OpinionIndustry News

Congress must fix mortgage watchdog

Perspective: OFHEO required to keep Fannie, Freddie in check

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

The time has come for Congress to stop playing political football with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the regulatory agency that's supposed to keep a close eye on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. OFHEO and the two scandal-plagued mortgage companies have been the subject of multiple Congressional hearings for more than two years, yet Congress has yet to increase the agency's authority or resources. This agency needs to be empowered to achieve its mission now, not after the November elections and not sometime next year. It's no secret that OFHEO wasn't on guard against dirty tricks in the accounting functions at the two government-created mortgage giants, which were forced to restate earnings by a combined $16 billion and pay more than $500 million in fines. Congressional testimony has suggested that failure was due to inadequate authority and resources at OFHEO relative to the sheer size of the regulatory task. The problem is known; why hasn't the remedy been effected? ...