The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 enabled USDA Rural Development to help more than 80,000 families in rural communities secure safe, decent, affordable homes. In the depths of the recession in early 2009, new home construction and private sector mortgage lending virtually ground to a halt in rural America.
By more than doubling the number of families served during a difficult economic time, Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed program played a critical role in resuscitating the rural housing market. All along, we continued to adhere to strong underwriting standards and strict lender oversight, and implemented a number of additional quality control procedures. A preliminary Inspector General Report led to an article in the January 14, 2011 New York Times, which raised various questions.
We have great confidence in the soundness of our guaranteed portfolio, and see no indication that loans made under the Recovery Act will have any significant negative impact on the continued strength of our portfolio. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide our perspective on some of the claims made in the article, and we have done so here.