House Democrats request second meeting with DeMarco

Given the urgency of ensuring that the president’s proposal is implemented effectively and efficiently, we request that you meet with us on Wednesday, they wrote. 

Following an Oct. 6 meeting, Democrats were so frustrated by coming away without answers that several suggested that DeMarco should step down as the chief regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if he wasn’t going to generate ideas to solve the lingering crisis. 

DeMarco told the lawmakers at that time that FHFA will take several concrete steps to help struggling homeowners, including raising the loan-to-value ratio for determining Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) eligibility and reconsidering the fees charged to homeowners who refinance, Cummings said. 

“He said that he recognizes that [HARP] doesn’t work,” Cummings said. “He said it has been tweaked in the past, but he admitted that now it needs — and these are his words — ‘a fix.’”

Still, Democrats are pressing for more. 

“We expressed our concern that even if FHFA implements all of the changes you referenced, the program is likely to reach only a few hundred thousand homeowners, while millions of families are struggling and the housing market continues to spiral downward, negatively affecting the entire economy,” they wrote in the letter. 

In a brief news release last week, DeMarco vowed to bolster two-year-old HARP by “working hard with other market participants to enhance [the program].”

“I understand their deep concerns for the problems in the housing market affecting their constituents,” DeMarco said of his Democratic critics. “Our goal is to provide expanded refinance opportunities for all HARP-eligible homeowners and for the changes to have a meaningful impact. We expect to complete our work by the end of this month.”