Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
May 31, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

Two of the most important housing policy developments this year will be efforts to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) and the development of regulations and guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on the implementation of the Opportunity Zones, both of which we have discussed in previous Member Briefs. Rather than tell you what we think, NHC needs your thoughts on how we should think about these issues.

There is broad bipartisan support for CRA modernization that makes it easier to comply with the law. A recent letter from Democratic members of Congress to the banking regulators responsible for CRA makes that clear. I am optimistic that we will ultimately see significant improvements in the timeliness of CRA evaluations, consistency of CRA findings and clarity on what kinds of investments and activities should count towards CRA ratings. But the “elephant in the room” is the future of branch banking and how it relates to CRA compliance. Branch banking was central to the evolution of CRA. Since 1977, we have seen the rise of interstate banking, automated teller machines, smartphone banking applications and a host of other new technologies that are being developed as we speak. The question of what is the future of branch banking and CRA in the 21 st century is the big issue that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to answer. How reliant should we be on geography in a world of online deposits? Are there more cost-effective ways to reach consumers than through traditional branches? How do we differentiate between the CRA requirements of large banks that take deposits from across the country and small banks that may still look much like they did in 1977? Are branches more important in community development lending and investment than in mortgage lending? Will they still be ten years from now? Please share your thoughts on this with me at davidmdworkin@nhc.org. I am interested in what you think!

In the case of Opportunity Zones, we are on the leading edge of an entirely new program. Treasury staff has made clear they want to minimize the regulatory burden to ensure the maximum amount of investment dollars is committed. But the law allows Treasury to draft regulations to minimize abuse. I can’t think of a worse scenario than a great new program being destroyed by abuse of a few bad actors, but it wouldn’t be the first time. Just as frustrating would be a draconian set of regulations that inhibit private capital from being invested. There has to be a balance. At NHC, our Opportunity Zones Task Force is seeking to draft thoughtful regulatory language for Treasury to consider that would help prevent abuse while keeping the program as streamlined as it is intended to be. We are very interested in your specific thoughts about this. What are the opportunities for abuse, and based on your experience, how would you address them? NHC’s members are our single most important asset, so your thoughts on this are incredibly valuable.

Finally, NHC’s 46th Annual Housing Visionary Award Gala is just two weeks away. We are planning an evening to remember, with a delicious plated dinner, music by The Alternate Routes and plenty of time to network with your colleagues in housing and beyond. There is still time for you to join our many generous members and sponsors in recognizing our honorees with a tribute in the program book, or by sponsoring the event. Contact us today to learn more about how to support NHC’s efforts to defend the American Home.

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder
Senate confirms FHA commissioner

On Wednesday, May 23, the Senate voted 74-23 to confirm Brian Montgomery as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). NHC is pleased to see Montgomery confirmed for this critical HUD position. Thank you to all of the organizations who signed the many letters, including NHC’s, and others, calling for the Senate to vote on his nomination.
Housing provisions in S. 2155

Last week, the House passed and President Trump signed S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. Included in the bill was a permanent reauthorization of the Family Self- Sufficiency program as well as eligibility for project-based rental assistance owners to participate in the program. NHC is pleased to see this program permanently reauthorized and now calls on Congress to expand funding for service providers. 

S. 2155 also included a permanent extension of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA). PTFA, which expired at the end of 2014, enables renters whose homes were in foreclosure to remain in their homes for at least 90 days or for the term of their lease, whichever is greater.
Appropriations committee favorably reports THUD bill to full House

On Wednesday, May 23, the full House Appropriations Committee voted 34-17 to approve the FY 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill. The bill includes a manager’s amendment as well as an amendment from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) to add $46 million to the Housing for the Elderly program. The bill now heads to the full House for a vote, where it will likely be packaged with one or two additional bills. 
Senate Appropriations committee releases subcommittee allocations

On Thursday, May 24, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved FY 2019 subcommittee allocations for all 12 subcommittees. In the Senate, THUD is allocated $71.4 billion, which represents a 1.6 percent increase over FY 2018. In the House, THUD is allocated $71.8 billion, which represents a 2.1 percent increase over FY 2018. 
NHC webinar on LIIF’s CDFI lending, childcare work

Join NHC for our June Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force webinar on June 6 at 2 p.m. EDT. The webinar will feature a presentation from Sajan Philip, director of the Central Region and Washington, D.C. at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), on LIIF's Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) lending and early care and education work. Register here
BPC to hold event with Sec. Carson

On Friday, June 8, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will host “Healthy homes equal healthier lives: A discussion with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.” The event will run from 10-11:30 a.m. EDT and be available via webcast. Register here.

Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. The National Housing Conference educates decision makers and the public about housing policies and practices to move housing forward together. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership of housing stakeholders including tenant advocates, mortgage bankers, nonprofit and for-profit home builders, property managers, policy practitioners, real estate professionals, equity investors and more to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Founded in 1931, we are a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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