Yesterday, the Obama Administration delivered a report to Congress that provides a path forward for reforming America’s housing finance market.
The Administration’s plan will wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and shrink the government’s current footprint in housing finance on a responsible timeline. The plan also lays out reforms to continue fixing the fundamental flaws in the mortgage market through stronger consumer protection, increased transparency for investors, improved underwriting standards, and other critical measures. Additionally, it will help provide targeted and transparent support to creditworthy but underserved families that want to own their own home, as well as affordable rental options.
“This is a plan for fundamental reform – to wind down the GSEs, strengthen consumer protection, and preserve access to affordable housing for people who need it,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “We are going to start the process of reform now, but we are going to do it responsibly and carefully so that we support the recovery and the process of repair of the housing market.”
The report recommends using a combination of policy levers to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, shrink the government’s footprint in housing finance, and help bring private capital back to the mortgage market. The Obama Administration is committed to proceeding with great care as we work toward the objective of ensuring that government support is withdrawn at a responsible pace that does not undermine the economic recovery.
Additionally, The Obama Administration is committed to fixing the fundamental flaws in the housing finance chain. That process is already underway as we move to fundamentally transform the mortgage market through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s (Dodd-Frank Act’s) critical reforms. Implementing these key measures, as well as additional reforms outlined in this report, will help to strengthen the long-term health of the mortgage market for borrowers, lenders, and investors.
The Administration believes that we must continue to help ensure that Americans have access to quality housing they can afford. This does not mean, however, that our goal is for all Americans to become homeowners. Instead, we should make sure opportunities are available for all Americans who have the credit history, financial capacity, and desire to own a home have the opportunity to take that step.
At the same time, we should ensure that there are a range of affordable options for the millions of Americans who rent, whether they do so by choice or financial necessity. Moving forward, we must design access and affordability policies that are better targeted and focused on providing support that is financially sustainable for families and communities.
“This report provides a strong plan to fix the fundamental flaws in the mortgage market and better target the government’s support for affordable homeownership and rental housing,” says Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “We must continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that Americans have access to quality housing they can afford. This involves rebalancing our housing priorities to support a range of affordable options, from promoting much-needed financing for quality, affordable rental homes to ensuring the availability of safe, and sustainable mortgage products for current and future homeowners.”