NACBA's Principal Paydown Plan

Dear NACBA Member,

Thanks to the good work of so many members, NACBA’s Principal Paydown Plan to help underwater homeowners in chapter 13 bankruptcy avoid foreclosure, has been endorsed by a substantial number of Members of Congress who in turn have pushed for action by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to implement the plan. In a series of private meetings and in letters to FHFA, Senators and Members of Congress have asked the FHFA to use its authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require them to agree to the Principal Paydown Plan when proposed by a homeowner trying to save a home in chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Despite FHFA Director DeMarco’s initial positive comments about the Principal Paydown Plan, which he said struck him as “being responsible,” and a “credible way to address the crisis while recognizing various interests mortgaged properties,” he recently wrote to Congress informing them that the agency would not be implementing the Principal Paydown Plan. FHFA concluded that few GSE borrowers have filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy and are underwater and therefore the proposal would not be all that helpful. They did, however, commit to doing what they can to help eligible borrowers in bankruptcy get the HAMP modifications they qualify for.

While the FHFA response is disappointing and inadequate, and we believe wrong, we are gratified that the many Members of Congress who have pushed for this solution continue to be engaged and are looking for ways to get the Principal Paydown Plan implemented despite the FHFA’s position. These Members of Congress recognize, as so many of us do, that the foreclosure crisis is not going away anytime soon and so long as it continues, the nation will not enjoy the kind of recovery that is needed to stabilize the economy and get people back to work.

We hope you will join the Board of Directors and Legislative Committee in continuing to get the word out about the Principal Paydown Plan and to seek support for it. Our allies on and off Capitol Hill are committed to keeping up the push. We take some comfort in knowing that NACBA was among the first to sound the bell more than five years ago about the impending foreclosure crisis and to propose a widely embraced solution that would have helped minimize the damage that has been done to the economy. We were right then in proposing legislation to permit modification of mortgages in bankruptcy, an idea that again is gaining currency among policymakers, economists and others. The Principal Paydown Plan was designed to achieve the same desired result without engaging the same level of opposition to changes to the bankruptcy code.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to build support for the Principal Paydown Plan. Please contact either of us if you have questions or comments.

Billy Brewer

Ike Shulman
Legislative Committee Chairman