The Oct. 26 editorial “Everyone back in the risk pool” missed the mark on several important points. When Congress approved the Dodd-Frank legislation, it permanently removed the products that led to the housing crisis and created such great risk to consumers.
Congress never mandated that a down-payment requirement be in the risk-retention rule. Regulators recognize that today we have the greatest protections in history for consumers in mortgage finance. From the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the explicit and conservative standards in the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule, it was clearly recognized that any additional underwriting requirements would only exacerbate an overly tight credit market.
Mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with 3 percent down payments would require mortgage insurance, protecting taxpayers and lessening taxpayer risk by shifting a segment of mortgages away from the Federal Housing Administration, where taxpayers are on the hook for any and all loss, to private companies, which would be responsible for a majority of the risk.
Americans should not miss out on the lowest interest rates we may see. Responsibly letting qualified buyers take advantage of this market through access to low-down-payment loans is the right thing to do and will help homebuyers and the economy.
David H. Stevens, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.