
people don’t know what they’ve signed and what’s in their loan.
Where I think we part company is your apparent belief that better disclosure is enough, and is a solution in and of itself.
Mr. Pollock, if someone who has been hurt in a car wreck hires
a lawyer and the insurance company tells the lawyer, we’ll pay
$40,000, but if your client takes $20,000, we’ll pay you $10,000, if
that’s disclosed, if the client signs a piece of paper and says they
agree to that, is that okay or is there something wrong with that
is not fixed by disclosure?
Mr. POLLOCK. Congressman, thanks for that question. My point
was not that disclosure addresses the current situation but that it
addresses a really important element of a long-run, very much
needed fix in the way our entire mortgage finance system works.
Mr. MILLER OF NORTH CAROLINA. Do you agree with me that the
facts that I posed is a betrayal of faith, it is fraudulent, it is morally reprehensible?
Do you agree with me that that is not okay, even if it’s—even
if the client signs a form and says I agree to this?

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Mr. POLLOCK. The point is not to get you out of the commitment
or to put you into a bad commitment because you signed the form.
The point is to make sure that you understand what you’re
doing, and if you choose to take risks, and I think Americans
should be able to take risks if they choose to, but they ought to
know what risks they’re taking.
Mr. MILLER OF NORTH CAROLINA. Fair enough.
A couple of years ago, I think, Mr. Dinham’s predecessor testified
here and I showed him a rate form, a rate sheet from a mortgage
lender that went to brokers. And down one side of the form was
a grid. Down one side of the form it showed credit scores and then
across the top it showed loan to value or vice versa, and then it
showed the interest rate that the borrower qualified for.
But there was a footnote, and at the bottom it said that for every
point higher interest that the borrower agreed to pay the broker
would get an additional half-point payment from the lender. It’s
called a yield spread premium.
I asked him about it. He first said that, well, I don’t do business
with that lender. And I said, well, you do business in this area;
does that happen, is that a common practice? And then I got a fairly long non-answer that I took to mean yes, that happens, it’s a
fairly common practice.
I said if you have a consumer who could have gotten a 7 percent
loan on the very same terms but instead gets a 9 percent loan
where the broker gets a one percent additional yield spread premium in addition to whatever up-front commission they would
have, does that strike you as something the law should allow?
And he said that is part of the agreement between you as a customer and me, that’s part of my total compensation, that has been
disclosed to you, it would be okay. But if this is a bonus that is
outside the plan, if it is not disclosed on a good faith estimate or
anything else and I said, so if a consumer signs a piece of paper—
at that point the subcommittee chairman Bob Ney, Mr. Ney, interrupted me and told me my time had expired. Do you believe the
law should allow that?
Mr. POLLOCK. I believe the law should encourage competitive
markets. If you go to one store you can buy tomatoes for $1 and
they might be $1.50 someplace else, and it would be the same tomatoes. But if it says on the label $1.50, that’s the price you ought
to pay, we ought to have markets that make it as efficient as possible for people to understand what they’re really getting into and
what they’re really paying.
The disclosure I recommend focuses less on what the broker gets,
although I know that’s an issue in many people’s minds, than exactly what commitments the borrower is making. I think the most
important thing is, borrower, do you understand what commitments you’re making and how much of your income it’s going to
take.
Mr. MILLER OF NORTH CAROLINA. Mr. Pollock, do you think on
your one-page form instead of showing what the interest rate is
and may become it should also show what you qualified for based
upon how well you’ve paid your bills over your lifetime? Do you
think that’s something that’s not on your form that should be?

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Mr. POLLOCK. That would be something we could talk about,
Congressman. I’d have to think about that.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman’s time has again expired and we
do have to go on.
I will, Mr. Pollock, when I come back, ask you to expand on the
analogy.
Mr. MARKS. Can I respond to one point on the yield spread premiums?
The CHAIRMAN. Very quickly.
Mr. MARKS. You hit on an absolutely crucial point. The fact is,
because the yield spread premium should be prevented, it should
be outlawed, because the fact is what they’re doing is brokers are
incentivized to lie to the customer, to lie to the borrower to say
they know what the par rate is. But in order for them to get paid
they have to convince the borrower that they can only afford a
much higher interest rate.
You’re setting brokers up to steal and to lie to borrowers because
that’s the only way that they get the significant compensation out
there.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. We will now have to break for votes.
It may be as long as 45 minutes, but I hope that people will stay.
I do want to come back, and particularly I want to hear more
about the analogy between buying a house through a broker and
buying tomatoes because it did not appear to me to be immediately
obvious.
Mr. POLLOCK. A used car might be better, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROBBINS. Can I provide also another point with that argument when you return?
The CHAIRMAN. We’ll go back to your tomatoes—yes, when we
come back you may.
Mr. ROBBINS. Thank you.
[Recess]
The CHAIRMAN. We had a pleasant surprise when we finished
earlier. I did not want to have you waiting in case it went as long
as it usually does. I think a motion that would have taken half-anhour was ruled out of order.
Not everybody is back, but I think in the interest of time, we will
begin. Mr. Campbell indicates he is ready to go. The gentleman
from California is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My first two questions are for Mr. Mudd and Dr. Syron.
My biggest concern in this whole thing is not about what I can
see, it is about what I cannot see. Do you have recourse? These
questions are for either of you. Recourse with any originators?
Mr. MUDD. Yes. We will on occasion have a recourse arrangement with a lender.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Dr. Syron?
Mr. SYRON. We often have recourse arrangements.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Does that recourse exist with any originators
that are no longer around?
Mr. SYRON. No. In the sense that we had an originator who is
no longer around and we had to go in and be sure that we got files
and all those kinds of things, we came out of it fine, but your point
is valid, that we have to monitor not just them but all

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counterparties and be sure we are in a secure position, particularly
in this period, obviously.
Mr. MUDD. Same answer, no. We have used recourse in very limited circumstances when the value of the recourse would be higher
than the value of another credit guarantee product that would be
available out there. That means that it is subject to a very high
rating. As you know, none of those folks are off the radar screen.
Mr. CAMPBELL. In your delinquencies, I know what your overall
delinquencies are, what about your delinquencies amongst loans
made recently, in the last 12 months, this year, anything like that.
Is that higher than your overall portfolio delinquencies?
Mr. MUDD. We have said this publicly and continue to believe it
to be true. The general level of delinquencies on the book are going
up, given what we do and given that we are an insurer and a guarantor for mortgages, our insurance would not be much if the cost
did not go up when our customers were having difficulties.
Whereas they have been in the range of one to two basis points,
one to two one hundredths of a point, we expect them to go up to
about 4 to 6 basis points, which is about in line with historical levels, but not as high as the 12 to 13 basis point level that you would
see associated with like the oil patch, that type of thing.
Mr. SYRON. Long term, we have priced for a 4 basis point problem. As Dan said, we were down to well below one basis point for
a while. I have seen it move up. It is still in the four range down
to the two to three range, but we expect it will come up in the
neighborhood we are talking about.
Mr. CAMPBELL. What percentage of the portfolios that you guarantee, have, hold, mortgage based securities, whatever, are ARMs?
Are adjustable? Are going to have resets?
Mr. MUDD. Our range of ARMs tends to run in the 20-ish percent
range, mid to high 20 percent range. The question, it seems to me,
goes to what condition are those loans in when they reset, and the
broad majority of those loans are prime, conventional, well underwritten with some home price appreciation behind them.
The ones that worry us the most really was those loans that
were originated for the market in general in 2006, and a microcosm
of that would also apply to us, parallel to the answer I gave you
a moment ago.
Those resets, Congressman, will peak kind of between March and
September of next year, but remain at a fairly high level throughout.
Mr. SYRON. We have about the same thing. We have about 18
percent in adjustable rates. We do not guarantee any 2/28s or 3/
27s. We have the same expectation as everyone’s expectation as
you look across the curve on resets.
We are not out of the woods by a very long shot.
Mr. CAMPBELL. My final question, different area, but for both of
you, and anybody can comment if they want.
You mentioned earlier, Mr. Mudd, I think you were the one that
mentioned the average home price in Mississippi was $100,000,
and the average home price in California. I am in Orange County,
California, one of those areas where the average home price in my
district is near a million. In the county, 3.4 million people, it is
close to $800,000 now.

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How do we change the jumbo rates so that you are not financing
the most expensive house in Mississippi while still basically in my
area of California, you cannot do a conforming loan, you cannot do
an 80 percent loan to value conforming loan on the average house?
Mr. MUDD. As I understand it, one of the solutions that has been
proposed is to identify the high-cost States and make the loan limit
in those States a multiplier off of the otherwise national conventional conforming limit.
As I suggested earlier, that was done by statute in the beginning
with Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. I was not around. I do not know
why. It is clear where some of those high-cost States are not. That
formula could be provided.
The one caveat or proviso I would make is that our HUD housing
goals are denominator based, and a change in that base would
move the denominator and change the math on the housing goals
significantly.
I would just remind Congress that would need to be addressed
in the process as well, Congressman.
Mr. SYRON. Dan has raised a very important point. If we were
to make—in California, the average house price, I think, is 8 times
the per capita income nationally, it is about 31⁄2 times, so it is
clearly a very different situation.
Just because you make more loans in the denominator, does not
mean that you are making any less effort in the numerator. The
percentage would change. We really ought to be concerned about
the number of folks that you are helping in the numerator, put into
these houses.
I think it is an incorrect notion to think that if you raise in high
cost areas the jumbo loan limit, that it takes you away from your
mission.
The CHAIRMAN. Will the gentleman yield? My understanding of
our bill is we do this by metropolitan area, not just by the whole
State. We do a cost analysis based on the MSA, which we think is
the rational way to do it, so the loan limit varies with the median
house price.
Fortunately, the Census Bureau already does that. Nobody has
to do anything new. We already have median house prices by metropolitan area.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Particularly in California where there are several
distinct markets that have very different averages.
Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Georgia.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to go on a little different track here, and to pick a
favorite phrase from the President. Perhaps we need to focus on
how we can do some creative preemptive strikes. If we do not do
some things to detect this before it happens, it repeats itself, and
we learn nothing from this.
If we know that at the heart of this problem is how to detect
abusive lending practices for loans that are made to people with
weak and bad credit, that is essentially it, which falls into
subprime lending.
In each of the testimonies this morning from Treasury Secretary
Paulson, Housing Secretary Jackson, and Fed Chairman Bernanke,

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they each referenced—I think one said a lack of information. Another said not aware. Another said a lack of knowledge.
Somewhere along the line, each one hit the same chord that
what we have here, to paraphrase another great saying, is a failure
to communicate with our most basic group, those people who are
targeted are targeted in the low-priced homes and the low-income
communities, where their sophistication, education is not as it
ought to be.
We know that. Where are we going to get the energy and the urgency to put together some very creative financial literacy and financial education packages, and in addition to that, a way to preempt some of the predatory lending practices that is causing this?
My idea is, and I throw this out, and what I am trying to do is
get your reaction to this, I have been sort of preaching it for a
while, it is not just going to be financial literacy programs, but to
establish an 1–800 number here, set up a machinery, really out of
the Treasury Department, with human beings on the other end.
Then not only as a conduit for information on a two way street,
but we get marketing programs out, get them to NAACP, get them
to ACORN, get them to the senior citizen groups, the preachers
and the churches, the people who relate to these people, with the
universal message, before you sign on the dotted line, call this
number. Even more importantly, why not go a step further and require by law a background check?
We have the technology. We are very sophisticated. Most assuredly, if we can do background checks and instant background
checks at that on the purchase of firearms, to make sure the people
are not mentally incompetent or they are the proper age or have
a criminal background, why cannot we begin to look at that this
way and say for those subprime loans, particularly those where the
individual has bad credit, we can come up with a formula. We can
come up with something.
Before that can go through, it has to have that instant check,
that background check. Some way we can be preemptive and look
at this.
What it will do more than anything else is it will send a message
out to those who practice these predatory lending practices to say
I better not do this because these kinds of loans with these kinds
of communities, they are going to be doing a background check, or
there is a way for them.
Have the communications pointed out, obviously, before they sign
on a dotted line, before they do anything, that they call, but also
have it where we have the system in place that we can do some
sort of checks on that, in addition to all the other financial literacy
points.
I would love to get your response to this, do you think it is a
great idea. Is it something we can—
The CHAIRMAN. Very quickly, the gentleman is almost out of
time.
Mr. SYRON. Just very quickly, I think you need to do two things.
I think you have to enhance financial literacy for a whole lot of reasons beyond housing, but that alone, I am afraid I disagree with
some people that just the price of tomatoes thing does not necessarily work.

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Mr. SCOTT. I do not mean alone.
Mr. SYRON. Disclosure alone will not do it. The plain fact of the
matter that we have found is if you originate it, someone will buy
it. I think what the mortgage brokers have talked about, about registering people and getting some mechanism to assure, even if people have been educated, they do not get into a bad loan, that is essential.
The CHAIRMAN. We will take one other response, if there is one,
but then we have to move on.
Mr. Robbins?
Mr. ROBBINS. This is what the licensing is all about, background
checks. We propose that if you have been convicted of a felony, that
you cannot get a license to originate mortgages, and that a national
registry be kept so that you can track the bad players in the industry from State to State and city to city, company to company.
You would have your background check. They would be
fingerprinted. It would require the passage of tests, educational responsibility, and that subsequently, if they were convicted of a
crime related to this, they would lose their license.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from West Virginia, who is
now the ranking member of the Housing Subcommittee.
Ms. CAPITO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to serving
in that new capacity. I am excited to work with Chairwoman Waters and with the chairman of the full committee.
I wanted to just say to my colleague that there is an 1–800 number. I found it in my notes. It’s a national hotline, 1–888–005–
HOPE, which is run by the Home Ownership Preservation Foundation, in partnership with Neighbor Works, along the lines of what
the gentleman was referring to.
I guess getting the word out is the important thing there.
I have been sitting here listening pretty much all day. I was
thinking about what Secretary Paulson said about telling borrowers when they feel they are in trouble that they should get with
their lender, do not pull away but try to get with the lender to find
out if they can have some help.
I know that is a push nationally, communication. That was actually said the other day on the radio in a local talk radio scenario.
I started thinking to myself about that person who is drowning in
debt probably, it is not just the home they own that they are having trouble making payments, it is their credit card, it is their insurance, it is their water bill.
If you have to prioritize what you are going to pay first, you are
probably going to pay your home first, hopefully after you pay your
taxes maybe.
It is very, very difficult for people. It almost goes against the
grain because you are getting dunned by all these other credit organizations to say the best way you can help yourself is to call your
lender and find out where you can get help.
I think we really need to get that message out. I am not sure
how we can do it. The other question I have is, in this day and age,
who really is your lender? It used to be you walked down the
street, you knew your neighborhood banker, because you owned the
local grocery store or whatever, and you knew who they were. Now,

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I am not. It is an 1–800 number in a lot of cases you have to call.
There is no personalization.
That, I think, makes it more difficult when you begin to drown
in debt, for you to be able to pick up the phone and call an unknown person to say I need help, help me.
I think we have to be really creative with the way that we promote this right now. I would like to know if anybody knows of any
national scenarios where lenders really are going out to the people
that are starting to fail, and instead of dunning them or aggressively trying to recover, trying to lend a hand to them.
Mr. ROBBINS. Yes. Let me respond to that. Being chairman of the
Mortgage Bankers Association, I have had the opportunity to talk
to the major servicers within our organization, which probably
cover the vast majority of loans serviced in this country.
I would tell you that all of them have put programs into place,
including early intervention, where, if their security allows, they
will contact borrowers up to 90/120 days ahead of time, before their
loan recasts, and start to talk to them about whether the borrower
expects to have a problem, whether the loan reset going to be a
problem.
Not all securities permit that early intervention, but we just recently got a ruling from the SEC that reinforces that we can do
that.
The industry is utilizing that technique, remembering that the
vast majority of borrowers do not respond. We have a very hard
time getting borrowers to respond to our inquiries.
We have gone and hired and are using counseling services, consumer organizations, to intervene in our behalf and help us do that
ahead of time.
As you well know, the industry loses $40,000 to $50,000 for every
mortgage that goes into foreclosure, money that just walks about
the door. We are highly motivated to try to help that borrower be
successful over a long period of time.
Mr. MARKS. Can I please respond?
Ms. CAPITO. Yes.
Mr. MARKS. Now let’s talk about the reality. That is nice in theory. That is not what is going on. Let’s take two examples.
To a certain extent, they are restructuring, and it is really crucial that we understand what it is. That means the lenders have
to restructure the loan, reduce the interest rate or reduce the outstanding principal. There are few that are doing that. HSBC is
doing that on a limited scale.
On the other hand, you have Countrywide who says that they
have assisted 35,000 people. Now they say of that, half of those
people they have assisted by deed in lieu of foreclosure or short
sale. They pushed them out of their homes.
Now what Mozilo has said yesterday was his answer is to hire
more people in India to foreclose on American homeowners.
Those are nice theories but the reality is it is not getting done
and it is clear why people do not call the lender, because the lender, all they want is more money on a loan that is unaffordable.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Robbins, did you want to respond?
Mr. ROBBINS. Yes. Thank you. They are a great deal more than
theory. No bank or organization, including Countrywide, that

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wants to own a home, take it back in a foreclosure, try to refurbish
it, put it back on the market and re-sell it.
Mr. MARKS. Well—
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marks, please.
Mr. MARKS. Sorry.
Mr. ROBBINS. To the best of their ability, if they are able to do
it within the terms of the structured security in which the loan is
embedded, they will use early intervention programs. They will use
all of the techniques that are at their disposal. Short sales are certainly one of those techniques. A deed in lieu is certainly one, but
so is forbearance, which is being used to a major extent in the
loans today. So are loan modifications where the loan is recast either in term or in interest rate or a combination of both.
There are a number of tools that mortgage bankers, mortgage
servicers, are motivated to use. The last thing in the world that we
want is for that loan to go into foreclosure.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think that I can say
that America thanks you for this hearing because all of America is
concerned about what is happening in the subprime market and in
the housing market in general.
I would like to also thank Mr. Perlmutter for staying so I am not
last.
[Laughter]
Mr. GREEN. To my friends who represent the GSEs, one of the
problems that we have, of course, is qualifying for a teaser rate and
not qualifying for the adjusted rate.
Do you have in your portfolio these types of instruments?
Mr. SYRON. Earlier this year in February, we said that either in
portfolio or in loans that we buy in securities that we might hold,
that we would not have loans that were not done at the fully amortized rate.
I think we have some legacy loans that have been done in that,
and that became effective given the market a chance to adapt by
September 13th.
Mr. GREEN. As of September 13th, you are no longer doing it?
Mr. SYRON. That is right.
Mr. MUDD. Same answer, Congressman. We are fully in compliance with all the interagency regulatory guidance, both on
subprime and non-traditional that speaks to this.
Even before that, we had a set of policies that we adhered to internally when the market had none with respect to prepayment,
credit life insurance, origination processes and so forth. We adhered to those.
Also, we did our best with the voice that we had to sound the
concerns that when all of the chickens came home to roost on the
various features in these loans, the consumer would be facing a
vastly different deal than they thought they had.
Mr. GREEN. In trying to find a cure, if you will, for this, having
a teaser rate and an adjusted rate that you do not qualify for, how
does one do this? How can you possibly qualify the person for the
adjusted rate when you do not really know what it is at the time
the teaser rate is accorded to the borrower?

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Mr. MUDD. Typically, what is done is the underwriting is done
to the first adjustment level or to an average adjustment level over
a period of time and not just to the teaser rate itself. It happens
at origination.
I think with this interagency guidance that came through, there
seems to be a high degree of compliance with that, Congressman.
Mr. GREEN. Mr. Marks, quickly, can you tell me, please, the
source of the billion dollars that you have at 5.375, no down payment, no fees?
Mr. MARKS. Yes. Actually, it is $10 billion. It is with Citigroup
and Bank of America. We have one product and we counsel people
to that one product, and our buyers and the people that we refinance would be considered subprime borrowers.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you. The renters, I am concerned about them.
I was at one time fortunate enough to be the judge of a court that
had exclusive jurisdiction over forcible detainers, forcible entry and
detainers, and we commonly called them eviction lawsuits.
Tell me what is your proposal such that we can embrace this on
a national scale as opposed on a State-by-State basis? I am aware
that in Texas, we have some notice requirements once there is a
foreclosure. I also am aware that this varies from State to State.
How would you have us embrace it? Do you have some language
that perhaps you may not be able to share now, but you can share
with me later, or if you can generally tell me, I would be most appreciative.
Ms. LIBEN. I can share some broad ideas, if that would be helpful. First of all, you are right. Foreclosure and eviction of residents
on foreclosed property is a matter of State law. It changes from
State to State. There are a few States that do a terrific job on this,
and in fact, do not allow eviction post foreclosure unless there is
another grounds for the eviction.
Lawyers and housing advocates and homeless advocates have
started on their State level first. When they get their head above
helping the individuals, they look to their State legislatures and
they say could we not have more protective laws.
Some States are starting to do this. In our own State, we are
making progress on a law that says foreclosure does not automatically terminate a tenancy, but even those are somewhat modest
steps.
No one has taken a hard look yet at what could be done on the
Federal level, but we have a few ideas.
First of all, just on the issue of Section 8 tenants, that we should
involve HUD and people who know what is going on and saying
let’s take a look at this and see what we can do to assist Section
8 tenants and make sure our Section 8 money is not going to landlords who are now applying that money toward their building and
toward their mortgages.
That is some work with HUD.
I think the second thing is within the jurisdiction of this committee or other agencies, to take some appropriate steps to discourage or to penalize lenders from evicting tenants per se, just as a
result of the foreclosure, or at least penalize for evicting them very
quickly and certainly in violation of State law. The process needs
to slow down.

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Third, if there was a way to think about creating incentives for
lenders to maintain or redevelop their rental properties, especially
as affordable housing, as always in these moments, you may have
an opportunity.
Mr. GREEN. I am going to have to thank you. My time is up.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. We have been talking with staff. In fact, this
came to my attention when we did a hearing in Minneapolis for
Mr. Ellison, and we learned of it and we have been talking about
it since.
We intend, as I said to Secretary Jackson, to follow up. There is
no one direct thing we can do at the Federal level, but we are going
to be sending a letter to the State banking regulators and HUD
and the banking regulators and the largest services and the ABA,
and everybody we can think of, to call their attention to this.
I know the gentleman is interested in this. We will put together
a taskforce and do whatever we can. To the extent there is something we can do legislatively to go forward, we will. It will be a
high priority for us.
The gentleman from Colorado.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Green, I wish
you were last and not me.
The CHAIRMAN. I am last.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Good.
[Laughter]
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Just a couple of comments and then some
questions. To our friends from the GSEs, there is an irony here
that about this time last year or even in the Spring, you were being
villainized and now you are knights in shining armor. I hope the
confidence that folks have expressed in terms of expanding kind of
your portfolio and your limits, that we continue to move forward
with that.
I am definitely in that camp. I just see that your ability to help
this housing crunch and this credit crunch is one that my opinion
is essential.
There was a comment, Ms. Liben, about all of a sudden, the renters are out, and they really had no notice. It struck me, too, that
with respect to Mr. Robbins, the members of his organization, there
are thousands of guys who were in the mortgage business that
were given a pink slip on Monday and told that, ‘‘You are out of
here on Friday.’’
There is, Mr. Marks, a consequence to all this money that came
into the market, and people trying to find market share and put
out loans without documentation, one percent interest rates or no
percent interest rates, to take market share.
This is sort of where I want to go with these questions. I think
there are two big macro-economic trends going on here. One is
there was a ton of money coming in from overseas, from somewhere, from China, from Saudi Arabia, repatriating a lot of money
that we have had.
Brokers were trying to put that money out without any underwriting. Now we are back to a more normal situation.
Those investors, China, whomever it might have been, they lost
a lot of money in this deal. The investors lost a lot of money.

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In the last 3 months, according to a recent story in the Denver
Post, they really shut down providing credit to this country.
In Colorado, we were sort of the first into the foreclosure crisis.
We were hoping we would be one of the first out. We were starting
to climb out and then August hit, and it was like we went off a
cliff again—no new home sales and very few re-sells.
This gets to Mr. Pollock and the fact that there is some kind of
a cycle going on here where we are in a deflationary period. Everybody was betting on housing prices going up. When they stopped
going up, all of a sudden your teaser rates, your one percent, your
no documents, you are in trouble.
I do not know precisely what any of you think the cause is of all
of a sudden there is deflation or a stagnant housing market, but
that is the question I would like to ask, and just for fun, I will
throw in one other point.
Maybe all these anti-immigration laws that we are passing have
a real effect and all of a sudden we have taken two or three million
people out of the marketplace and the housing market collapses.
Mr. MARKS. Can I respond? You are absolutely right on. Look
how this was created. When you have lenders, investors and bankers saying we want to package a product, and what is the safest
investment in the world, up until a year ago? It was American real
estate. That was the best product out there, even more secure and
safe than oil.
How do we get investors to a product that is based on American
real estate. Let’s have mortgage products that are going to get
higher rates of return than you can get in the conventional market.
They went out and they marketed it. They got a huge demand,
greater than they could ever imagine, so the product of these mortgages became more and more riskier because they had to meet the
demand out there from investors around the world.
Finally, the product became so risky, it was the no verification
documents, and those went bad immediately.
It was all premised on, based on the safest supposed investment
and product in the world, American real estate. Now, they know
better.
The last thing I would add to that is I have been at a lot of interviews with the foreign press. They are panicked out there. One of
the things that they are really concerned about is they do not trust
the rating agencies any more.
In a sense, the subprime market is shut down and it will not
come back for many, many years, because investors do not trust
what American rating agencies and what American investors and
players in the market believe.
That is going to impact a lot of things in this country for years
to come.
Mr. MUDD. I think your analysis is astute, that as home prices
grow, they did grow at an unsustainable level, that led to growth
in the market. That led to a lot of people chasing market share.
You can only do that with either credit or price. Credit went down.
Then this trouble manifested itself in the form of a liquidity crisis,
which you have seen play out over the course of the past 2 or 3
months.

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60
That was the last problem. Therefore, the first solution needs to
go back to this liquidity problem. I would just mention there has
been discussion about why do the agencies not just guarantee and
securitize all this business.
I would remind the committee that all that process does is it creates a security. That security remains on the balance sheet of the
institution that originated it. It has to be sold somewhere to make
room for new loans. That is where the liquidity is needed. We are
one of the folks that can actually provide that liquidity as a first
step of moving through this trouble.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Thank you.
Mr. POLLOCK. Congressman, you are very right on the cycle. I
would add that financial panics are always unexpected, because if
they were expected, they would have happened already.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mudd, I am going to begin with where you
left off. I was puzzled by Mr. Bernanke and Treasury saying well,
yes, we want Fannie and Freddie to do more, but they can
securitize it, it does not have to go in the portfolio. My answer was
particularly with some of the stuff we want them to buy, the secondary market is not the market for tomatoes right now, even ripe
ones.
Their answer was to some extent they could guarantee it, but
then my question is is there any conceivable difference in terms of
safety and soundness risk to something that you have guaranteed,
to something that is in your portfolio? Is there any difference?
Mr. MUDD. Actually, those loans that we guarantee have a lower
level of capital against them than the loans that we hold—
The CHAIRMAN. From a safety and soundness standpoint, they
would be more shaky if there was any shakiness?
Mr. MUDD. One could make that argument and then the further
argument down the line that those loans that are on our books give
us the flexibility to implement some of the processes—
The CHAIRMAN. If you have guaranteed it, I do not understand
how—
Mr. MUDD. Again, Mr. Chairman, the guarantee process only creates—
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that. You made that point already.
I am on a different one now, which is they were arguing that you
do not need an increase in the portfolio because you can securitize
it as long as you guarantee, and I am saying from the safety and
soundness argument, that does not make sense.
Secondly, on the jumbo’s, and it does seem to me, I and others
would like you to get more into subprime and do some riskier stuff.
If the charter is a problem, we will change it. We do not want to
do it in a way that makes it negative.
Let me put it this way. It is true for the FHA. When the FHA
insures for higher loans, it makes money for the Federal Government. We are using that frankly to offset the higher loan loss rate
we will get in subprime.
One of the differences in our bill and the Administration’s is we
both say let’s guarantee the mortgages for people in subprime.
They say but we will charge those people more, even if they are
making their payments, because they are in a higher risk class. We
say no. The woman who is making $43,000 and making her pay-

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ments should not pay more. She should not subsidize the other person. We will take the money they get in the jumbo’s and do it. In
fact, this can help us if we do it right.
Similarly, for you. In terms of your safety and soundness, etc.,
if you start doing loans at $500,000 and $600,000 or $450,000, is
that going to make you less safe?
Mr. MUDD. No. I think we would continue to adhere to all the
risk disciplines we have put in place. We would continue to follow
all the underwriting that we have followed.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that in any way—
Mr. MUDD. It helps us, Congressman, because you are managing
a portfolio with a diversification—
The CHAIRMAN. Credit diversity. I absolutely agree.
It seems to me inconsistent to say no, we do not want them to
do the more risky sub’s because of safety and soundness, and then
refuse also to let you do the more profitable stuff.
In fact, what we ought to do is a balance and leave to you how
to work it out. That is our goal.
Just to be clear, if anything, if we do this right, the increase in
the jumbo would enhance your ability to help at the lower end
rather than cut it off. I know that is true of the FHA. CBO told
me so.
Mr. SYRON. Just to add to the point, what you say is absolutely
true. You have heard a lot from our regulators and from the Administration about a risk of the GSEs being not diversified enough.
To say you should only do subprime loans is the ultimate in lack
of diversity.
The CHAIRMAN. I think it enhances it. I would also add, they say
there is an implicit guarantee. I was around for the S&L crisis. We
paid off depositors. When we talk about a Federal guarantee, it is
of depositors.
Do either of you have depositors that I do not know about?
Mr. SYRON. No. We do not have depositors but I think an awful
lot of people, and I think that is where there is some lack of consistency here, would have extreme doubts about if the two or three
largest banks in the United States were to fail—
The CHAIRMAN. That may be, but the fact is in the previous crisis, we did not on the whole bail out stockholders or bond holders.
Mr. Marks, I was reading what you said about Countrywide. You
mentioned Bank of America. Bank of America didn’t buy it. They
did buy a big chunk of it and provided them some money. I know
you have had a very constructive relationship with the Bank of
America.
I remember when they bought Fleet, you certified the good work
they had done.
Have you approached them? They are a big owner of Countrywide. Given your objections to Countrywide, have you asked the
Bank of America to try to be an influence here or did you object
when they put the money in?
Mr. MARKS. We found out when you found out that they had put
all that money in.
The CHAIRMAN. I found out Sunday night. Maybe you found out
Monday morning.
Mr. MARKS. You found out before I did.

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The CHAIRMAN. Have you urged them because you have this good
relationship with them, to be a constructive force in trying to get
some of these things done that you want?
Mr. MARKS. We have requested a meeting with Ken Lewis, the
CEO of Bank of America.
The CHAIRMAN. This was a couple of months ago. Have you met
with him?
Mr. MARKS. No, we have not heard back from them. We certainly
believe you are absolutely right, Bank of America, and while they
have not disclosed who are the other investors in Countrywide in
the last $12 billion that has been provided to them, we think all
the investors in Countrywide have a responsibility.
The CHAIRMAN. You said you have a good relationship with Bank
of America. You have been very helpful to them. You have had a
mutually beneficial relationship, not to your individual benefit, but
for the people you help. That has been very constructive.
It does seem to me you are in a good position to talk to them
about it.
Mr. MARKS. Absolutely. We have requested that. We do believe—
The CHAIRMAN. On the evening when I was notified that Bank
of America was buying part of Countryside, I said I know you are
very proud of your record, BOA, it seems to me incumbent upon
you, now that you are a major owner of Countrywide, to have a
similar role.
Mr. MARKS. Bank of America is the only major financial institution in the country that does not have a subprime lending entity.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marks, they now have 20 percent of one. It
is called Countrywide. I do not think that cuts it, and frankly, for
your relationship with them.
Mr. MARKS. Ken Lewis, we have met with him when they had
divested Nation’s Credit.
The CHAIRMAN. As harsh as you are about Countrywide, you
have a friend and you have somebody you do not like. I think it
is incumbent upon you to be helpful. I do think Countrywide did
take some exception to what you said. They will be making a submission for the record. You are free to add further to the record.
[Countrywide’s submission for the record can be found on page
202 of the appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. I just want to close by saying I think the elements are here. I think one clear message is we need the lenders
to understand that foreclosure is bad for everybody, it is bad for
the whole society, and they need to be willing to allow people to
restructure.
We will be working, and I am glad to see what Senator Dodd has
said, I hope within a month or 6 weeks, we will have an FHA that
is fully able to insure the mortgages of people who are subprime.
We will have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac able to buy more of
those refinanced mortgages.
It is certainly the case with financial institutions, we cannot
order anybody to abrogate a contract, but we can say institutions
that will be from time to time coming before this committee and
asking us to do things that are in their interest will have more
chance of a yes if they have done this.

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We cannot legally compel them to do things. On the other hand,
they cannot legally compel us to do other things that they would
like.
I would just urge them to remember the absolutely most important principle of legislating—‘‘The ankle bone is connected to the
shoulder bone.’’
The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:09 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]

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APPENDIX

September 20, 2007

(65)

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