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Homeownership rates continue to plummet throughout the country, disproportionately penalizing African Americans, Hispanics, and younger people. Recent data have ratified the importance of credit scores and down payments in predicting loan performance, leading to a trend towards tighter loan underwriting. In addition, the policy steps that have been imposed on the lending industry to protect homeowners from foreclosure, prevent future lending problems, and punish perceived bad actors compound the losses from bad loans and encourage even more conservative lending. Policies need to change if we wish to continue making homeownership for the broadest group of eligible borrowers a reality in the United States. Join us for a lunchtime talk with Rob Couch, author of the new paper, The Great Recession’s Most Unfortunate Victim: Homeownership. Rob is a member of the Banking and Financial Services, Real Estate and Governmental Affairs practice groups at the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Birmingham, Alabama, and also serves as a Commissioner on the Housing Commission of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Washington, DC. Rob served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to his position with HUD, Rob served as President of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). He also served as a member of President George W. Bush's Task Force on the Status of Puerto Rico. Rob’s first tour of duty in government was as a law clerk to Hon. Lewis F. Powell, Jr., associate justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. Rob has a wealth of private sector skills and experience. He currently serves as a director of Prospect Mortgage Co., Sherman Oaks, CA, and as a director of American Capital Agency Corp. and American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp., both of Bethesda, MD. Prior to his government service, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of New South Federal Savings Bank in Birmingham, AL. An active member of the mortgage banking industry, Rob is a former Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Rob is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a Certified Mortgage Banker (master certificate).