The head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, recently asked Congress to “Help the Trump administration overhaul mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or he will do what he can on his own.” According to The Wall Street Journal (reposted on Realtor.com) FHFA Director Mark Calabria expressed his frustration with repeated efforts to overhaul Fannie and Freddie but have failed to gain traction because of widespread disagreement over how to do it. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the WSJ says are critical to half the nation’s mortgages, have been under federal control since the 2008 financial crisis.
Fannie and Freddie for decades have played a key role in maintaining the plumbing of the U.S. mortgage market. They purchase loans from lenders and repackage them as securities that are insured if the loans default, guaranteeing roughly half of the $10 trillion housing market. The companies also are central to the popular 30-year mortgage, which locks in low payments for buyers.