FHLB Merger

This is a guest post by Judith Olsen, Executive Director of HDC Member, Impact Capital, and WA state representative on the Affordable Housing Advisory Council

FHLB LogoAs I am sure most of you know by now, the boards of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle (Seattle Bank) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (Des Moines Bank) have approved an agreement to merge the two banks.  The banks’ regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has approved the merger application, and the members of each bank will vote on whether or not to ratify the merger agreement in early 2015.

Each Federal Home Loan Bank has an Affordable Housing Advisory Council with representatives from each state in the bank’s district. The Advisory Council is responsible for reviewing affordable housing needs across the district and recommending Affordable Housing Program priorities and policies for the Board of Directors approval.

I represent the state of Washington on the Seattle Bank’s Advisory Council and have received a number of questions from members of the Washington affordable housing community. In response, the Seattle Bank’s President and CEO Mike Wilson and VP/Community Investment Officer Jennifer Ernst sat down with a group of HDC members on Monday, December 1 to answer questions about the proposed merger.

Here is a summary of the question-and-answer session.  If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or Jennifer Ernst at [email protected].

— Judith Olsen

Additionally, HDC would like to alert members that the FHLB is requesting public input on a new proposed rule from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that would revise FHLBank membership rules that have been in place for decades.

The proposal would fundamentally change the FHLBank system by imposing for the first time on-going mortgage asset test requirements. Members failing these tests would have their FHLBank membership terminated. The proposal would remove the certainty that the FHLBanks will be there as a reliable source of liquidity for their members in all market conditions, as demonstrated in the financial crisis.

The public comment period on the proposed rule has been extended until January 12, 2015. Please review the NPR Fact Sheet for more information and talking points, then submit any comments on (RIN) 2590–AA39 through FHFA’s website. You can also review comments and arguments already submitted.