| WASHINGTON, March 21
WASHINGTON, March 21 A Senate proposal to
overhaul the U.S. housing finance system would make mortgages
more expensive and less available, especially in minority
communities, a coalition of consumer advocates and civil rights
groups warned on Friday.
A draft bill to wind down government-run mortgage financiers
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released earlier
this month by the leaders of Senate Banking Committee, would
replace the companies with a new industry-financed agency. The
agency would provide a government backstop for mortgages, but
only after private creditors shouldered 10 percent of any
The main concern expressed by the coalition was that the
bill would fail to provide adequate access to credit and make
housing affordable for all creditworthy borrowers, including
non-whites and families with modest incomes and lower wealth.
"The legislation would widen the existing wealth gap and
lock out the very borrowers the market needs to operate in a
healthy manner," the groups said in a joint statement.
Seven groups signed on to the statement: The Leadership
Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Council of La
Raza, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Urban League,
Center for Responsible Lending, National Coalition for Asian
Pacific American Community Development, and the NAACP.
"The bill lacks provisions to ensure that the housing
finance system is fair and non-discriminatory," the groups said.
Some leaders of the coalition joined top White House
officials on Wednesday to discuss the draft legislation put
together by the committee's Democratic chairman, Tim Johnson,
and its top Republican, Michael Crapo.
The Obama administration worked heavily over the last couple
of months with both Johnson and Crapo on their bill.
(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by David Gregorio)