The Trump administration is in the process of negotiating with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and expects to have an agreement "in the near term" that will allow both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to retain their earnings while protecting taxpayers from downturns in the housing market, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.
"They have been in conservatorship for 11 years," Mnuchin told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo. "We think now is the time to recapitalize and make them stronger, so that taxpayers aren't at risk."
The administration's plan for the mortgage giants, announced last Friday, calls for eventually raising third-party capital while getting the mortgage giants out of government conservatorship, Mnuchin said.
He also wouldn't comment on the investors' current situation concerning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but he said he does agree the mortgage companies have been under conservatorship for too long.
"We want to make sure they are in the no conservatorship on a permanent basis," said Mnuchin, adding that the administration is comfortable with moving ahead and making the changes that are needed.
Money that's brought in wouldn't go to the investors, but instead would stay in the companies as the legal processes move forward, said Mnuchin.
"Obviously, the treasury has very significant claims for the money that we've outlaid," He said. "We are going to try to see if we can do it in September [or] very soon after that."
He added that if Congress supports the measure, the companies could get new capital and return to the private sector in the next three to six months, and if that doesn't happen, administrative measures will be taken.
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