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US Treasury Department To Jump Start Housing Finance Reform

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US Treasury Department

The United States Treasury Department is now going to give a jump start to the housing finance reform in Washington after a failed attempt in 2012.

Indeed, it looks like they are kicking back into action post a long hiatus since Obama held the seat at the White House in 2012.

Releasing a 53-page report, the department is now calling the Trump administration to help Fannie and Freddie recuperate from previous injuries to its reputation and also remove them from their government lifeline.

It has also spelled out its intention to be committed to preserving the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, a cornerstone of the U.S. mortgage market.

However the department will be leaning heavily on Congress to implement several critical measures, including the creation of an explicit guarantee for Fannie and Freddie’s mortgage-backed securities.

The Treasury has also outlined in its report a series of incremental administrative measures it can take to bolster Fannie and Freddie’s finances. This will also help reduce their risk to the taxpayer, and shrink their footprint in the secondary mortgage market.

It is worth noting that Fannie and Freddie has guaranteed over half the nation’s mortgages.

Some investors who had hoped the Treasury would provide a clear recapitalisation plan have been left disappointed.

If this had come through then, mortgage firms could start retaining the majority of their earnings. The report, however, recommends only that the government “consider permitting” them to retain more than the $3 billion in capital currently allowed.

A senior Treasury official said a specific recapitalisation plan would still have to be carefully negotiated with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees the mortgage giants. Washington insiders say that negotiation could be highly complicated and legally tricky. Trump is keen that a Housing Finance Reform be put into place by the Treasury before the 2020 elections, but this would really mean, putting ones hand in the hornet’s nest and dealing with an array of concerned yet powerful lobby groups representing bankers, realtors, homebuilders, as well consumer advocates and fair lending groups.

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