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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Suggests Appointment of FDIC Chair to Lead Effort to Address Foreclosure Crisis

July 20, 2009
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), who chairs the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) have sent a letter urging President Bush to appoint Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairwoman Sheila Bair to supervise and coordinate a government-wide effort to reduce foreclosures.  Congresswoman Waters believes there is an urgent need to contact homeowners at risk of foreclosure and work with them to modify their loans so they can avoid losing their homes.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

As you know, we've been working in close consultation with your Administration to address our serious housing market problems and the broader economic crisis they have precipitated.  There are several aspects of recent government actions that will allow us to have a major impact in mitigating foreclosures and stabilizing the housing market – the government takeover of the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Hope for Homeowners program that became effective on October 1, and the language in Emergency Economic Stability Act requiring the Administration to implement the program in a way that will maximize foreclosure mitigation.

Certainly the government's role will necessarily differ in regard to mortgages the government actually owns or controls and others that remain in pools backing securities in the private market.  The combination of tools available, however, allows us to have a substantial impact on the foreclosure crisis that continues to undercut economic recovery.  It is important that we achieve maximum success on the foreclosure mitigation front by effectively coordinating the various programs and authorities now available to us.

We have been very impressed with Sheila Bair's work on foreclosure mitigation in her capacity as Chair of the FDIC and we urge you to appoint her to head a government-wide effort to supervise and coordinate our efforts on behalf of homeowners.  Giving one official clear responsibility, particularly one as knowledgeable on the subject as Chairman Bair, will improve the effectiveness of the efforts of the federal government at a time when prompt and efficient action is most urgently needed.