The dim prospects for a congressional overhaul of the housing finance structure is shifting attention to a host of questions about what the lack of reform means for the future of mortgage lending.

The Senate Banking Committee is poised to hold a markup Thursday on bipartisan legislation that would unwind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and replace them with a new mortgage securitization platform and explicit government backstop. Yet the bill is unlikely to move to the chamber floor this year. Meanwhile, a conservative House bill—that would avoid a backstop for the private mortgage market—has stalled.

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