Things are Happening

First Senator Cortez Masto and her office, then the Federal Housing Finance Agency, then a nod from President Biden, and then this week Treasury Secretary Yellen – for each, a close look at the FHLBs leads to one conclusion – they can do more for affordable housing. 

Recommendations to increase their support from 10% to 20% of income, or more, are welcome, both the 20% and even more so the recognition from each of those above that it should be even more than 20%.  While the right number gets figured out, the call for a 20% contribution is fine – after all, before getting to the right number you need to go through 20.

The FHLBs response to these calls for more has thus far been puzzling.  In the midst of an acute housing affordability crisis while proudly promoting their mission speaks,  at least in part, to helping housing affordability and community development – and their response? we’ll toss in another almost negligible contribution – another 5% of net income (95% goes elsewhere).  Fortunately, that seems to have failed to sway the larger argument.

Perhaps even more puzzling is why the FHLBs don’t embrace the opportunity to make real change?  They have the resources, they have the network of financial institutions – they may even have the know how – we’ll see.  

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