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News Room: Policy Watch

PACE Update: Feds to torpedo popular energy efficiency program

Friday, June 29, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Julie Herman
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The long-awaited notice of proposed rulemaking on PACE (property assessed clean energy) financing  by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on June 15.  The results are disappointing and consistent with FHFA’s narrow view of its responsibilities at the helm of secondary mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As regulator, FHFA is charged with ensuring that Freddie and Fannie operate in a "safe and sound manner.”  As conservator, the agency is charged with putting each "regulated entity into safe and solvent condition.” And FHFA and its director, Ed DeMarco, have certainly done some good.  Fannie Mae’s first quarter 2012 results showed a $2.7 billion profit, its first reported net gain since it was put into conservatorship in 2008.

At the same time, FHFA is widely considered a roadblock to much-needed mortgage industry reforms that would stabilize the housing sector and bolster U.S. economic growth.  The agency’s refusal to consider principal writedowns for underwater home mortgages held by Fannie and Freddie—an approach that FHFA’s own data has suggested is cost-effective -- has drawn the ire of many, including HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, the attorney general of California, and Democratic members of Congress. Read Full Article

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