Carson tells mortgage bankers he will roll back red tape that keeps some from issuing FHA loans
Ben Carson was excited after touring the Denver Housing Authority’s mixed-income Mariposa development in Lincoln Park Monday.
Take his word for it.
The famously sedate former presidential candidate, now secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was in town Monday to deliver a speech at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association. There, he vowed to follow through on President Donald Trump’s promise to reduce regulatory burdens on industry, particularly when it comes to working with lenders to provide home loans to low-income Americans.
“Lenders have pointed out that absolute perfection in the lending process cannot be achieved and that borrowers bear the cost of compliance through higher mortgage rates,” Carson told the bankers, referring to the administration’s plan to pare down what some perceive as outsized liability for bankers that has prevented some from issuing Federal Housing Administration-insured loans. “Innocent errors should not create chaos and fear and make people less likely to get involved in the first place.”
Of course, important steps toward home ownership include access to education and careers that help build wealth and lead to upward economic mobility. And that’s why Carson lit up on his tour of the Mariposa neighborhood. He saw things there that fit with his plans for “envision centers.”
The centers, still in the planning phase, would serve as hubs for public-private partnerships in low-income communities, Carson said. There, young people would gain exposure to career choices and the pathways to make it to those careers. He said the centers would host mentors who want to work with disadvantaged youth and provide child care options for young mothers seeking to improve their education.
At the DHA-owned Osage Cafe in Mariposa, chef Mimi Banish explained how students in credit-recovery programs work there to earn restaurant industry certifications, and gain job skills and experience.
At the Youth on Record studio, on the ground floor of another Mariposa apartment building, Carson commiserated with the nonprofit’s co-founder, Stephen Brackett –also the emcee of the band Flobots— about the decline in arts education in public schools.
“I am very, very thrilled to see this,” Carson said of Mariposa. “This is the very kind of thing that we need to be doing all over the country.”
For Carson, rolling back regulation and leveraging government resources to help the working poor can go hand in hand. He said that some federal grants that help foster innovation, like what he saw at Mariposa, require extensive paperwork. Some cities even hire full-time staffers just to navigate the red tape, he said.
“That’s a problem for smaller municipalities with less money and manpower. It’s a tremendous burden,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things we’re looking at.”