Public Comments, Forums To Shape Housing Finance

The Obama administration has released questions for public comment on the future of the housing finance system, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the overall role of the federal government in housing policy.

The questions have been designed to generate input from a wide variety of constituents, including market participants, industry groups, academic experts, and consumer and community organizations, the White House says. The questions will also be published in a Federal Register notice requesting public comment.

The public will be able to submit written responses to the administration's questions published online at Additionally, the administration says it will hold a series of public forums across the nation on housing finance reform.

"Together, these opportunities for input will give the public the chance to deepen the federal government's understanding of the issues and to shape the policy response going forward," a Treasury statement says.

Included in the Treasury statement were seven questions that the administration will presumably ask in its Federal Register notice:

  • How should federal housing finance objectives be prioritized in the context of the broader objectives of housing policy?
  • What role should the federal government play in supporting a stable, well-functioning housing finance system, and what risks, if any, should the federal government bear in meeting its housing finance objectives?
  • Should the government's approach differ across different segments of the market, and if so, how? Â
  • How should the current organization of the housing finance system be improved?
  • How should the housing finance system support sound market practices?
  • What is the best way for the housing finance system to help ensure consumers are protected from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices?
  • Do housing finance systems in other countries offer insights that can help inform U.S. reform choices?

The Treasury, in its media release, accompanies each of the seven questions with guidance on specific issues that respondents might address in their comments. For example, in regard to the first question – how should federal finance objectives be prioritized – the Treasury says commentary could address policy for sustainable homeownership, rental policy, balancing rental and ownership, how to account for regional differences, and affordability goals.

SOURCE: Treasury Department


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