Will We Finally See Housing Finance Reform in 2019?
FHFA Director Mel Watt departed earlier this month and the current OCC Comptroller, Joseph Otting, will be serving double duty as Acting Director of FHFA while Trump nominee, Mark Calabria, awaits Senate confirmation. In a meeting with FHFA employees this week, Otting strongly hinted that the Administration would soon release details on a plan that could begin the process of moving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship.
Notably, the Administration has fairly broad latitude to modify the business and structure of the Enterprises. In the past, Administration officials have stated that housing finance reform is the responsibility of Congress. The new House Financial Services Chairwoman, Maxine Waters (D-CA), sent a letter to Acting Director Otting asking him to explain his recent comments regarding his plans for the agency and the GSEs.
As Washington awaits the Administration’s GSE proposal, the list of reform proposals continues to multiply. Last week, the Milken Institute released a reform proposal that could largely be carried out administratively without legislation. To date, Congress has been unable to reach a consensus on a legislative solution. However, in a speech last week, Chairwoman Waters, identified housing finance reform as a key priority.
NAA/NMHC continue to engage the Administration and congressional leaders on the importance of housing finance reform to the industry.