Senate panel sets GSE hearing as administration's reform plan nears

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee announced it will hold a hearing Sept. 10 to examine next steps for housing finance reform as presidentially directed reports from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the subject are expected to be released shortly.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria will all testify at next week’s hearing.

President Trump in March directed Treasury and HUD to report on both administrative and legislative solutions for modernizing the housing finance system and ending the conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In the presidential memo, the administration said it is looking to promote competition in the mortgage market, create sustainable homeownership options and protect taxpayers from future bailouts. Sustainable homeownership is the “benchmark of success” for reform, according to a White House press release at the time.

The memo said a reformed system should maintain "equal access to the Federal housing finance system for lenders of all sizes, charter types, and geographic locations, including the maintenance of a cash window for loan sales."

Calabria has said he is waiting to see those reports before he makes any decisions about how to supervise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s exit from conservatorship.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has said one of his main priorities as chairman is to address "our broken housing finance."

“I would say that the administration is equally committed to dealing with housing finance reform this year," Crapo said in March.

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Housing finance reform GSE reform GSEs Affordable housing Mark Calabria Steven Mnuchin Ben Carson Senate Banking Committee FHFA Treasury Department