Corker Votes To Confirm Carol Galante To Head FHA

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tn., a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, on Sunday voted in favor of Carol Galante to be an assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development and commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration.  

Prior to announcing his support for Ms. Galante, who was confirmed by the Senate on Sunday, Senator Corker secured a commitment from her to make substantial changes to FHA underwriting requirements in order to begin restoring financial stability at FHA after substantial losses, primarily from a flawed reverse mortgage program.

“I’m as frustrated as anyone with the losses taking place at FHA and our failure to implement fundamental housing reform, but given Carol Galante’s commitment to make important changes that will help return FHA to its original mission of making affordable loans accessible to qualified first-time home buyers, I voted to confirm her as an assistant secretary of housing and FHA commissioner.  I look forward to working with her as she puts in place the reforms she has promised as well as others that are needed to get FHA back on track,” said Corker.  “The steps that FHA has taken thus far are just a beginning, and going forward, I am fully committed to pushing both Congress and the administration to take up and address the critical issue of structural housing finance reform in this country.”

Ms. Galante sent Senator Corker a letter on Dec. 18, committing unequivocally to the following important reforms to be put in place by Jan. 31:

· Placing a moratorium on the full drawdown reverse mortgage program to assess its viability after $2.8 billion in losses.  This would put a hold on a program that insures reverse mortgages in which people could draw down all of the equity in their homes.

· Substantially increasing underwriting criteria for borrowers with FICO scores between 580 and 620 by establishing a meaningful maximum debt-to-income ratio. This will dramatically decrease borrower default rates.

· Increasing the down payment requirement and the insurance pricing for loans between $625,000 and $729,000 to protect FHA against loss on high balance loans that are outside Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limits. This will also help to scale back the government’s footprint in the housing market.

· Increasing underwriting requirements for borrowers who have been foreclosed upon within the last seven years.

Senator Corker has continually expressed concerns over the pace of reforms at FHA, most recently raising several issues with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan at a December 6 banking committee hearing on the state of FHA’s financial condition. A transcript of the hearing can be found here.  He also continues to work with his colleagues on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to protect taxpayers from further losses and rebuild the private mortgage market.


Real Estate Transfers For June 25-July 1

NOTICE: The Hamilton County Register’s Office did not publish this data. All information in the Register’s Office is public information as set out in T.C.A. 10-7-503. For questions regarding this report, please call Chattanoogan.com at 423 266-2325. GI numbers, listed when street addresses are not available, refer to the location of transactions (book number and page number) ... (click for more)

Russ Elliott Joins Pointe Property Group To Form New Brokerage Firm

Russ Elliott, a respected commercial real estate broker with 30 years of experience, has joined the principals of Pointe Property Group to form Pointe Commercial Real Estate, LLC and become its managing broker. Pointe Property Group has several prominent commercial developments in the Chattanooga market, including The Pointe Centre and Lee Pointe. Mr. Elliott will be responsible ... (click for more)

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors Establishes Chattanooga Facility To Support Volkswagen

Automotive interior parts manufacturer  Yanfeng Automotive Interiors  will locate a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga to support Volkswagen. This represents an investment of  $55  million. The company will create 325 jobs by the time it starts production in late 2016. The company will supply interior components, including floor consoles, instrument ... (click for more)

Medical Examiner Changes Opinion In Case In Which Teen Lost Baby After Beating By Boyfriend

Hamilton County Medical Examiner Dr. James Metcalfe testified Tuesday that he had changed his findings in the death of a teen's foetus after she said she was beaten by her boyfriend. Dr. Metcalfe first listed the death of "Promise Jones" as a homicide due to blunt force injury.  He said he later determined that it could have been as the result of another cause - placental ... (click for more)

Why Chattanooga Should Stop Granting Apartment Complex PILOTs - And Response

A new report indicates why Chattanooga and Hamilton County officials do not need to extend PILOTs to apartment complex developers. Demand is high, therefore developers will continue to build to meet the demand without PILOTs. What is truly needed in the Chattanooga metroplex is low-income affordable housing. “Homeownership Drops to Lowest Level in Decades” ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Gun Control? Accuracy!

When President Barack Obama responded to the tragic killing of nine people who were worshiping at their beloved Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last month, he immediately blamed the gun, saying, “We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on ... (click for more)