The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has asked for comment on a strategic plan for regulating and supervising Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System from September, 2015 to September, 2019. The plan differs dramatically from the 2009 five-year plan released by the agency, reflecting not only dramatic changes in the housing market since the crisis, but also the gradual recovery of the GSE conservatorships and increasing concerns at the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs). The plan also reflects a sharp change in focus from the Bush Administration’s FHFA director to current Director Mel Watt, who in this plan lays out a focus as much on promoting affordable housing as on restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Indeed, while various plans under prior Acting Director DeMarco remain in the plan, their focus now appears less to shrink the role of the GSEs than to make the conservatorships more robust. As a result, substantive change to these GSEs may need to come either through legislation or whatever the Treasury Department determines to be feasible upon review of recently-submitted comments on ways to increase the role of private capital in the secondary-mortgage market.
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