Banking Committee Focuses on Private-Label Mortgage-Backed Securities Market

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On October 1st, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs continued its examination of housing finance reform with a hearing entitled “Fundamentals of a Functioning Private Label Mortgage Backed Securities Market.” The purpose of the hearing was to examine why private capital remains on the sidelines of the housing finance market and how to balance both the private and government sectors’ roles in housing finance reform. The hearing featured testimony from three experts: Martin S. Hughes, CEO and Director of Redwood Trust; John Gidman, President of the Association of Institutional Investors; and Professor Adam J. Levitin of Georgetown University Law Center.

In his opening statement, Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) noted that private capital currently represents only five percent of the housing finance market and remarked that the Committee must be certain that “any new system we design will actually attract private capital.” Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) agreed that a “vibrant, well-functioning” private mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market was critically important.

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