The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two agencies on Thursday, codifying a collaborative agreement regarding fair housing and fair lending coordination.
“Under the [MOU], the two Agencies will focus on enhancing their enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, which HUD is primarily charged with administering and enforcing, and their oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), and the Federal Home Loan Banks (collectively, the regulated entities), all of which FHFA regulates,” the agencies said in a joint statement.
The MOU will help promote a series of shared initiatives between the two agencies including information sharing, coordination on investigations, compliance reviews, and the ongoing monitoring of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). Both agencies expect that this MOU will help to lead to stronger oversight, reflecting a commitment of the Joe Biden administration to ensuring equitable access to housing for disadvantaged communities.
“The Agencies anticipate that the MOU will lead to stronger oversight that will help advance vigorous fair housing enforcement that can begin to redress our nation’s history of discriminatory housing practices,” the joint statement read.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge lauded the MOU and described it as an important moment for promoting the administration’s housing goals.
“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,” said 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. I am proud to partner with Acting Director Thompson on this effort and advance the work that President Biden called upon us to do.”
Fudge also described how some of the workflow at HUD is changing in response to this new accord, and how collaborating with FHFA will be implemented.
“We are prioritizing the work required to remove barriers that have created separate and unequal neighborhoods and limited access to housing opportunity and wealth building. I look forward to working with FHFA to make a meaningful impact in this space,” Fudge said.
FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson similarly lauded the MOU, providing forward-looking perspective on what this arrangement will need now that the two agencies will be working more closely together on these initiatives.
“FHFA does not tolerate housing discrimination,” said Acting Director 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.”