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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Analysis of Options for Revising the Housing Enterprises’ Long-Term Structures: Congressional Testimony
William B. Shear (au)
Statement of William B. Shear, Dir., Financial Markets and Community Investment, GAO, discussing the results of GAO’s recently issued report on options for restructuring two government-sponsored enterprises (GSE): Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On Sept. 6, 2008, the Fed. Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship out of concern that their deteriorating financial condition and potential default on $5.4 trillion in financial obligations threatened the stability of financial markets. Since then, the Dept. of the Treasury has provided nearly $100 billion to the enterprises, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the total cost of Treasury financial assistance will be nearly $400 billion. Moreover, the Board of Governors of the Fed. Reserve System has committed to purchasing up to $1.45 trillion in the debt and securities of the enterprises (and other entities) to support housing finance, housing markets, and financial markets. FHFA said that the conservatorships were not intended to be permanent. Over the longer term, Congress and the exec. branch will face difficult decisions on how to restructure the enterprises and promote housing opportunities while limiting risks to taxpayers and the stability of financial markets. This testimony (1) summarizes the enterprises' performance in achieving key housing mission objectives; (2) identifies various options for revising the enterprises' long-term structures; (3) analyzes these options in terms of their potential capacity to achieve key housing mission and safety and soundness objectives; and (4) discusses how the federal government's management of the conservatorships and response to the housing crisis could affect any transition. Tables.
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