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Where Are The First-Time Homebuyers? American Mortgage Conference Meets In Raleigh

Leoneda Inge

Bankers, credit officers and policy makers are in Raleigh this week for the American Mortgage Conference, presented by the North Carolina Bankers Association.   They say financing home ownership remains at a crossroads.

One of the housing finance initiatives that will be discussed at the conference is the 15 year Wealth Builder Loan for first time homebuyers.

Joseph Smith is Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement and chairman of the conference.  Smith says the Wealth Builder Loan is a re-casting of the original 15 year loan to allow for a quicker pay down of equity.

“There are people who like this idea and people who don’t.  So the good news about the conference frankly is it has a diversity of points of few which I think will be useful," said Smith.

Smith says the conference will present several panels looking at housing policy and how it affects first time homebuyers.  Smith says he is concerned about how the risk of lending has gone up.

“There has been a tendency in my mind for the action to move towards loans to people who are least likely to default, right or least likely to get into trouble," said Smith.  "But what that does is tend at the margin to dry up credit to people who need credit.”

And it also increases the costs associated with lending.  

Other topics to be discussed include the unresolved issues surrounding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and how Ginnie Mae, the Government National Mortgage Association, is faring in the industry.

Panelists and speakers at the American Mortgage Conference include Angela Cheek of Ellie Mae, Ed Pinto, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and David Stevens, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The conference gets underway today at the Marriott City Center in Raleigh.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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