Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria is aiming for privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Calabria stated that he wants to out the now-profitable GSEs back into private hands, something that has been tried and failed by lawmakers in the past.
“I see my goal as setting a path to end the conservatorship” for the companies he said, adding, “they have to be stronger, healthier companies” compared to before the 2008 housing crisis.
“My objective is to get us to a spot where we don’t have to worry about the system blowing itself up,” he added
Calabria stated that he is awaiting completion of plans ordered by President Donald Trump to refashion the mortgage system, set to be completed around June.
Among Calabria’s concerns is the “qualified mortgage patch,” which allows more highly leveraged homebuyers to obtain Fannie and Freddie-eligible mortgages. Patch usage has grown in the last few years, and according to Calabria, changing the patch would be a key tool to shrink Fannie and Freddie without a full overhaul, though he states that he does not intend to do away with it entirely.
“I can draw Fannie and Freddie a map,” he said. “Fannie and Freddie are going to have to be the ones who meet the mileposts.”
During his swearing-in ceremony, Calabria spoke on the GSEs and the FHFA’s ongoing role as conservator and regulator.
“FHFA has made tremendous progress since its birth in 2008, a development I’ve continued to watch with great interest from the outside,” Calabria said. “It is my foremost objective to cement those gains. It is all too easy to watch regulatory improvements erode as the memory of the last crisis fades.”
According to Calabria, there is “more work to do.”
“Markets change and advance, so must we,” he continued. Calabria states that he enters into this new role with a “great sense of urgency.”
During the ceremony, Calabria reinforced his plan for reform.
“I remain optimistic about America’s housing and mortgage market. But I remain so, because I know together all of us can build a stronger, more secure foundation under that market for all Americans.”