Regulator Signals Direction Change in Housing Policy

January 6, 2014
Wall Street Journal 
mortgage lending news

The new regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac likely will focus more on ensuring access to mortgage credit than on curtailing the role of the government-sponsored enterprises or other policy goals. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), being sworn in as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Jan. 06, has already signaled plans to put off a loan-fee hike that would make it easier for private investors to compete with the mortgage-finance giants. Housing industry experts see delaying the fee increases as a shift in policy for the watchdog -- which, in recent years, has focused more on reducing Washington's role in the housing market. "DeMarco had announced that he was in essence winding down" the companies, said Center for Responsible Lending President Michael Calhoun. "I think you will see Watt push private capital to come in, but he will not force Congress's hand by saying, 'I'm going to blow them up if you don't act.'"

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