Public-Interest Regulation

In conjunction with releasing its new fair-housing rule, FHFA yesterday also created a new office of “Public Interest Examination.”  In short, Fannie, Freddie, and the Home Loan Banks are henceforth – at least for the tenure of this President and FHFA director – to be held to standards that cement their role as public utilities, not privately-owned enterprises.  This is neither unexpected nor unjustified – after all, the regulated entities enjoy manifold taxpayer benefits and two are in conservatorship.  Still, it continues to make it even harder to turn the clock back on Fannie and Freddie or to return the Home Loan Banks to the quiet corners in which they and members enjoyed so many advantages.