May 07, 2014

Watt to talk GSE reform at Brookings

May 8, 2014 – Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt will discuss the future of government-sponsored agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, currently under his agency's conservatorship, at an event at the Brookings Institution on May 13.

Watt will speak on the agency's strategic plan for dealing with the GSEs in the coming year, after which a panel of housing and consumer experts will discuss the housing market and current pending housing finance reforms.

NAFCU continues to monitor Senate Banking Committee action on housing finance reform. Last week, after brief opening statements by Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the panel paused its mark-up of S. 1217 to give members more time review the legislation. While the committee's delay speaks to the delicate nature of ongoing negotiations, NAFCU lobbyists said the mark-up could reconvene this week.

The association is pressing to ensure small institutions equal, competitive access to the secondary mortgage market in any future housing finance system. It is also concerned about the cost of the proposed reforms and the uncertainty posed by moving toward a new system. The association has made several recommendations with other financial trade organizations to improve the discussion draft.

On Tuesday, at the 2014 FHLBanks Directors Conference, Watt spoke about the "important role" the Federal Home Loan Banks play in the housing finance system. He also referenced agency plans to review the affordable housing program and said the agency would be giving attention to the growing number of insurance companies joining FHLBs.