Freddie Mac CEO: We will help increase mortgage lending

Competition among two is still competition

The CEO from the government-sponsored enterprise, Freddie Mac, said that his firm is increasingly becoming more competitive in the mortgage market and will look to see how its "credit box could be more fully utilized.”

In short, he sees Freddie Mac as playing an important role in the latest initiatives to offer an incentive to increasing mortgage lending. However, some aren't as confident that this could or should happen.

Freddie CEO Donald Layton spoke at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual conference & expo underway now in Las Vegas, during a panel titled: "GSE reform: Where do we go from here?"

Layton pointed to several types of reform that are helping Freddie Mac become a stronger firm.

He said a move to a common securitization platform is an initiative that will help Freddie Mac achieve its goals of remaining competitive.

The comment came at a time when some in the mortgage market, including some attendees here, openly muse about whether or not the Federal Housing Finance Agency should simply dissolve the smaller Freddie Mac and just support the operations at its larger competitor, Fannie Mae.

"Freddie should stop issuing. Every time Fannie Mae sells a bond, Fannie should buy a legacy Freddie bond, until the issue is resolved," said one such attendee I spoke to before the panel.

Layton's comments certainly do not echo those above sentiments and by listening to him speak on GSE reform, it's clear that he intends, not only stick around for much longer, but to also grow much stronger.

Layton added that mortgage infrastructure and mortgage insurer improvements will help Freddie Mac buy loans at about 80% loan-to-value.

Fannie Mae today announced that it would start buying loans at 3% down. Freddie will likely follow suit, as recent memory of events lead me to believe.

This development is all part of non-legislative reform intended to improve mortgage financing, Layton said. However, this is not as noticed, the Freddie CEO indicated, largely because media does not cover it as an umbrella subject.

Legislative reform would take much longer. Layton said, that while it’s "hard to predict politics,"  any reform once passed would be at least several years before beginning implementation.

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