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Investments

MBA economist sees taxpayer risk in latest FHFA GSE plan

March 5, 2013

The Federal Housing Finance Agency outlined the initial steps it would like to take to create a new business entity outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve as a platform for a new secondary mortgage market this week.

But Jay Brinkmann, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, told Fox Business News the plan comes with potential risks for the American taxpayer and no guarantee that such a move away from the GSEs will be smooth, affordable or timely.

"Ed DeMarco has the right idea that he doesn’t want both firms spending money independently to build systems on their own," Brinkmann said. But he added, the problem of developing a new system where the GSEs own it is that "all the money they spend is less money that comes back to the Treasury."

Brinkmann continues to support a move to a situation that mirrors the Ginnie Mae-model, where a government agency "actually relies on private companies" to deal with the risk. Brinkmann noted that there is support for getting private companies more on the hook and involved, but Washington has become unable to come up with a cohesive plan.

"Our problem has been coming up with a real plan and a real transition," he said.

And he remains worried about the proposed new entity that the FHFA described this week. "It’s not looking at the total picture of what this transition could look like and if it doesn’t take that into account, we are looking to lose money here and that is going to end up coming back to the taxpayer."

Meanwhile, Josh Rosner a managing director at Graham Fisher discussed the plan on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers." He asks at 01:29 if the GSEs maintain enough value to continue moving forward with such reforms, or as some suggest, Fannie and Freddie should be wound down.

 

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