Housing and residential finance trade groups expect to launch a major lobbying effort with the goal of getting the Senate to take up and pass a Federal Housing Administration reform bill this year.

"It is a broad coalition," said Mortgage Bankers Association chief lobbyist Bill Killmer. Besides MBA, other trade organizations involved in the effort include the National Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Home Builders. But MBA's new top lobbyist warned that it's going to be a "heavy lift."

With the August recess looming, there are few legislative days left this year before final campaigning begins for the November elections. Moreover, the Senate leadership has other priorities.

However, HUD and the White House are "pushing hard," he said, to pass the reforms that will give FHA more flexibility to adjust its mortgage insurance premium structure and rebuild its capital reserves.

The House has already passed a FHA reform (H.R. 5072) by a 406-4 vote that also strengthens the agency's hand in getting lenders to indemnify FHA for bad loans and to terminate lenders with excessive early default rates.

Killmer was the Home Builders' chief lobbyist before becoming MBA's senior vice president for legislative and political affairs two weeks ago (July 5).

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