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No rush to shut down Fannie, Freddie

Administration sees continued role for feds in MBS guarantees

The Obama administration sees the government continuing to play a role in housing finance by providing guarantees on payments to investors in mortgage-backed securities, but does not support resurrecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their previous form, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said today.Speaking at a government-sponsored conference on housing finance, Geithner indicated there is no rush to shut down Fannie and Freddie, reiterating the administration's previously stated intent to stand behind the companies while their investment portfolios are wound down.Federal regulators and Fannie's and Freddie's new boards have raised underwriting standards and raised the fees the companies charge to provide guarantees, minimizing the risk that taxpayers will see the nearly $150 billion bill for bailing the companies out continue to grow, Geithner said in his prepared remarks.Reforming the housing finance system "is about more than designing an elegant funeral for Fannie and Freddie,...