Forum on the future of the Federal Home Loan Bank system
Brookings Institution and BU Law to host joint symposium as FHFA conducts comprehensive review
The Brookings Institution and Boston University School of Law co-hosted a forum to explore the current state and future prospects of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system. The system, established during the Great Depression 90 years ago, is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) with nearly $1 trillion in assets and is one of the largest and most frequent debt issuers in the world. Its original and continued goal is to support mortgage lending and related community investment. Its role in the modern housing finance system has been questioned and its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), has announced a strategic review of the system.
The program introduced a number of different viewpoints to help formulate the policy discussion surrounding the FHFA’s review. The opening question was, “Is the FHLB system fine just the way it is?” as has been argued by some of its proponents.
Alternatively, some speakers pressed the case that the best way forward for the FHLB system is to refocus on its core mission of providing mortgage finance to households. Additionally, the case was made for radically expanding the FHLBs’ mission – perhaps expanding into broader infrastructure, industrial (re-)development, or clean energy finance. Alternatively, some scholars have advocated for abolishing this significant GSE entirely. Overarching all of these approaches is the question of what the FHFA can do on its own as a matter of administrative law and what courses of action can only be pursued with congressional authorization.
The symposium was a landmark event in the comprehensive review process launched by FHFA on July 20, 2022. Viewers submitted questions for speakers by emailing email@example.com or via Twitter by using #FHLBforum23.
Panel: Mission and purpose of the Federal Home Loan Bank system
Retired, Former Chief Risk Officer - FHLB Boston
Founder & Chief Executive Officer - Esperanza
President and CEO - National Fair Housing Alliance
Julieann M. Thurlow
President & CEO - Reading Cooperative Bank
Chair Elect - American Bankers Association
Writer, Heard on the Street - The Wall Street Journal
Panel: Federal Home Loan Bank supervision and regulation
Senior Advisor - Cato Institute
Former Director - Federal Housing Finance Agency
W. Scott Frame
Vice President - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Harvey J. Goldschmid Professor of Law - Columbia University
Bruce A. Morrison
Chairman - Morrison Public Affairs Group
Former Chair - Federal Housing Finance Board
Washington Bureau Chief - American Banker
Panel: Federal Home Loan Bank system reforms
Senior Director of Policy - National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Miriam K. Carliner Chair - Economic Studies
Senior Fellow - Center on Regulation and Markets
Executive Director - Terwilliger Center for Housing Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center
Non-Resident Fellow - Urban Institute
Reporter - Politico
Fireside chat with FHFA Director
Sandra L. Thompson
Director - Federal Housing Finance Agency
Adjunct Professor - Boston University School of Law
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