Thank you and good morning. I hope you don�t mind that I dropped by. It�s only my fourth day on the job, but with you all coming together, I wanted to stop by.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is one of the most respected organizations in the housing industry. Through your commitment and creativity, you and your members have the ability to pull millions of Americans out of the nightmare of foreclosure.
We need that commitment and creativity now.
I know that you have worked closely with my department in the past. I hope we can continue, even broaden, our partnership in the future. So, I look forward to the time we will spend together.
During my confirmation, I was asked repeatedly: �What do you think you can do in just seven months?�
Maybe you are wondering the same thing, asking the same question.
I have found where there is urgency and commitment, there is opportunity. I know because I have seen it. At the Small Business Administration (SBA), in a very short period of time, there were dramatic improvements in lending, contracting, and disaster programs. As a result, we received praise from industry groups and legislators. Most importantly, we were there for the benefit of small business owners and disaster victims.
And the housing crisis isn�t running on a timetable. It demands action now. For millions of people, the foreclosure clock is ticking.
In seven months you and I can make a profound and powerful difference. It is time we can use to further tackle the housing crisis, one of the most turbulent events in our economic history. And it is time we need to set the housing market on a firm foundation for future growth after this crisis is over.
There is so much that we can do together in the next few months, if we have the vision and courage to tackle the challenge aggressively.
We know that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has made a difference already. I know that Brian (Montgomery) will talk more about this in a few minutes. And Brian deserves a lot of credit for his leadership in expanding FHA authority. There are 230,000 people out there who saved their homes because of Brian Montgomery and his team, and another 270,000 who we expect will do so by the end of the year.
Clearly, you have the ability to help an even larger population of struggling borrowers - - and to do so in a way that also stabilizes the industry by keeping more homes from coming on the market and by stemming financial losses.
That is why I appreciate your efforts to help Americans facing foreclosure. The HOPE NOW initiative has provided valuable leadership during this time of turbulence. The industry is working with more than 1.6 million borrowers to put them into an affordable mortgage.
But we know that much of this issue is still in front of us, considering the number of mortgage resets in the coming year and the lost equity in so many peoples� homes.
As a result, we will all need to be creative and committed in handling the challenge - - making sure we are prepared to respond to the people who come forward and expedite the resolution of their cases.
So I would ask that the industry continue to be aggressive in finding the ways and committing the resources to keep people in their homes. In the absence of that, we may see Congress legislating well-intended solutions which may have unintended consequences.
While we are all committed to addressing the immediate challenges in the housing market, we must also think of the future. We must provide a longer-term foundation for reform in the institutions that give homeowners access to capital to make the American Dream possible, while also generating enduring confidence in our financial markets.
We must move ahead in modernizing FHA to respond to an ever changing marketplace, and in reforming our Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) with the kind of oversight demanded by their position in our capital markets and their criticality to American homeowners.
We see hopeful signs on the horizon. Fed Chair (Ben) Bernanke said that the risk of a deeper downturn has �diminished� and that the economy should improve later in the year. That is encouraging. But there are no guarantees. The future can be shaped, our economy improved, by our actions together. And there is no time to waste.
Thank you for your many efforts to help Americans stay in their homes.
I know we will have more time together at a later date.
I look forward to our future conversations.
And I wish you every success at this conference.