Superintendent Richard H. Neiman's Opening Statement at the Congressional Oversight Panel Hearing with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
September 10, 2009
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here today. I will keep my comments brief, as I would like to maximize the amount of time for you to respond to our questions.
First, I want to acknowledge Treasury’s responsiveness to the Panel’s inquiries on behalf of taxpayers. When we first met with you 5 months ago, you pledged that you and your staff would be available to us and maintain open lines of communication. From our public hearings over the summer with Ron Bloom and Herb Allison to the many conference calls and face-to-face meetings we have had with other members of your staff, I thank you for your level of cooperation and for supporting our oversight work.
You also responded to nearly 30 questions that I put to you directly from members of the public, some of which were very tough and candid. These questions and responses are now posted on the internet, to serve as a resource for all concerned Americans..
Second, although financial stability has not been fully achieved yet, you deserve credit for making substantial progress. We are by no means out of this crisis, but there are positive signs, such as decreasing credit spreads, the slowing rate of housing price declines, and revival in areas of the securitization markets.
Nevertheless, our gains in financial stability remain fragile. Addressing the millions of homeowners facing foreclosures is key to breaking the downward cycle and achieving sustainable results. The Home Affordable Modification Program is integral to this effort, but initial results have been mixed. There are outstanding issues that the Panel will continue to address and that I would like to explore more fully in the course of today’s hearing, including-
- Delays in servicer participation and uneven servicer performance;
- Borrower frustrations around eligibility standards and access to account information, and;
- The need to complement HAMP with additional initiatives to address foreclosures stemming from job loss and the recession.
Finally, Congress returned this week and it is widely expected that your regulatory reform proposals will experience significant movement and debate. I will be asking about your vision for developing a regulatory architecture that best supports consumer protection and long term financial stability.I look forward to your testimony.