Industry News

House passes GSE reform bill

Portfolio limits, affordable housing fund potential Senate roadblocks

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The House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that would strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but some provisions of the bill are expected to be the subject of further Senate debate. Approved by the House in a 313-104 vote, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007 would create a new federal regulator for Fannie and Freddie, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Bush administration officials want the FHFA to have the power to limit Fannie's and Freddie's loan portfolios if they are determined to pose a "systemic risk" to the U.S. banking and financial system. The FHFA was to have the ability to make such a determination under compromise language worked out by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and the Treasury Department. But HR 1427 was amended to give the FHFA less leeway to limit the government-sponsored entities' (GSEs) loan portfolios. Although the amendment would allow the FHFA to limit the GSEs' holdings, it could do so only if it determined a risk to the ...