The following are highlights from a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Thursday with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifying on the Financial Stability Oversight Council Annual Report to Congress.
For a text of Geithner's prepared testimony, see: http://financialservices.house.gov/UploadedFiles/100611geithner.pdf
GEITHNER ON CRITICISM OF HAMP PROGRAM
It is true that we have spent a very small fraction of the money authorized under the housing programs and that is because the number of people that are eligible for those programs are a fraction of those that we thought would be eligible.
GEITHNER ON WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE HAS DONE TO AID HOUSING
This administration at my recommendation with the president's support put hundreds of billions of dollars into the housing market, not directly through HAMP but through the GSEs and through the direct purchase of mortgages, that had dramatic effect in lowering mortgage interest rates for everybody, helping people refinance their homes, made a huge a difference in easing the pain.
But our programs have dramatically underperformed what we thought. But why did they do that? It's because there were far fewer people eligible for programs than we estimated originally.
We have tried to reach as many as we can and we're gonna keep doing it...
We are very disappointed and frustrated by it and we have a lot of challenges ahead. But we did not, that HAMP authorization, the $50 billion, does not capture the full scale of resources we have put into the housing market. We put in much more into the housing market in total than we did for the banking system as a whole.