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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 13, 2015 10:30pm-12:31am EST

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it is griswold. why are we even having this discussion? does any of this have anything to do with politics or current events? does anybody remember george stephanopoulos' questions in the presidential debates? he asked them what do you think about griswold? a lot of them did not know what griswold was. state for control said you can't sell birth-control to women. that saying let the state do what they want, or you might say individuals have rights also. you might say, maybe i am for griswold. there is a question again, are you an activist or restraint. in roe you have a competition
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of rights between a mother and the child. it is different between whether or not you are restrict the pretty because i think there are two true individuals -- two individuals involved. wise is important? because -- why is this important, as you move up to obamacare and justice roberts said judicial restraint is the states can do whatever they want and he said if there are two equal arguments for whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional, we have to accept the presumption of constitutionality. this gets back to this idea of restraint, if we believe we presume the majority is correct and we presume laws are constitutional until we can prove otherwise. randy branettarnett writes about maybe
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we should presume a presumption of liberty. i like to say maybe we should presume to be innocent until found guilty, we should presume to be free until found guilty. i have one convert. yes. [laughter] my point is not to convert you from judicial restraint to judicial activism but to think about it. we don't want judges writing laws, but do i want judges to protect my freedom? do i want judges to take an activist role in defense of liberty and to presume liberty and put the burden of government to presume -- prove constitutionality. i think this is very important and became important with regard to obamacare. justice roberts says it is not his role to replace the majority will. you might say i'm still for judicial restraint and we just
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need a better majority. that is an argument but the question has to come you don't have a better majority. if you have a jim crow majority in the south, does the court have a role in overturning something. i think they do. i think it is an important debate is ultimately ideas are important. victor hugo said ideas are more important and strong armies. they are the strong idea behind all of this that empowers all of us. as we look forward to what can of government we want or what kind of gold -- role the judiciary has, it is in orton to decide whether we are more -- it is important to decide, whether we are more for restraint or activism.
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another question, there is a professor from tufts university who says there is an equilibrium that should separate the different branches but we are having a collapse of the separation of powers, a collapse of equilibrium. founding fathers talked about it eating in ambition -- talked about it being an ambition pitted one against another. at many times, our hope was the on party lines, unfortunately today if it is a democrat usurping authority, all democrats will support them or if it is republican, all republicans will support him. what our founding fathers thought was congress would object having its executive
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power taken by the executive branch and the idea was this would push us forward toward the equilibrium. it is not just this that the president has usurped, it is also in obamacare amending the rules. it is also on the power of war. the power to declare war was absolutely and without question given to the legislature. we have been at war for fight -- five months. no voting from congress. in christmas i decided i would declare war on a water bill and people said, why is he trying to declare war on a water bowl and i said it is my only avenue for having any power, i am not chairman of the committee and don't decide the agenda and they have been working on this water bill for six years. i have amended it with a declaration of war for isis
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because i say i think they are a threat, a threat to our embassy in baghdad and our consulate and it has been pretty clear they are a threat to americans. there should be a debate. this shouldn't happen with the president. these debates have to go on and to me what is more important than belonging to one political party or another is the idea of the constitution and how the whole goal was in limiting power. we try to not let to go much power gravitate -- tokyo much power gravitate toward one person. the idea is to keep too much power from graduating -- gravitating toward one person or in -- person.
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[applause] >> we both have microphones here , are they on? let's take some questions. >> [inaudible] [indiscernible] [laughter] [applause] [indiscernible]
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[indiscernible] >> good question. the way i would look at it is -- i say this often because i think it bears repeating. there is a long war going on, the long war in some ways is sunni versus shia but also within the islamic faith there is a war going on between civilized islam and barbaric islam. some conservatives like to criticize the president and say why is he being so nice islam. when he is trying to do is point out there is a difference. if you want to paint with a broad brush that everyone in islam is an enemy of yet it states you're talking about a horrific war with one billion people hating america. i don't
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think that is true, the vast majority of islam is peace loving and civilized but if it is 10% that is a lot of people. the long war is not only sunni versus shia but a war between mainstream islam and the west. we have to defend ourselves. printing cartoons should not engender people murdering you. france as to defend themselves you also have to defend our diplomatic missions around the world are in i put -- world. i put a lot of blame at the feet of hillary clinton for not sending in the consulate in benghazi, i think she did a terrible job. [applause] i think it is insecure -- inexcusable that when asked for
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security you don't provide it. the same goes for baghdad while i don't went to be in the middle of the long war is i don't think there is an answer and much of this war should be left to be fought by the middle east, at the same time we cannot leave our embassy unprotected. we either come home completely or we defend our embassies and interests. at this point what i would say is that we defend our interests. that doesn't mean we have to be involved in every skirmish. if there is anyone truth that is irrefutable and that the facts report it's that every time we have become involved to topple a secular dictator, it is been replaced with chaos and the rise of radical islam. that would be in the war in libya and the republican war in iraq. i think the government is less stable than before and the rise of iran is a problem because
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there is no counterbalance in iraq anymore. some of these problems are insoluble in the only thing that we have to know is we should defend our country and our people. senator paul makes a important distinction -- there is political islam dwelling itself with the powers of government and there is a civil and religious islam and making that distinction is very important in solving the problems. some other questions? >> while i agree with your definition of an activist, to your point about separation of powers and the intention of the founding fathers, how do we get that into an everyman definition
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we can understand. we bring those topics up and really what that means is we could easily transcend -- >> some people don't understand that, had we get more grassroots? >> an unelected bureaucrat should not write laws. it is a separation of powers issue. all of the bureaucracy works for the president and people say obamacare with 2000 pages and it is so long but that is long but the regulations are 20,000 pages. so much of it is being done without our knowledge. this is a debate about defunding the immigration executive order i am all for that but i am or that and 1000 other things on every bill. i want thousands of instructions on every appropriation bill.
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you can say he's trying to tie the hands of the resident come of that is our job. i don't care if it is a republican president. the power of the person, those are instructions. the matter which part -- they do what they want. as a consequence, they do many things we did not intend. i think regulations that are written to combat. jim was the lead sponsor of something called the reins act. reserves any regulations it -- written by another branch of government has to come back and be voted on. that would go a long way toward rias 30 -- reasserting our authority and the balance of power. >> senator paul your father was one of the big founders of the libertarian party and one of the main thrusts was you were
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against regulation and i am glad your slowing down the resident, but are you for -- this president, but are you for regulation in a constitutional way as opposed to more red tape? >> absolutely, i will give you an example of that. we passed the clean water act that said no one can discharge pollutants into a stream. i vote for that. if you have a company and you have benzene and you're dumping it into the river, not only should you be punished but if you are doing it purposefully should be imprisoned. that is regulation. that was passed in the 1970's edited discharging polluted into an inhabitable stream and overtime they had to find dirt as a pollutant and your backyard at the stream. we now spend $100 million to
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police private property. we have on so much to harass private property owners that we've forgotten what we should do about the ohio river and the great lakes and the oceans. we have gone way to keep far. -- too far. ken loki has been imprisoned for 10 years he was 70 when he went to jail and he is now 79 and still in prison for putting clean dirt on his own land. that is a crime and whoever put him in jail should be in jail. >> one more question. >> americans for limited government were making a libertarian case tta, do you agree with that, what is your view? >> i have mixed feelings, you're talking about the authority given for the trade agreements. what is the tpa?
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trade promotion authority. there is an argument made by some on the system -- separation of authority that by giving this authority to the president your taken power that should be given to congress, these are really treaties and they should be done as treaties but they are just done by simple majorities. i am also a believer in free trade. there have been libertarian conservatives who voted against the trade authority, they gave up sovereignty to international bodies. i have voted for the trade deals because what a lot of things in i have waited the good and the bad -- i have weightedhed the good and the bad. the perfect way as we would lessen our trade barriers. unfortunately i think what we have been offered to vote on has not been that.
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trade has helped people and even the poorest among us. the average person who shops in a walmart store saves $800 or $900 a year because of free trade. >> let's think senator rant all. -- rand paul. >> next, richard cordray discusses the state of the mortgage market. that is followed by julio castro on challenges to hud ownership. >> on the next washington journal, scott perry of pennsylvania and a member of homeland security and foreign affairs committee on the funding bill and the measure to block president obama's immigration order. then the former marine and
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member of the armed services committee discusses immigration and health care. you can join the conversation with your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. dr. anthony fauci is on the front line battling infectious diseases >> we have drugs right now when given to someone who is hiv infected and i could show you the dichotomy. in the early 80's is someone came in with aids, the median survival would be six months eight months which means half of them would be dead in eight months. now, if tomorrow when i go back to round's on friday and someone comes into a clinic who is 20 plus years old who is relatively recently affected and i put them on a combination of three drugs a cocktail of antiretroviral therapy, i could accurately
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addict and look them in the eye and say we could do mathematical modeling to say if you take your medicine regularly you could live an additional 50 years. so going from knowing 50% of people will die and eight months the knowing if you take your medicine you can live a normal life span, that is a huge advance. >> the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, dr. anthony fauci. >> president obama is expected to announce a new homeownership initiative next week. tuesday, consumer financial director richard cordray spoke about the state of the mortgage market. this is 45 minutes.
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>> good afternoon everyone, i am norman eisen and today i have the pleasure of welcoming my friend and consumer financial protection bureau director richard cordray. i will select welcome our colleagues in the audience as well as those of you watching on our bookings governance studies lifestream on c-span and those following the event on twitter. #cfdb. one of the toughest challenges that we research is setting up a new federal agency. director cordray has led is
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great team in mastering that challenge in the three years since he took the helm as its first director. for those of us who knew him before he took on that monumental task, that success is no surprise because of his previous experience in dealing with consumer finance issues and an exceptionally diverse career. myself, having worked in the white house on the administration proposal for dodd frank including the cfp be, i
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can say the new agency has done all we hoped for and then some. perhaps because the agency is being led by a five-time jeopardy champion. when they asked rich how he would use his jeopardy winnings back in the 80's he said, he would pay off student loans and other obligations. he has first-hand experience with the consumer finance issues that his agency addresses. i am pleased to welcome director cordray for the announcement of a new cfpb initiative concerning perhaps the most important consumer finance issue, home mortgages. as you will hear the work that he and the cfpb are doing you
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will hear an example of how he are doing more to help all americans. director richard cordray. [applause] >> thank you mr. ambassador, as norm said he is a friend and i have deep admiration for his public service. he is multitalented and not only his innovative diplomatic efforts but his previous work with ethics foundational work for this administration which has been effective and lasting and before that as he indicated and noted, he is itself an expert in consumer finance. there was a point and with my family visited him at the embassy in prague and after a few days he summed up the visit by telling me that i was now his least favorite cordray.
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it took me a while to reconcile myself that comment. thank you for having me today and i bring you rest wishes for the near, i can also offer what i would refer to as the humorist nash who said ring out the old bring in the new but don't get caught in between. for myself every january is mark a significant development for the consumer financial protection bureau. four years ago is when i first joined the bureau and three years ago president obama and amy as the first rector by means of a recess appointment and two years ago we announced a set of new rules to improve the mortgage market and last year after i have been confirmed as director thanks for the u.s. senate those rules went into effect all across the country and this year we continue that ongoing work by helping gain greater control over the mortgage process. the market
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remains one of the single largest consumer financial markets in the world and as we know all too well. it was the mortgage market that was deeply damaged. the damage caused the broader economy to crash and while the housing market has been gradually recovering it has lag the pace of recovery in many other sectors over the past year. as directed by congress, our ability to repay was created to ensure lenders would only offer mortgages that consumers could afford. that rule with in place new protections for consumers to strengthen the housing market by weeding out reckless -- since our rules were implemented almost one year ago today, we have not seen dramatic changes as some feared. i recall seeing rash predictions such as the price of mortgages
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would double in the volume would be have but by the time they went into effect they had already retreated from the worst forms of lending that put us into the financial crisis, the so-called ninja loans, so-called because they could be made for people with no income, oh jobs and no assets. also dried up in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. our rules put further rules in place to make sure irresponsible lending could never reappear. at the same time we did not anticipate our rules would affect the broader market in an intense or abrupt fashion. instead we included a decision so that owns act by freddie mac and fannie mae would be protected under the new rules. another special division ensures thousand creditors can continue
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to be the kind of responsible lending they have always done. in these ways we protect a key element of the current mortgage market even as we install new guardrails to prevent irresponsible lending may -- long after the crisis may have faded. the mortgage market continues to heal when foreclosure rates and delinquencies continuing gradually to fall. home values have been improving and the level of mortgage lawyers underwater remain on a current downward trajectory. this has been a slow segment of the market for several years that would give it a definite boost. the core purpose was to help restore reliability to the mortgage market. when people take out a loan they deserve to have confidence they are not the senate to fail. with such confidence they can be
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more actively engaged in a good outcome. they can shoot -- choose the lender and the product that best serves their vision of a good budget. making these choices effectively will depend on people being actively engaged and weighing their options. we know it can be difficult to shop for a mortgage, it is hard to understand how to shop in the process can be intimidating especially with all the paperwork. that is why we are releasing our initiative called owning a home. it is designed to empower consumers with the information they need to make good decisions. consumers will be ever -- will be able to gain greater control and maximize benefits of this transaction. the report we are issuing today on the mortgage shopping experience is based on results from new data. the joint initiative between the bureau and federal housing finance agency.
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when we say that almost half of consumers who take out a mortgage to buy a home, fail to shop before applying for a mortgage, means a seriously considered only a single lender or broker. by contrast, most consumers put schedule effort into considering their housing needs. he routinely weighed them most basic questions about which house to buy considering where they want to live and how many bedrooms or baths they will need. the nude that seems couple weighing the economic aspect such as what down payment they can afford and what will it their financial needs your it given the importance of this major purchase most nobody looks at one house and decides to stop right there. consumers spent considerable time looking at different neighborhoods and houses for sale. when you're spending a lot of money you are literally betting the house on the choices you are making and it can be highly beneficial to shop around.
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our study also found that consumers are getting much of their information from sources that have a vested interest in the outcome. for example, 70% report relying on their lender or broker a lot while only 20% rely on websites and housing counselors. certainly lenders and brokers can be valuable resources but it is worth recognizing they also have an important personal stake in selling the mortgage. what is best for them will not always be best for the consumer and because they have different business models they may make money in different ways. it is in the consumer's interest to ask questions and get as much information as possible for making a decision. people may well put more time and effort into shopping for the house and also for things like smaller products such as appliances and television.
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failure to look around can mean real money lost for consumers are in -- consumers. on a conventional mortgage, the range of potential interest rates can span .5% or more. for a borrower taking out a 30 year fixed-rate loan for $200,000 with an interest rate of 4% to 4.5% translates to $60 in savings per month. over the first five years the borrower would save $3500 in payments. it also means they would pay off and additional $1400 in principal in the first five years while making lower payment. by not shopping around consumers are throwing good money done the drain. an important finding from our survey was that consumers with more confidence in the knowledge of the mortgage assess were more likely to shop -- mortgage process were more likely to shop. they were almost twice as likely
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to shop as those unfamiliar. clearly we need to try to instill more confidence in consumers and by empowering them we can help them make the most of this process. we're are working to reduce the information gap between lenders and consumers to whom the process can feel like a mystery. it is time to start changing the culture of how people obtain mortgages. we need to change the process from one of getting a mortgage to one of shopping to a more active activity. consumers have much more power than they may realize. they can use that power to take control of their financial outcome. to help consumers become better and more informed we are improving mortgage disclosures. this summer there will be a new reality in the mortgage market helping them sustainer options choosing the best it can and avoiding possible surprises at the closing table. it will ease the process of both
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applying for and closing on a loan. we will also bring a more consumer friendly edition of the book it -- booklet people receive when they applied for a mortgage to buy a home. mortgages still can have very different terms and features for consumers to understand. key components include the loan term, loan type and interest rate. loans typically very between 15 years and 30 years. loan types include conventional loans among others. interest rates can be fixed or adjustable in the upfront cross -- cost often varies among lenders. shopping for mortgages can occur at different points in the process and consumers are well advised to cast a wide net early on. the consumer may begin i researching different loan options. once the consumer knows more
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she may be ready to meet with different lenders. once the consumer has made an offer on the home she is ready to apply for a loan from different lenders. finding the best deal comes with comparing the best offers. owning a home has great new tools to help throughout the home buying experience. from the start of the process to the closing table. these tools can be found on a website of consumer finance.gov. the set of tools includes a guide to loan options and a closing checklists. if consumers need help understanding the difference between a fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage, our tools will be able to assist. if the bully help deciding how much to borrow, our tools need help with calculations. if they need help understanding the mortgage disclosure forms, this program will explain all that. we're looking to add these tools
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and others throughout this year to give people a comprehensive and comprehensible picture of the home buying process. one feature contained is the rate checker, a cool -- tool currently in beta release to help understand which features may be available. it incorporates information from lenders internal rate sheets, information they use to calculate a rate for a particular consumer. we are giving consumers direct access to the same types of information that the lenders themselves have. borrowers looking to buy a single-family home can use it to find their own information and find interest rates they are likely to be offered. by plugging in their credit score, location and information they are seeking, they can see their rates the lenders are offering to borrowers like them. this is different from other websites that usually quote potential rates based on averages for great credit and a large down payment. those idealized versions can be
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misleading because not all consumers have high credit scores or can afford a large down payment. the result is that many consumers go to lenders and are quoted different rates which can make them confused and uncertain about whether the rates make sense. of course, many websites focus on soliciting prospective customers and thus they require people to surrender personal information, perhaps an e-mail address that often more that may be used for marketing or sales purposes. by contrast, owning a home has no hidden agenda during -- agenda. it enables consumers to have more of the information they need to be savvy shoppers and get the best deals they can. our new set of tools offers an understanding of how lower interest rates transfers into dollars saves. it can be hard to understand how a quarter of a percentage translates, so our tool makes it
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easy to compare different interest rates. consumers will be able to go to our website and plug-in information as often as they like to become more familiar with their options. understanding what rates they can expect to be quoted will help them see the value of shopping and gain more confidence about the crucial decisions they need to choose. it is worth noting again that as consumers gain more confidence about the process, they become more likely to shop for a mortgage in the first place. when consumers actively shop for a mortgage they will be in the best position they can to understand what is possibly and in many cases probably the single largest financial transaction of their lives. it will help consumers to that more effectively. let me take a second to debunk a popular myth. you can shop around for a mortgage and it will hurt your
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credit score. within a certain window of time between 14 days and 45 days multiple credit checks from mortgage lenders and brokers are treated as a single inquiry. this is because other creditors realize you will only by one home at a time. you could shop around and said that multiple applications to a change multiple initial estimates. the effect on your credit will be the same no matter how many lenders you consult. for these reasons it is vital that consumers meet with several lenders early on. wait until they receive official loan offers to make their final selection. starting this summer the official loan offers will be communicated on our loan estimate form which will summarize the key loan terms as well as the estimated loan costs and closing costs. by demystifying the jargon and making it possible for consumers to have conversations with lenders who are better informed and more productive. consumers will have a reliable estimate that can change only in limited ways between the
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application stage and closing. this will build confidence and empower them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. the central purpose of the consumer euro is to ensure -- consumer bureau is to ensure things are fair and competitive. that is good for consumers, the honest businesses that seek to serve them and the american economy as a whole. our important set of mortgage rules is creating a cleaner market. consumers are better protected from the pitfalls and booby-traps that hurt so many people. when people fail to shop as they are intimidated by the process they are putting themselves in harms way. one of the ideas is to empower them as much as we can. we're making it more possible and more fruitful for them to shop around. people should walk away from the mortgage process feeling secure they have made a
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sound and sustainable decision about the future and they should be right to feel that way. we have seen all too clearly that when financial products are misunderstood or misused they can do real damage to life. consumers need to make the best choices for their circumstances and nobody can do that for them. they need to be responsible for the choices that they make but the consumer bureau is seeking and finding ways to help them get exactly where they want to go in improving their financial futures. please join us in supporting this important work. [no audio]
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>> thank you rich. one of the hottest topics in governance is how government can do more to help the middle class . in recent days, leaders of all parties here in bc have come out with -- dc, have come out with proposals in that regard. you and the cfpb team have been doing that every day since you took the helm three years ago. it seems to me that the owning a home initiative is a large way that you are doing that. we start by asking you a couple questions about that and other subjects and we will open things up for questions from the floor.
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tell us how you hope these new online and other tools will change the home buying process for consumers in practice. what does it mean to the real lives of these folks and what else can the euro do that can push you a little -- can the bureau do that can push you a little. >> the mortgage transaction is for most people the most important transaction of their lives. it has to do with achieving what we all consider a fundamental part of the american dream homeownership. also, studies have shown even through this crisis and the extreme variations in house prices around the country that sustainable homeownership remains the single most important and effective way that middle-class families can save money and build wealth for their futures. partly that is because of the forced savings component of
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making regular mortgage payments but it is a very important part of developing and maintaining and improving a future for yourself. that is quite important and what we have found in our report as i said was consumers are very intimidated i this process and when they are intimidated they start to not engage and when they fail to engage they do not get the best outcome for themselves. by making tools available that people can use that are fairly straightforward understandable and accessible, a lot of this is very complex and often deliberately so because it makes it difficult for consumers to find their way, we can make it possible for consumers to understand their choices better way -- weigh those choices more effectively and come to the best outcome.
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>> so, understand a way and then engage as consumers and what about the other part of the question. what else can the bureau do along these lines to encourage him and more informed shopping by consumers. what else can they look forward to. there are numerous things that we are actively engaged in on this front. one of our first set of tools is called paying for college. that is another one of these transactions that comes for families typically once or twice in a generation. it has become an expensive proposition for many families and to be able to be in a better position to understand your choices and to weigh them not just as a matter of liking schools but to think about the economic side and to be able to make good comparisons among choices and to know what those
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choices mean in the long run and how much you will go when you come out of school and what your payment rights may be and whether you can manage that. for people to think about that upfront and then not regret later that they didn't think about it more. that is another way in which this occurs. we also are doing consumer education and engagement in many ways across the spectrum of the bureau. ask cfpb is one of the sets of information we have developed and continue to develop for consumers who now have a new situation and something they don't understand. it may be a debt collector is pursuing them or they are trying to understand their credit rating and credit report that her and don't know how they can improve that. all of that kind of information is available and people can get it in real time when they need it and we think that is helping
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people have more confidence about making the choices. >> one of those web tools, the consumer complaint aspect of cfpb.gov stirred up a little bit of flak recently because of the determination to include the so-called consumer narrative. those web forms, can you reflect for us a little bit about the brouhaha and the outcome. >> god for bid people should know what others are saying and the complaints about these companies and they say those things on many websites having nothing to do with the consumer bureau -- one of the things i want to do -- let me just say, the consumer complaint function and building the federal agency
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from scratch has been an enormous challenge. we have not always got everything right but it has been a great challenge for us and a great opportunity. one of the pieces for that was congress said we have to have a consumer replay -- consumer complaint and response function and build it in scratch and we build it not having any sense what the actual volume of complaints would be. that volume is enormous and growing. we had over half a million complaints thus far across a range of products and more than 250,000 last year alone and the volume is increasing her in every one of those is a voice to the consumer that tells us about a problem they are seeing in their lives in real-time time and each one is an anecdote. when you have hundreds of house and of individual instances, it becomes real meaningful data. it is something we look at the
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patterns of your ties enforcement and supervision work -- patterns and prioritize enforcement and supervision work. that is changing the culture in the institutions and changing light on the ground for whether consumers are being treated fairly. >> so, or we turn it over to the audience for questions, when we announced that we would host you, i heard personally, from many of the folks that i had worked with when we were doing our listening about the cfpb in the white house and putting together. frank plan. -- putting together the dodd fra nk plan, i heard from folks in
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the business and consumer sector, i will just ask you a follow-up representing both of those points of view, business as they have on a number of things you have done and really on everything, strong feelings about that. what steps did you take to make sure the complaint process was fair to the financial industry. >> that is important to me personally and the bureau. we are doing things that create change in the industry. the change was needed, consumers needed to be treated fairly and it is sometimes difficult to know the exact parameters of what that means. we have made efforts from the beginning and i think everybody would credit this that we have consistently been very accessible and very transparent about people being able to come and speak to us and express their concerns. we think hard about that and take that into account in order
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to formulate the proposal or policy or response to concerns. on the consumer complaints in particular there was a lot of complaints initially that we would have a public database. that it wasn't an us have complaints and resolve them -- it wasn't enough for us to have complaints and resolve them but that the public should have access to that information and think about it in terms of choices they would make. notably we thought it was important for industry to see not only what they now see which is what their own customers tell them but what kind of product might exist in the industry at other providers and that is something they can learn from and avoid or see if they are doing better or worse. that is important information and they did not have access to that before. i would say there are great sensitivities around changes and changes that can be pressing
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unbelievable -- pressing on people and we want to be awful to that. in our mortgage rules we have often gone back in an adjusted and revised arius things in response to feedback we hear and i believe that has been a hallmark of the bureau and will continue to be overtime. >> turning to the e-mails i received from consumer activists, they request that i ask you first of all, they are complementary of the work you are doing and you mentioned the word transparency, the cfpb has really been seen as a model agency on government transparency. i give you -- that is a hobby of mine and i give you high marks on it and there is a strong feeling in the world of transparency that you have done a good job. no one agrees on everything but
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there would be no need for bookings if we agreed on everything. -- brookings if we agree on everything. the question i do get asked is under the dodd frank arbitration study provision, it has taken you a while to do the preliminary study and we are waiting on the final study and folks were curious to the extent you can talk about it, i know you are in midstream but the folks asked me to inquire about that and the reason for the timetable and when we can expect the final study and the rules. >> i want to be a little careful about what i would say because as you say it is midstream. the dodd frank act had provisions about arbitration and various contracts and it has been the law of the land going back to the 1920's that arbitration as been seen as an
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acceptable alternative for resolving disputes to the courts. and attitudes on that have revolved -- have evolved over time. in. frank specifically it says congress legislated that there would be no arbitration in mortgage contracts. it also went on to say that for other types of consumer finance contracts, arbitration was put on the plate is a live issue and it says specifically that the consumer bureau should conduct a study and issue a report to congress on various aspects of arbitration and what it means and how it works. and then based on what that report contains, consider policy judgments about what to do or not to do about arbitration clubs and consumer finance contracts. it has taken time to do a
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thorough work on that but it is addressing and when that is complete we should report to congress in the fairly near future and at that point we will be in a position to make judgments. i would not want to prejudge any of the steps until the report is complete. i will continue trying to be careful today. >> i think you have succeeded. with that, i will open the floor to questions. so, let's see. i will start by calling on dan burton -- dan berger. >> just wondering whether the cfpb has any initiatives concerning abusive mortgage servicing practices, including abusive foreclosures, and
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whether or not it has any initiatives concerning the use of forced place insurance practices and then i would ask whether or not you have a view on whether the federal government should stimulate financing of the millions of mortgages that are underwater by making changes or instituting policy initiatives in that respect which would produce tremendous benefits to consumers and a tremendous stimulus to the economy. >> let me try to deal with both pieces of that. this is an issue that has aggravated me going all the way back to my days as a state and even local official in ohio. i said this as a state treasurer when the crisis was just beginning to break across the midwest.
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of course it became a national phenomenon at a time when i was an attorney general when the scandal broke into. it continues to be the case that mortgage servicing is a different goal undertaking and i have not been satisfied with the performance of mortgage servicers although it has been improving in some respects. it is not problem free. we now have new measures in place in the consumer bureau is adopted new mortgage servicing rules that go over a lot of work that has been done by policymakers. they are understood by the industry they are uniform and apply to all mortgages and that is a very important level playing field. we now back those rules through enforcement and supervisory effort which is very meaningful. we have rules in place that are uniform and we have real teeth behind those rules. we had enforcement activity and we have supervisor activity that
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is ongoing and we will continue to police this market has many people have been badly hurt in that area and i have seen it in my community and in communities across the country. as for refinancing, you are really more in the realm of programs that the treasury department has worked on and has been developing and states have been developing and to some extent we can lean on the private sector to do more. we have done some of that on mortgages but also student loans. the nature of student loans is you take out a loan and a time of your life when you're trying to get through school and then you are more of a risk and if you get through school and are now in a different place, should you have an ability to refinance that loan at that point? i think you should and there are a lot of people who think you should and some are starting to step up and respond to this. the overhang a student loan debt in our society among young
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people who happen to overlap the classic first time homebuyers is significant and the domino effect on our economy is very large and very meaningful negative factor. we need to think more about the high cost of higher education and what it means for the student loan burdens and how we handle those burdens and how we service them. student loan servicing is a problematic area we have been focused on. they are important grounds for us to consider how to do better in terms of public policy and execution. . . >> question? >> dan wagner from the center for public integrity. you spoke about the importance of mortgage choice this morning and given those issues and benefits you see are people being able to shop around, do
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you have any particular concerns about the one third to one half of mortgage priorities buying manufactured homes who have no choice and are forced to finance with a single letter -- lender? >> i have been before congress and we have had a lot of discussion about manufactured housing and we issued a white paper last year as you no doubt will recall, it surveyed how the industry has evolved and how the market has evolved especially over the last decade or two. there are parts of this country where manufactured housing looms very large. particularly rural areas and some of the more difficult terrain, i think of appellation segments and southeastern ohio where there are many of these around the country. making sure that people are
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treated fairly in terms of being able to buy and finance manufactured housing is an important part of this spectrum. it is something we will continue to pay attention to. the white paper was represented as a pretty serious effort to lay some groundwork for people thinking about policy it will continue to be a focus for us because of the fact it is a meaningful alternative. especially on the low to moderate income and house expect. -- spectrum. >> we have time for one more audience question. >> thank you. i'm with the new england council. is hoping to speak on first time home buyers. how confident are you in that aspect? are you satisfied? >> let's go to the back drop of this.
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everyone agrees that it was the housing and mortgage market that caused the financial crisis. wherein there is an element that causes a severe location, it is almost inevitable that area will be the slowest to recover and repair its self. the damage was so deep that it takes longer to recover. that has been our experience. we are talking 5-7 years now. housing market has lagged the recovery in the economy. that also means overtime when you have pent up demand and we are seeing signs of that -- the fed reserve had a to sink -- succint summary waiting on the
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housing market. we'll see how it changes when they talk about this in their committee minutes from june of last year. with first-time homebuyers would be don't know is whether there has been a temporary lull that will lead to increased demand whether there is some sort of permanent change going on here. if attitudes towards credit and borrowing and homebuying have changed along people because they view it as a riskier market that could be a dynamic. people are speculating about this. i think that would be a mistake. home ownership continues to be the single greatest engine of
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building wealth. most of their wealth is tied up in their homes. over time, they build wealth most effectively by being a homeowner. the notion that you have the significant notion of our young people who would miss that opportunity and miss the savings that could come with that would be a negative for that economy and a negative for our society. i'm concerned about that. people need to make good judgments about the possibility and not shy away from it simply because they tend to be focused on immediate results that they saw in the recent past. the market is recovering. first on -- first-time homeowners could recover at a greater pace. we don't know that for sure. >> i hope to do more with the audience, but i promised the staff -- i think the questions
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are too hard. i promised your staff that i will get you out of here timely. i have one more question i want to pose to you. as you gave your maiden speech think it was on your first day. 2012. we sit here three years later. quickly tell us looking back over that three-year period with the biggest surprise has been both pleasant and otherwise of those three years as you that it might have unfolded. >> there was a pleasant surprise that i had hoped would occur.
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that was meaningful. there are two things didn't quite appreciate before i came. number one, we operate in a space that is fairly crowded with other policymakers as well. that is appropriate. their number of agencies that have different roles. the overlap to some degrees -- we overlap to some degrees. that takes real time and effort. we are thin in the landscaper received that time and effort. that is inevitably the case. it is not a given. i came to this job from ohio which is an enforcement position. it takes longer than i would've wanted or expected to work through the arrow processes.
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these are complicated issues. there were some tough questions. these are the questions we deal with all day long every day. how to do enough, but not too much, consumer protection on one hand. it requires a lot of analysis and data and the like. things move more slowly than i would like. hopefully they comes out here at the other end. >> is very tough to set up a new agency. not every new agency that has been set up has a happy story to tell. it has been an extremely successful three years. we are pleased to have you here today. i can tell from the many hands that were raised we easily could have gone longer. i would like to invite you to come back and share your
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reflections. >> i want to thank you again and all those who work on. frank continue to think about it -- on dodd-frank and continue to think about it. recognize that they make choices everyday in their lives. some of them are typical choices they don't fully understand. others are choices they make overtime. we can help them gain a position to do that better. we recognize that as our mission. that is what motivates us and makes it a pleasure to go to work every day. >> thank you. thank you for the work you and your colleagues do. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> ahead of next week's state of the union address and present obama's expected announcement of new home ownership initiatives hud secretary julian castro was at the national press club to discuss challenges to home ownership based by many americans. his marks are about and hour -- an hour. >> good afternoon and welcome. before we begin our program, i would like to ask all of you to stand and observe a minute of silence in memory of the terrorist attack on the french publication were among those killed at the newspaper last wednesday. we honor the memories in the contributions to our profession to freedom of the press.
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as a market special respect to those who died, we observe a mark of silence every day this week and concluding this friday. thank you. please be seated. welcome. i'm an adjunct professor at george washington university school of media and public affairs. former international bureau chief with associated press. 107th president of the national press club. a leading organization for journalists committed to our
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professions future through programming with event such as this while fostering the free press worldwide. for more information about the national desktop, please visit our website at press.org. on behalf of members worldwide welcome our speaker and those attending today's event. i would also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. you can follow the action on twitter. #npclunch. after the speech concludes, a question answer period. i will answer as many as time permits. introducing our head table stand briefly as your name is announced. to the right, chief of staff of the u.s. department of housing and urban development. senior adviser to the secretary of the u.s. department of
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housing and urban development. the washington bureau chief for buffalo news. a past npc president. skipping over our speaker for the moment the speakers committee member who organized today's event. thank you very much. a former three term mayor of san antonio, julian castro, stepped into the national spotlight when he delivered a keynote address at the 2012 democratic national convention. he was the first hispanic to deliver a keynote address at a national political convention. after that speech, abundance speculated that he would make an attractive vice presidential candidate. that didn't happen. but present obama chose castro to be secretary of the department of housing and urban affairs, and post he assumed six
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months ago. castro was born into politics. both parents were political activists. his mother helped found the chicago political party. his twin brother was elected in 2012 to represent the san antonio region in the u.s. house of representatives. as mayor, castro pushed initiative such as expanding preschool education and establishing a citywide college guidance effort. he also launched a decade program and to attract investment -- launched a downtown program meant to attract investment in the city center. that has attracted more than $300 million in private sector investment. at hud, he oversees 8000 employees and a budget of $46 billion. castro has a ba from stanford university and a jd from harvard law school.
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he and his wife t havewo -- have two young children. please give a warm welcome to hud secretary julian castro. [applause] >> thank you very much for your kind introduction. more importantly, thank you for the service you do as president of the national press club. i understand this is your last event at the helm. i know i speak for everyone in this room and expressing my gratitude for your leadership. i would like to recognize your incoming president, john hughes. i know from personal experience how effective he has been as an editor of the bloomberg news breaking news desk. last week a few hours before we were going to make an announcement, we learned that john and his colleagues already have the story. [laughter]
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i hope that never happens again. i do wish him well and all the best for a successful term. let me think the press club's officers and board of governors for their great contributions. finally, i want to thank the entire national press club. this is the first time i have addressed this prestigious organization. it is an honor because one of my degrees in college was communications. there was a time when i thought i would go into journalism. obviously i chose a different path. i have a tremendous amount of respect for the work that you all do. the events of last week in france remind all of us in the united states and throughout the world the value of freedom of expression and the importance of
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realism. -- journalism. if shined a light on important issues. enhance democracy at home and abroad. truly a pleasure to be with you this afternoon. we gather at the beginning of the new year. a time to take stock of where we are as individuals communities and as a nation. in this moment, that tells us one thing most clearly -- america has got momentum. 2014 saw great progress. the strongest year for groundwork since the tech boom of the 1990's -- four job -- for job growth since the tech boom of the 1990's. growth has been highest in sectors that a good wages such as technology and many fracturing. most significantly for those of us at hud, the housing market is
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coming back as an engine of economic austerity. today more americans are feeling confident because year over year, home prices have risen for 32 straight months. more americans are financially secure because homeowners equity is up for trade dollars -- $4 trillion since 2009. the phones of realtors are ringing. families are looking to the future with renewed optimism. simply, we are seeing gains across the board. hud stands ready to take this momentum in may 2015 a year of housing opportunity. for the many things that have changed over the years, our nation's fundamental challenge to maine's the same. -- remains the same. be the strongest and safest
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nation in the world. the totality of that challenge is broader than the scope of our conversation today. i'm convinced the central principle worlds down to one word -- opportunity. opportunity is not an abstract concept. it is a path to more prosperous life. housing often serves as its foundation. t.s. eliot once said that home is where one starts from. we call hud the department of opportunity because whether rich or poor, young or old, republican or democrat black or white, housing shapes the quality of your life. good housing and strong communities are a source of hope for individuals and for families. hud was created to build a new america that was "beautiful,
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liberating of life, more inspiring of the spirit." the dedicated folks i serve with worked from sunrise to sunset to fulfill this mission. they do not do it for the money. trust me i have seen their salary. the do not do it for the amenities. buzz feed rank our hud building is the second ugliest washington d.c. not quite sure who is first. glad we are only second. but hud does this because they care. they are committed to tackling the great challenges of our day. from poverty to homelessness, to climate change, to discrimination. we are also paving a path to help people get access to the affordable housing that they need. for many americans, that means home ownership.
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home ownership is still the cornerstone of the american dream. in fact that you can see in the lives of everyday folks. one of them is a person from des moines iowa. go up as a foster child. change homes and schools on a regular basis. because of that, she dreamed to give her kids better. a dream that came true when she became a homeowner. kim put in years of work. took numerous financial education classes. spent hundreds of hours helping build homes with a local hud partner. greater des moines habitat for humanity. now she takes pride in the fact
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she has a permanent address. her kids could board the same bus to school each day. her girls know she will be there when they arrive home. that is why the opportunity of home ownership is so powerful. it is a source of pride. it is a source of wealth. providing both a nest and a nest egg. it strengthens communities and feels growth in the overall national economy. it is also why it is time to remove the stigma from promoting homeownership. some have been surprised by this focus. if you have suggested that this is a return -- a few has suggested this is a return to a fuel of the mania. it is not. the answer isn't to deny responsible american homeownership. it is to do it right.
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since 2009, the obama administration has an act did historic safeguards -- enacted historic safeguards. for example, the consumer financial action bureau requires lenders to evaluate a borrower's ability to repay their loan and prohibits them from receiving bonuses for more expensive loans. in addition -- and ihud served 9 million folks. helping them by home when they were ready to postpone their search when they are not. these are helping folks obtain a place to call their own. now the challenge is to expand that opportunity. i also want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with being a renter. as a matter of fact, my family and i rent here in washington,
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d.c. so for most american to struggle with stagnant wages, a homeownership is a better deal. zillow says renters are spending twice as much of the incomes on housing as homeowners. costs are going up significantly in places like portland and denver and baltimore. some folks feel as if they are almost misspending money by paying their landlord instead of themselves. we need to provide them with more housing options. that is where the federal housing administration comes in. fha has long been a beacon of hope for underserved borrowers. in fact, have ventured $1.6 million -- 1.6 million homebuyers. we want more folks to access our
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services. this means expanding access to credit. some believe that a few years ago it was too easy to get a home loan. the fact is in 2015, it is too hard. in fact, housing market is missing out on 1.2 million loans every year because credit is so tight. just a couple months ago, then bernanke remarked even having trouble refinancing his mortgage. we've undergone a year-long effort to clarify policy cylinders could feel more confident working with a wide range of credit worthy borrowers . the soft increase the flow of credit. we are going to keep building on this address. secondly, we want to make homeownership more affordable for those who already qualify
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for a loan. last week president obama announced that fha will reduce -- that fha will reduce premiums by the end of this month. fha premiums are at a high level. the cost of that -- of obtaining the american dream is too great for a lot of working folks. people like britney from maryland. i didn't hygienists -- a dental hygienist says she found her dream home after looking for two months. she can't use a fha -- plan to use a fha loan to make that dream real. then she saw fha raise the fee. that is something that she had budgeted for. pretty postponed her search --
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brittany postponed her search. she isn't alone. it is estimated credit worthy borrowers are priced out of the housing market in 20 because -- in 2013 because of high premiums. an average of $900 over the next three years. it will encourage nearly a quarter million new borrowers to purchase their first home. this is a commonsense step. fha premiums will still be even after this reduction 50% greater than they were at the beginning of the crisis feared this premium change only makes an fha loan more affordable for qualified buyers.
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family still have to qualify for an fha loan purely do, the find a more affordable path of ownership waiting for them. made she most you believe this reduction is a win. many agree on this point. i freaking the cost down, we are hoping and have confidence it will help lift folks up and it will expand opportunity for generations of americans to come. when i reflect on the work that we do every day at hud, think about folks just outside louisville kentucky. a person whose determination and talent coupled with support from hud help the transition from
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public housing residents to homeowner last year. looking back at our journey, she said that it wasn't the services alone that made such an impact on her life. she said that it was "support compassion, understanding, and encouragement that was patch's -- pass through each individual and service." this is what we are about. people. making their lives a bit better. giving them a chance to thrive. that is why we are focused in 2015 on homeownership. it represents family. community. stability. security. it is the cornerstone of the american dream. over the years through decades of economic downturn and wars,
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the american people have held on to the stream. -- dream. and confident they always will. part of the fabric of our nation. it is what we do. who we are. we tried. we seek. we aspire. for many folks working hard and saving, the aspiration leads them to their own home. for them, the time is now to buy. the time is not to invest in their future. -- now to invest in their future. every day at hud we report. we put in the hours to match the aspirations and dreams with hard work on our end to make those dreams a reality. in my five months on the job
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the biggest transitions i have made is going from city government to the federal government. i be lying to you if beginning at that transition there were growing pains. five months later, i'm convinced of this much. i hud and throughout -- at hud and throughout the system, folks are passionate. committed. reading. -- ready. willing and able. hud stands ready to help make 2015 a year of housing opportunity. we are confident families will seize that opportunity. we believe in so doing we will help make that american dream more real for millions of americans and help make this 21st century another american
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century. thank you very much. [applause] >> mr. secretary, what is the biggest problem in helping people secure homeownership? >> thank you very much for the question. i think one of the biggest challenges, and one i address is access to credit. another is affordability. the goal behind the fha premium reduction president obama announced was to principally address affordability. and the national association of realtors has estimated there are about 400,000 potential borrowers that were priced out of the market because of high
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mortgage insurance premiums. the other end of it is access to credit. this is something fha is working on to try to create the business certainty that is good for fannie and freddie, good for fha, also good for the lending community, also good for the american consumer. and so the biggest challenges, i would say, are the issues of access to credit and affordability. both of those are challenges we are prepared to meet head-on with sensible policies that are prudent and have the effect of extending opportunity. >> you are generating a lot of questions, mr. secretary. are there any steps you have not taken yet in your first five months on the job that you would
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like to take to increase homeownership? >> we are taking a number of steps at fha. last may, we announced a blueprint for access to credit. we are looking at ways to make that more robust in the future. those are not fully cooked. they are still being worked on. reserved for a later date. if we do expand that blueprint for access to credit, the details of that. but homeownership very much is on our radar screen. let me also address this point. because i feel like every time we throw that word out, home ownership, the first response you get is, well, aren't you just turning back the clock? and the straightforward answer is no. in my remarks, i mentioned
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several of the checks and balances that have been put into the system so that we do not go back to where we were before. from the work the cfpb is doing to new policies at fha. the landscape of lending has completely changed since that time. you can see that most clearly in the credit scores of borrowers today versus the credit scores of borrowers from a few years ago. the case is that the pendulum has swung from one extreme where it was too easy to get homeownership, where it is too difficult. what we need to achieve is a sensible and strong middle, where we had the right safeguards in place. but we also have good opportunity for hard-working americans to be able to own a home. >> how did you reach the
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decision to cut fha premiums and will you consider cuts to upfront fees and or dropping the requirement that premiums must be paid for the life of the loan? >> it is a very good question. on the annual fees, these annual fees have escalated significantly. fees over have gone up by about 145% at fha since the crisis began. we made a decision about reducing the insurance premiums based on the latest actuarial report, the annual review we got on mutual mortgage insurance funds. you may know, those who write about housing that we said at that time that we were back in the black and would take a step
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back and analyze whether or not it made sense to reduce mortgage insurance premium. after that sober analysis and really understanding the numbers, listening to those numbers, we made a decision to go ahead and lower it by 50 basis points. .5 points. as to the question of further reductions, right now there are no further reductions on the table. >> somewhat related question. fha is the starting gate for most first-time homebuyers. is there any concern that fha homebuyers are already upside down the first day they move in? >> we are always generally concerned about ensuring folks who take out a loan are able to repay that and that
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homeownership is a positive experience, not a negative one. the goal is to build wealth out there, not detract from it. we believe that some of the policies that have been put in place, the checks and balances during the housing crisis, have held to ensure that buyers that qualify and get a fha loan are in a better position to pay off that loan and benefit from homeownership in general. we also, as i mentioned, have been raising housing counseling as a effective way both prepurchase and post purchase that buyers fully understand the responsibility and how to budget their monthly household budget. that house payment, and what the true costs of owning a home are,. it is also about the upkeep and
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maintenance. so through some of the sensible policies we have put in place at fha and things like housing counseling we are confident that borrowers will have a positive experience. >> did the context of the condo building thresholds for sales that need to be met before any one new loan may be closed, in other words, the holding has to be 50% sold out before the fha will land in their -- there. are there any plans to review some of those rules in order to help facilitate the orderly selling of urban dwellings? >> i want to thank you all for the question. this is a question that comes up from time to time. i know i have been to a number of cities where the condo market is very large.
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an important part of the real estate market, a growing part of it. i think places like miami. this is an issue on the radar screen. we have heard a variety of perspectives from different groups, business groups, other interest groups. it is on the radar screen. and we are looking at what is possible. but have not come to any conclusion about whether there are going to be significant changes. >> the fha waiver of regulation prohibiting home flipping expired on december 31, 2014, two weeks ago. is there any benefit to the market to restrict homeowners to buyers? would it be better to impose guidelines to help ensure quality work? >> thank you very much for the question.
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let me put this in a bit of a broader context. one of the concerns we hear out there is that, to the extent that s h a hold of properties in communities, folks out there are concerned that we in we have an eye toward not just what is right for the fha and the fund but also, how do we help keep the character of that neighborhood in good stead? with regard to the rule that you cited, i have not looked into that in the last 11 days. when we think through how we approach these questions, we want to ensure we strike a balance between the health of the fha and its business needs
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as well as the character of the communities we are serving. that we do right by those local communities and their neighborhoods. that is how we evaluate those types of rules. >> peter wallace set of the american enterprise in his new book that the affordable housing goals of the administration are leading underwriting. this will lead to an economic downturn. your thoughts, please. >> in that question, he said -- the questioner's suggestion -- suggesting it is needing to underwriting that is too lacks -- lax? the answer to that, first of all, the proof is in the pudding. that is not the case today. if anything, underwriting
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standards are too strict. we went from one extreme, where it was too easy to get home loans, to a another extreme, where it is too able to get a home loan. what we want to be able to achieve is a strong, sensible, middle round. where we had safeguards in place so we do not slide back. at the same time, folks who are ready and responsible to own a home can get access to credit. and the housing administration has set -- i do not believe they are playing the role the questioner suggests. >> i do not know if you can quantify this, but the questioner asks, how many homeowners were needlessly foreclosed? did you see it happening in san antonio? to the feds do enough to help? >> i do believe communities
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across the united they saw the impact of closures. san antonio was no different from that. it was not as pronounced in some markets as it was in others. i am thinking about places like phoenix and las vegas at the depth of the housing crisis. places like florida, very strongly impacted. from day one, the administration took aggressive action to help hoechst stay in their home. make it affordable to hold onto mortgages and pay them. the announcement the other day in the mix was significant because we went back to a housing market that had been very hard hit with the housing crisis but has seen significant uptick. i believe that the obama administration took very strong, important measures to blunt the
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force of the foreclosure crisis. millions of americans have been able to stay in their home, and the administration continues to stay committed to helping people stay in their home. at h.u.d. we embrace grants like the neighborhood stabilization program, as well as partnerships with local communities. the usage of home funds to make homeownership possible in communities throughout the united states. >> will congress passed housing reform in this new congress taking office this week? >> the straightforward answer is i do not think anybody can tell
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right now. the administration's position has not changed on housing finance reform. the ministration supports reform that gets the taxpayers off the hook were we ever to experience the kind of housing crisis we experienced a few years ago. we believe there is a sensible way to accomplish that. we are pleased to see johnson make it through the senate banking committee. that did not get broader senate approval. it did not get approval in the house of representatives. what we remain committed to the principles underlying the administration. to look forward to see what comes forward in this new congress. my hope is that we can find a sensible way to address this in 2015. >> will fannie and freddie survive?
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>> that is a great question. and the fact is that depends on what happens in any potential legislation. i think that folks along the ideological spectrum and partisan spectrum believe there is a better way out there. there is a way we can accomplish having a government backstop, but do it in a matter that does not leave taxpayers on the hook the way they were a few years ago. and i know that director watt is doing fantastic work at fha. they are very much a part of this conversation. i believe we can accomplish this balance between getting the taxpayers off the hook getting good sensible housing finance reform, and also creating more opportunity for homeownership.
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the fact is congress right now has just begun its work in earnest. and i have not seen anything put out there yet. so nothing is swimming through the process that i know of. we will address it as it comes along. >> redlining is racism in the housing market. is redlining more prevalent than it was 10 years ago and do you have any plans to crack down on this practice? >> the department is committed to ensuring that everyone in the united states has an opportunity to have a good quality of life where they live. and opportunity for homeownership. and we have a robust federal housing equal opportunity office that is committed to enforcement as well, to ensure that no
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matter the color of somebody's skin, or if they have a disability, their religion national origin, they are able to live where they want. where they are able to afford. that includes looking at situations where folks engage in discriminatory lending practices. this issue of redlining is one that has had, over the generations, a profound impact on urban growth patterns. and the location of different communities within cities. it is one that we continue to be attentive to. and fheo and h.u.d. is committed to eliminating that discrimination. they take up cases that impinge upon those obstacles and seek to
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make the united states a place where homeownership and freedom to live where you want is possible regardless of the color of your skin. >> how does the credit quality of fha loans in 2014 and 2015 compare with fha's historical norms? >> thank you for the question. this is january 13. only 13 days into 2015. i do not know we have any analysis for this new year. in 2014, the credit quality was still one of the strongest for fha's history. i mentioned earlier that what we see today is that the credit score of borrowers getting alone, whether it is from fha or gst is traditionally higher than
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it was in the time period when it was too easy to get a long. but even higher than it was 20 years ago. the credit quality of borrowers is very strong. at fha, for instance, we have done things like put in a credit score floor of 500 and have required that if you have a credit score of 580 or underneath, you need to put 10% down, not the traditional amount. all those things, as well as the credit overlays that the private sector have put on, have created borrower credit quality for fha that are very strong comparatively. >> has -- as senior population grows, does h.u.d. have plans to
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expand rental demonstrations and add more affordable housing for seniors? >> that is something on our radar screen. i know that aarp and joint center for housing studies at harvard have done fascinating work on this issue. you just look at the demographics and what is happening in the united states, when we talk about cities, we often talk about millennials. this young generation. how important they are to livening up local communities. but the fact is the fastest-growing population is people over the age of 65. that is something on our radar screen. we are looking at how to be more robust in the support we provide for those kinds of housing opportunities, including section 202. >> your focus seems to be on
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housing. do you plan any changes in urban development? >> as a former mayor, a recovering politician, one of the things i have enjoyed most about h.u.d. our programs like home. a 40 year legacy that they have had in helping to rebuild communities and investments in infrastructure. we like to think of h.u.d. as the department of housing and urban development. i am very focused on the urban development component of that. under the leadership of former secretary donovan, we did great things like the choice neighborhood grants and promise zone along with other departments. we have invested in place-based
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strategies for rebuilding communities. what i see is that we need to continue that trend. at h.u.d., we are looking at, for the long-term, how do we orient the department in a way that is aimed at serving individual communities better? with more agility? how do we make place-based not just a name of a policy, but truly something that is embedded in the organization? these strategies really are all about urban redevelopment. i would be remiss if i did not say as well that it is not just about cities. because h.u.d. also serves tribal communities, smaller towns. some rural settings as well. even though we are called housing and urban development.
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as a matter of fact, housing and community development would be more accurate. my first love is cities as a former mayor, that i recognize the work is more diverse than that. >> questions related to renting and then we will go to general questions. multi family lenders say h.u.d. needs to expand rental housing construction. and ease underwriting standards on apartment loans. do you have any plans to do that? >> we are not announcing anything on that in the near future. the multi family market has been a relatively strong market in the united states compared to the single-family market over the last several years. there are reports that may be cooling going forward in 2015.
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however, there is a strong commitment on h.u.d.'s part two making investments in multi family housing. we are not ready to announce anything new in that regard, but we do have a very full commitment to the investments we made in multifamily housing. one of the ones we are excited about is something called r.a.d. it is about taking private sector investment into public housing and making renovation of public housing units more possible. so i will give you an example. there was a gentleman from housing authority in the midwest a couple of months ago that i spoke to that said in their community, they had been able to make renovations, improvements in public housing units in two
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years that would have taken 18 years through traditional funding. we had our first peek at what this project has meant for multi family housing in different localities. we had third-party look at the study. the first 57 rental assistance demonstration deals. that found that for every one dollar of public money invested, there was $19 of it sector investment. over $400 million of private sector investment. this is making possible the renovation and renewal of public housing units that otherwise would not happen or what happened over a decade or more. that is important because we are losing, as a nation, 10,000 public housing units to disrepair every year. this is one way that we can
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enhance multi family housing stock. the fact is, often times there are mixed finance deals. this has been the case for quite some time. that include different types of financing. decision reduces one more -- this introduces one more element, with the ultimate goal being to address rental affordability out there. today, a greater number of families are paying more than 50% of household income towards rent. we want to change that. >> will h.u.d. establish a renter's bill of rights or set standards for what renters should expect to be entitled to? >> i am all ears on the -- that.
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i grew up in the household of a mother, single mother, who was renting. and i bought my first house at the age of 25, 26. something like that. but today, i am a renter in d.c. and i know that is, for many folks, the predominant experience of their lives. and they see costs going up. in some situations, i know as a mayor, in local government, i remember many cases on the nightly news of landlords that were not as responsive as they should have been. and that is fairly common out there. when you talk about a renter's bill of rights, that is intriguing. i am all ears. >> mr. secretary, though you said you are a recovering
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politician, i have a few questions in the political area. when you accepted the appointment at h.u.d., there was speculation about what it would mean for your long-term political future. to get to the point, do you think serving as h.u.d. secretary offers the experience necessary for one to serve as a vice presidential nominee? >> i am trying to do a great job at h.u.d.. i think it is a great experience for being secretary. that is what i am focused on. i believe, in anything you do in life, as you all have seen from your own profession, the number one way to be satisfied personally, and to have a great future, is to do a fantastic job with what is in front of you. if you do not do that, you can kiss bet future goodbye.
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>> i think i might know the answer, but i said i would ask as many questions as possible. andrew cuomo, former secretary is governor of his own state. any chance of your following a similar career path? >> thank you for the question. maybe we have some texans in the audience. that was a tough cowboys loss, i know. i do not know what my future is going to hold after these two years when i sign off in 2017. i am very mindful that, when january 20 comes around in a couple of days, there are two years left. i want to do an excellent job as h.u.d. secretary during those two years. i believe we can for many of the reasons we have stated in my remarks. we will see what happens. there is no grand plan after
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that. >> as you say, with two years to go until the next presidential inauguration, do you endorse hillary clinton for president in 2016? [laughter] >> i have no doubt that i will get asked that question again in november of 2016. secretary of state clinton is obviously an extremely talented town -- person who has made fantastic contributions to our national progress over the last couple of decades. and i am staying out of those politics in this role. but i know that she did a great job as secretary of state, and i am confident that if she

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