Two senators consider breaking up Fannie, Freddie

Lending

Two U.S. senators are currently working to overhaul the GSEs, and could even be considering breaking up the two mortgage giants, according to an article by Joe Light for Bloomberg.

Tennessee Republican Bob Corker and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner are working on a bipartisan solution for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, people with knowledge close to the matter said, according to the article. The two senators are attempting to bring more competition to the secondary mortgage market.

From the article:

Corker and Warner’s push to develop a plan marks Congress’ latest attempt to figure out what to do with Fannie and Freddie, an issue that has vexed lawmakers ever since the government took control of the companies in 2008 as the housing market cratered. The lawmakers’ plan is still being developed, and a Senate aide who asked not to be named cautioned that no decisions had been made on any issues.

The stakes of changing the housing-finance system are enormous. Fannie and Freddie underpin much of the mortgage market by buying loans from lenders, wrapping them into securities and providing guarantees in case borrowers default. Together, the companies back more than $4 trillion in securities.

Over the years, talks of GSE reform have transformed from something that could happen to the boy who cried wolf, but President Donald Trump’s administration is shifting this mentality, vowing to make GSE reform a priority.

During his confirmation hearing to be Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin called for GSE reform, saying it will happen during the next four years.

And now, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, GSE reform can really work this time around. Mnuchin said while the administration is focused on other issues right now, it will look to GSE reform during the second half of this year.

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