11/7/2023 in News & Media, Press Releases

NFHA Issues Statement in Support of FHFA’s Comprehensive Review of the Federal Home Loan Banks

Date: November 7, 2023
Contact: Janelle Brevard, jbrevard@nationalfairhousing.org

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the report regarding its comprehensive review of the Federal Home Loan Banks: “FHLBank System at 100: Focusing on the Future.” The report adopted many of the recommendations that are consistent with those suggested by NFHA and its allied advocacy organizations in a previous comment letter, including:

  • Recognizing that the FHLBanks’ unique advantages come with corresponding responsibilities for the FHLBanks to support their public mission,
  • Re-evaluating the Affordable Housing Program to encourage greater use in a safe and sound manner, and
  • Recommending Congress amend the FHLBank Act to substantially increase the statutory minimum contribution to the Affordable Housing Program.

Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President of the National Fair Housing Alliance® (NFHA™), issued the following statement regarding FHFA’s report:

“The National Fair Housing Alliance applauds FHFA under the leadership of Director Thompson for conducting a comprehensive review of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks). The FHLBanks receive tremendous public subsidies and private benefits while providing comparatively little in return to the public’s interest. We urge FHFA to use all the tools at its disposal to ensure that a substantial portion of the FHLBanks’ resources are dedicated to centering equity and remedying the wide and persistent racial homeownership and wealth gaps. FHFA should make certain that the FHLBanks fulfill their statutory obligation under the Fair Housing Act to affirmatively further fair housing by emphasizing a race to the top in providing fair and affordable housing benefits, rather than a race to the bottom that merely meets the statutory floor.

“NFHA also calls on congressional leaders to immediately hold hearings to shed more light on FHFA’s extensive findings and the weaknesses in the current FHLBank structure. For too long, the FHLBanks have received significant public subsidies, including an implied federal guarantee and tax exemptions, while returning only minimal public benefits, such as directing only 10 percent of their net income to the Affordable Housing Program. Congress should build on FHFA’s review to craft robust legislation that modernizes the FHLBank structure and substantially increase the banks’ Affordable Housing Program to return meaningful benefits to the public.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.