WASHINGTON, DC – June 28, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The American Bankers Association testified today on the need to ensure small banks have access to the secondary mortgage market, calling for workable and clear underwriting standards for all mortgage loans and a reduced government role in housing finance.

Christopher Dunn, executive vice president and chief operating officer of South Shore Savings Bank in South Weymouth, Mass., testified on behalf of ABA before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. South Shore Savings Bank has 13 branches and 187 employees.

“The overarching principle is to ensure that banks of all sizes have access to secondary market financing,” Dunn said.  “Multiple sources for private market lenders, including portfolio lenders, will lead to a more diverse and ultimately safer housing financing system.”

Dunn also testified on the need to significantly revise proposals that define a “qualified residential mortgage.”

“We must get the underwriting standards correct today if we have any hope of transitioning to a stable system for secondary mortgage instruments,” he said.  “The current proposals defining a narrow Qualified Residential Mortgage exemption from risk retention requirements fly in the face of workable and clear standards.  Should this proposal be adopted as proposed, it will surely drive many banks from mortgage lending and shut many qualified borrowers out of the credit market entirely.”

Dunn’s testimony also called for a move toward a reduced government role in housing finance, noting that the transition would need to be done in a cautious and well-considered fashion taking a number of years.

“ABA believes that the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reduced and transformed, enabling the private sector to shoulder more of the responsibility to assure an effective and efficient secondary mortgage market,” he said.  “The government’s role in housing finance should be focused primarily on ensuring stability and accessibility of the capital markets in the event of market failure.”

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For a copy of Dunn’s full testimony, please click here.

About American Bankers Association
The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation’s $13 trillion banking industry and its two million employees. The majority of ABA’s members are banks with less than $165 million in assets. Learn more at aba.com.

ABA Media Contact: Jeff Sigmund
(202) 663-5439
Follow us on Twitter: @ABABankingNews

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