Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's Fannie's and Freddie's problem with green?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Homeowners want to be green. Home improvement stores, contractors, builders and, heck, even some energy companies want them to be green too. So, what's up with Fannie and Freddie maneuvering to squash legislation that will help people get the green fixes they crave? takes a look at the issue:

The government-chartered mortgage giants are sticking with their puzzling opposition to the finance tool, effectively killing PACE programs around the country, at least for the time being. A letter from the Federal Housing Finance Agency [PDF], the regulator and spokes-agency for Fannie and Freddie, claims PACE programs "present significant safety and soundness concerns that must be addressed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks."

FHFA's letter amounts to a middle finger to PACE, which has drawn excitement from clean-energy advocates, home-improvement contractors, and homeowners who want to use the system to pay for projects like rooftop solar arrays and retrofits that cut energy waste.

The agency is arguing that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, saving homeowners money on utility bills, and creating local jobs working on homes are not "traditional community benefits." It's making another argument too: That it should get to decide what projects have local-community benefits.

"It is a very, very troubling precedent to have mortgage regulators assert their ability to decide what taxes and assessments are acceptable and what are not," DeVries said on Tuesday.

It's tantamount, he said, to FHFA telling a local government, "'A sewer system is not really as old as you say it is,'...

Read more from's Jonathan Hiskes here.

Further reading, from Fannie and Freddie won’t let this teacher green her home

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