Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin's call to return Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the private sector may sound simple in concept, but he will have to overcome a host of issues and answer several key questions to make it happen.

As previous unsuccessful attempts at housing finance reform have shown, unwinding the conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises — and doing so in a way that ensures they are "absolutely safe," as Mnuchin has said — is extremely challenging.

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