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Geithner: US May Close Down Freddie, Fannie

Friday, 03 February 2012 01:37 PM

The Obama administration is studying ways to overhaul government-backed mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — even considering closing them down — and bring private capital back into the mortgage markets, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says.

Since the housing meltdown and recession, the government has propped up home lending by taking control of Freddie and Fannie.

However, even if Washington does overhaul the public-sector's role in the sector, such a change won't come anytime soon.

"It's going to be a complicated process," Geithner says, according to the Washington Post.

"We don't expect to legislate this year."

Republicans want to close up Freddie and Fannie faster than the White House, which remains largely focused on overhauling regulation on the financial services industry at present.

"We’re in a much earlier stage on housing reform," than with other financial regulatory changes, Geithner says, adding all sides agree on the need for change in the home-finance sector.

"What we're going to try to do is lay the foundation for consensus."

The Senate, meanwhile, has voted to ban bonuses for executives at Fannie and Freddie.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, has said the organizations can still find qualified executives to run the businesses without the promise of hefty bonuses at taxpayer expense.

"There are many examples of intelligent, well-qualified, patriotic individuals working in our federal government who make significantly less than the top executives at Fannie and Freddie with just as much responsibility," McCain says, according to Bloomberg.

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Friday, 03 February 2012 01:37 PM
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