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Feds Say New Agreement Will Boost Fair Housing Enforcement

HUD and FHFA (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together. The change allows HUD to more aggressively check for Fair Housing Act violations by giving it easier access to deals funded with conventional mortgage loans.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) (the Agencies) entered into a first-of-its-kind collaborative agreement on fair housing and fair lending coordination.

Under the agencies’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), they’ll work together to enforce the Fair Housing Act. HUD oversees and administers the Act’s enforcement, and its new oversight of FHFA entities – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks – gives it wider and easier access to transactions and loans outside traditional HUD lending.

According to a joint statement issued by HUD and FHFA, the MOU strengthens the Agencies’ ability to enforce fair housing and fair lending requirements by promoting information sharing, coordination on investigations, compliance reviews and the ongoing monitoring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They agencies say it will help “redress our nation’s history of discriminatory housing practices.”

“Today’s signing is an important and historic step to advance and strengthen the enforcement of our nation’s fair housing and fair lending requirements,” says HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “FHFA oversees entities that have significant control over a large share of the mortgage market. Stepping up our collective fair housing oversight of their activities will make an enormous impact on lives and communities.”

Fudge says HUD is “prioritizing the work required to remove barriers that have created separate and unequal neighborhoods and limited access to housing opportunity and wealth building.”

“FHFA does not tolerate housing discrimination,” adds FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson. “Today’s MOU allows FHFA and HUD to share information and resources to improve fair lending oversight over the mortgage finance system. I am pleased to work with Secretary Fudge on the important work of fulfilling the Fair Housing Act’s promise of equal access to safe, decent and affordable housing for all Americans.”

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