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Forum on Future Federal Home Loan Bank Systems: Highlights of the Brookings & BU Law Event


By Aaron Klein, Cornelius Hurley, Harrison Fregeau

Nearly a century ago, Congress created the Federal Home Loan Bank system (FHLBs) to promote home ownership and provide liquidity to thrifts (savings and loans) and insurance companies that primarily provided mortgages at that time. Today’s financial system is radically different: Thrifts are synonymous with banks; mortgage lending originates from within and beyond the banking system; and securitization has become the driving force for liquidity in the housing finance marketplace. In light of these systemic changes, it is time to reassess the purpose and mission of the FHLBs. Their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), has launched a comprehensive review.

The Brookings Institution’s Center on Regulation and Markets, Boston University’s Review of Banking & Financial Law, and Boston University School of Law co-hosted a forum to discuss and debate how the FHLB system is working, what its mission should be, and what reforms, if any, should be undertaken. We heard from a wide range of experts, including current FHFA Director Sandra Thompson, former FHLB regulators, affordable housing advocates, and leading academics and researchers. Here are four key…

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