Nearly 74 million people, about a quarter of the United States population, live in rural areas. That includes 15 million people of color. But according to the authors of a new paper published by the Center on Regulation and Markets at Brookings, these families are often overlooked in policy discussions on proposed changes to the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), which provide the largest share of mortgage financing in rural areas.

GSE mortgage financing meets a critical rural housing need, and it also supports community banks, which are often the only full-service financial institution in many rural areas. How mortgage financing is supported in the future will profoundly affect lending in rural communities and the health of community banks and credit unions.

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