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The Week Ahead: Evaluating Conservatorship

On Thursday at 10 a.m. EST, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Status of the Housing Finance System After Nine Years of Conservatorship.” Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Mel Watt will serve as a witness.

With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preparing for change under the current administration, the nine-year mark of the conservatorship of the GSEs could mean big changes. Back in 2008, the FHFA launched initiatives to recover losses resulting from the housing crisis and avoid further liability to Fannie and Freddie. Now, leaders such as President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are discussing what to do with the two companies.

“I haven’t said they’d be privatized,” Mnuchin said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business. “What I have said is I’m committed to housing reform. We’re committed to not leaving them as-is for the next four years.”

As conservator, the FHFA assumed the authority of the management and boards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the period of the conservatorship. The agency stated that while it has broad authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the focus of the conservatorship is not to manage every aspect of their operations.

The main goal of reforming the system, according to Mnuchin, is to keep housing affordable without putting American taxpayers in harm’s way.

“We want to make sure that there is ample credit for housing,” Mnuchin told Bartiromo. “It’s a very, very important part of the economy, but we also want to make sure we don’t put the taxpayers at risk. And as you know, those two companies only exist because we have a giant line from the Treasury that supports them.”

The hearing can be viewed at the Senate Banking Committee website.

This Week’s Schedule

MBA Mortgage Applications, Wednesday, 7 a.m. EST

Legal League 100 Spring Summit, Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. CST

Treasury Budget Announcement, Wednesday, 2 p.m. EST

Five Star Diversity Symposium, Thursday, 9 a.m. CST

Freddie Mac Weekly Mortgage Survey, Thursday, 10 a.m. EST

University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey Friday 10 a.m. EST

About Author: Seth Welborn

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