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Mortgage finance reform back on track?

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A flurry of activity among policymakers and influential real estate industry leaders suggests a plan for reforming the nation's mortgage finance system is finally starting to take shape. Whether the plan can pick up enough momentum to win over lawmakers who question whether the government should have a role in housing finance remains to be seen.It's been nearly five years since the government placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- "government-sponsored entities" (GSEs) that help channel investment into mortgage lending -- in conservatorship.Now industry bigwigs and Capitol Hill veterans from both political parties are coalescing around a formative plan released in late February to overhaul Fannie and Freddie.The GSE-reform blueprint, engineered by a commission from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) that includes former lawmakers and industry experts, calls for replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a "public guarantor" that would keep money flowing into mortgage l...