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Open Season on Housing Finance: Obama Wants to Hear Your Ideas

Got an insider's view into the workings of the nation's mortgage market, what's right and what's wrong? How about a strategy on reforming the housing finance system? President Obama and his administration want to hear your ideas. Somewhere in the trenches may lie the answers policymakers are looking for.

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The federal government released a list of questions Wednesday soliciting public comment on the direction transformation of the nation's home finance structure should take, including the future of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the overall role of the government in housing policy.

According to a joint statement issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury and HUD, the following seven questions are designed to generate input and opinions from mortgage market participants, industry groups, academic experts, and consumer and community organizations:

* How should federal housing finance objectives be prioritized in the context of the broader objectives of housing policy?
* What role should the federal government play in supporting a stable, well-functioning housing finance system and what risks, if any, should the federal government bear in meeting its housing finance objectives?

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* Should the government approach differ across different segments of the market, and if so, how?
* How should the current organization of the housing finance system be improved?
* How should the housing finance system support sound market practices?
* What is the best way for the housing finance system to help ensure consumers are protected from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices?
* Do housing finance systems in other countries offer insights that can help inform U.S. reform choices?

""A well-functioning housing finance system is critical to the long term stability of the housing market,"" said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. ""Hearing from a wide variety of perspectives as we embark on this process is an important part of establishing a more stable and sound housing finance system for the American people.""

Written responses and comments to the questions can be submitted via the Federal Register online at ""+regulations.gov+"":http://www.regulations.gov.

The administration also intends to hold a series of public forums across the country this summer and fall on housing finance reform.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said, ""This open process will help shape the future of our housing finance system. The Obama administration is committed to engaging the public as we consider proposals for reforming the housing finance system in the context of our broader housing policy goals, and the best steps to get from where we are today to a stronger housing finance system.""

Congressional committees have already begun their own debates over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the restructuring of mortgage financing, but Treasury officials have indicated the administration will not release a plan for such reform until next year.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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