FHFA releases final rule on fair lending and equitable housing

New regulation codifies government-sponsored enterprises' Equitable Housing Finance Plans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released its Fair Lending, Fair Housing and Equitable Housing Finance Plans Final Rule, a new regulation aimed at breaking down barriers to sustainable housing opportunities for underserved groups.

The rule seeks to do so by codifying some existing practices as well as adding new or more precise requirements related to fair lending, equitable housing and unfair or deceptive practices.

Many of the new rule’s impacts relate to the Equitable Housing Finance Plan programs for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or establish reporting requirements regarding actions taken by the Federal Home Loan Banks to address housing for underserved communities. Among the actions codified by the final rule include the continued existence and implementation of actual Equitable Housing Finance Plans themselves, as well as collection of homeownership education, housing counseling, and language preference information from the Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF).

The FHFA’s announcement of the final rule comes as April — designated as Fair Housing Month to commemorate the passing of 1968’s Fair Housing Act — comes to a close.

“As we reflect on the significance of Fair Housing Month, FHFA and its regulated entities will continue to address barriers that make affordable housing difficult to find,” said FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson. “These initiatives are critically important at a time when housing affordability remains a persistent challenge.”

David M. Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference (NHC), praised the final rule.

“This rule represents a milestone in the agency’s ongoing efforts to promote a robust and inclusive housing market,” he said. “Through the introduction of new initiatives like Special Purpose Credit Programs, which provide new homebuyers with downpayment and closing cost assistance, and rent payment reporting programs to help renters use on-time rent payments to improve their credit scores, FHFA is taking proactive measures to address critical housing issues facing underserved communities. This rule promises to foster greater confidence and resilience within the housing finance ecosystem.”


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