News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today questioned a major Washington state realtor and mortgage lender on Washington state’s housing challenges and the role federally-guaranteed loans through the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) are playing in Washington state. The hearing, which also included the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, examined the large increase in FHA-guaranteed loans during the current housing downturn and the need to ensure that FHA remains stable as it shoulders more of the residential loan market.

“The housing crisis has swept across our communities and some are now calling on the Federal Housing Administration to be the savior of the market,” said Senator Murray. “In Washington state, the number of FHA loans increased from just under nine-thousand in 2007 to over thirty-thousand in 2008. We must ensure that the FHA isn’t spread thin and that it has the tools and resources needed to adequately staff, underwrite and monitor its skyrocketing loan volume.”

Senator Murray has worked to ensure more Washington state families can access federally guaranteed loans by raising the limit on loans they can insure. This has benefited regions throughout the state.

Mr. Scott and Mrs. Vermillion discussed their work with FHA, difficulties in specific Washington markets, and steps that need to be taken to help Washington’s housing market rebound.

AUDIO - Listen to portions of today’s hearing:

Testimony of J. Lennox Scott, Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Realty - Bellevue, WA

Testimony of Mia Vermillion, Senior Loan Consultant, Guild Mortgage - Lakewood, WA

Senator Murray’s questioning of FHA Inspector General, Kenneth M. Donohue, J. Lennox Scott, and Mia Vermillion during the hearing.