State Fiscal Watchdogs Lead National Pushback on New Mortgage Fees

Member Group : Center Square

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity leads a coalition of state financial officials pushing back against new federal mortgage fees they call “unconscionable.”

“This new policy makes it more expensive for people with good credit to buy houses – and that’s absurd,” she said. “Americans who have built a good credit score and saved enough to make a strong down payment should not be penalized and forced to pay more on their mortgage every single month.”

The letter, sent Monday to President Joe Biden and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra L. Thompson, includes the signatures of 33 officials from 26 states – all of whom insist the administration should roll back the modified fee structure that applies to borrowers with more favorable credit profiles.

Only mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – which included more than half of home loans taken out in 2020 – will see the fee increase.

Garrity and other critics said the backward incentive boils down to a middle-class tax hike that takes “money away from the people who played by the rules and did things right.”

In multiple media reports, housing analysts say borrowers with better financial profiles still get lower interest rates and pay less overall compared to buyers with less favorable loan terms. The higher interest rates, smaller down payments, and added cost of mortgage insurance typically eclipse any savings on up front fees in a matter of years.

In the letter, the officials shared in the administration’s goal of increasing home ownership, but said “confiscating” the money from “hardworking, middle-class American families” and using it as a “handout” goes too far.

Instead, they want to see the federal government adopt policies to reduce inflation, cut energy costs and lower interest rates – all factors that would boost discretionary income and give people more leeway to save for a down payment.

Regional Editor

Christen joins The Center Square as its Pennsylvania News Editor and brings with her more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues from all angles. She’s a Pennsylvania State University alumna and has been published in the The Washington Examiner, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, RealClear and Broad+Liberty, among others.