Ken Harney

Headshot of Ken Harney
Kenneth Harney is a nationally syndicated columnist on real estate for the Washington Post Writers Group. His column, the “Nation’s Housing,” appears in cities across the country and has received numerous professional awards, including multiple Best Column-All Media awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors and the Consumer Federation of America’s Consumer Media Service Award for “invaluable and unique contributions to the advancement of consumer housing interests.”

The “Nation’s Housing” column is closely read on Capitol Hill and several columns have led directly to changes in federal law. As the result of a column that documented a loophole in federal law — the lack of consumer protection coverage for mortgage refinancers under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act — the Senate Banking Committee chairman published the full text of the column in the Congressional Record and introduced a corrective amendment. The amendment passed both houses and is now law. “Nation’s Housing” columns also have played prominent roles in federal regulatory or Congressional actions on removal of private mortgage insurance (PMI), prohibition of private transfer fees by developers and investment groups, adoption of consumer protections governing transfers of mortgage servicing, mandatory legal standards for lenders in resolving consumer complaints and convincing Fannie Mae to terminate an “equity sharing” reverse mortgage program that harmed American seniors by collecting excessive interest payments on loans.

A “Nation’s Housing” column led to a policy reversal by student lender Sallie Mae regarding non-reporting of the company’s 7 million borrowers’ credit histories to all three national credit repositories. The non-reporting had the effect of lowering some borrowers’ credit scores and raising their mortgage interest rates when they sought to buy a home. Under threat of congressional action prompted by the column, Sallie Mae began reporting all borrowers’ payment histories to the credit bureaus. In 2013, a “Nation’s Housing” column led to the cancellation of a scheduled, but likely, illegal foreclosure against a 92-year-old widow in Arizona.

Ken served a three-year term as a member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council, a statutory body that reviews Fed actions on home mortgage, consumer credit, and banking industry regulation. He was also the host of “Real Estate Magazine,” a weekly TV show televised by FNN (now CNBC). He is a regular contributor and columnist for Inman News, an online real estate information site. Ken is a member of the National Press Club and has been president and chair of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

He is the author of two books on mortgage finance and real estate. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and professional journals and he has been a guest on many television and radio talk shows.

Ken received his undergraduate degree cum laude from Princeton University and was a graduate fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Ken lives in Chevy Chase, Md., with his wife, Andrea Leon Harney. The Harneys have four grown children who live in Shanghai, China; San Francisco; New York and Silver Spring, Md.

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