NFHA Urges Up or Down Vote on Mel Watt to Lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency


WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 4, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, issued the following statement urging the Senate to hold an up or down vote for U.S. Representative Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency:

NFHA in National News
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“We urge the Senate to give an up or down vote on the confirmation of Congressman Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The housing crisis is far from over and it is about time the FHFA has a regulator that will act in the best interest of our nation’s economy. Congressman Watt has a strong understanding of financial markets and an appreciation for the crucial role that FHFA plays in promoting safe and sound lending practices. He is also committed to helping communities that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, so that they too can share in our economic recovery.”

“Congressman Watt is eminently qualified for this position, having more than 40 years’ experience in housing finance throughout his long and distinguished career in real estate and in Congress. Mr. Watt was one of the first to warn against the predatory mortgage lending practices that led to the collapse of our financial system and sparked the Great Recession. He helped to lead the effort to end these often discriminatory lending practices that caused too many homeowners to go into foreclosure. Congressman Watt called for safety, soundness and fairness to prevail over the blind rush for short-term profits.”

“The American people have spoken. They want leadership over politics. There is absolutely no reason for the Senate to not vote for Watt. If the Senate fails to support Watt, it will have been the first time since 1843 that the Senate did not confirm a sitting member of Congress for a cabinet position.”

“American families continue to reel from the foreclosure crisis. Today, more than 10.7 million homeowners in the United States owe at least 25 percent or more on their mortgage than their property is actually worth, representing 23 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage in the nation. Families are stuck in homes they can’t sell, taking significant losses until the housing market fully recovers. With Congressman Watt at the helm, FHFA will become a regulator thatworks with consumers and the industry to ensure stability and growth in the housing and finance sectors.”

“Throughout his career, Congressman Watt has proven that he is a fair, principled and effective leader whose policy positions are based on the facts. He understands how important it is for the secondary mortgage market to provide liquidity for all market segments, including those that historically have been underserved, in a way that promotes healthy, responsible growth.”

“As the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA has great potential to help prevent needless foreclosures and stabilize the housing market and the economy – but they need an effective leader. We urge the full Senate to move quickly to give Mr. Watt an up or down vote and confirm his nomination.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance
Founded in 1988, the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Fair Housing Alliance, through comprehensive education, advocacy and enforcement programs, provides equal access to apartments, houses, mortgage loans and insurance policies for all residents in the nation.

Naweed Lemar
202-898-1661, ext. 119

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