Special Update: President Plans for GSE Reform

In a press conference this afternoon, President Obama laid out his plan for restructuring the GSEs.  His plan sounds very similar to what is being proposed in the Senate, so there were no big surprises.  His plan includes a wind down of Fannie and Freddie (no specific timetable provided) to make room for the private sector.  His plan includes some form of government backstop, as necessary to encourage a liquid market for mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and the 30 year fixed rate product.  The government backstop would insure investor recovery of principal and interest, but would only be paid after substantial private capital has been depleted.  He acknowledged that this will take a long time.  He offered a couple of things that could be done much sooner, like creating a common Fannie/Freddie platform for issuing new MBS and reducing Fannie’s and Freddie’s mortgage holdings.  He emphasized that any restructuring needs to provide adequate opportunity for first time home buyers.