'A civil rights issue'.

Author:Sichelman, Lew

That call to action was uttered by activist BENJAMIN CHAVIS at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 43rd Annual Legislative Conference in late September in Washington, D.C. Chavis is a former executive director of the NAACP and once served as the national director of the Million Man March.

The D.C.-based foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy group that aims to improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities.

Another call issued at the conference came from LARRY PARKS, senior vice president of external and legislative affairs at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, who said minorities can make more progress collectively than they can individually. "We need to form a syndicate to buy loans," Parks suggested.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary SHAUN DONOVAN has given a lot of speeches over the last few months. They include remarks at the National Conference on State and Local Housing Policy in Atlanta in September; the NAACP's annual convention in Orlando, Florida, in July; and even the National Research Council (NRC) and the World Economic Forum's (WEF's) Global Agenda Council on Catastrophic Risks in Washington, D.C., in September. But the speech we caught was at the North Carolina Bankers Association's American Mortgage Conference in September in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Donovan said some rules put in place in the aftermath of the financial crisis have gone too far and cut off too many families from buying homes. "We have to, within government, make sure that the rules are clear," Donovan said in North Carolina.

"It's simply wrong for a family to lose out on an opportunity, [for] you to lose out on business, [for] us to lose out on the growth that can come to our economy overall, if a family is ready to buy and be successful and can't get access to mortgage capital," Donovan said.

At that same conference, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) President and Chief Executive Officer DAVID STEVENS exhorted the troops to work with their lawmakers in setting the agenda for a new regulatory framework for housing finance. "If we don't fill in some of the language, Congress is going to do it," Stevens said. "I really believe screaming in the wind and sticking our head in the sand is unproductive. You may be angry at the structure of some regulations or the fact that it's there. But it doesn't matter. It is there."

Back in Washington, DAVID...

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