Mortgage

Watt’s vision of Fannie and Freddie’s role good for housing — in the broadest sense

Democrats see mortgage giants' role to help more marginal homebuyers

Realtors, mortgage lenders and builders cheered when Mel Watt, the incoming overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, played Santa just before Christmas and delayed a package of loan fee increases that would have made buying a home more expensive in 2014, even for people with great credit.Watt, a North Carolina Democratic congressman since 1993 and a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is scheduled to be sworn in as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Jan. 6. He'll replace Acting Director Ed DeMarco, who sought to raise loan fees as part of his effort to shrink Fannie and Freddie’s role in the marketplace.Watt said he needed time as new director to evaluate the impact of the fee increases, which DeMarco had envisioned taking effect this spring, before lenders began pricing them into their 2014 rate quotes to mortgage applicants.But is there any real chance that, after studying the matter, Watt will actually go along with DeMarco’s planned fee hik...