FHFA Outlines Next Steps for Conservatorship, Announces Close of First REO Pilot Purchase

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On September 10, FHFA Director Edward DeMarco, in a speech made to an industry conference, provided a progress report on his agency’s role as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and outlined several next steps the conservator will take to alter the GSEs’ operations in the mortgage market. Further to the FHFA’s recent increases of guarantee fees, Mr. DeMarco announced that the FHFA plans to release a paper outlining a pricing approach that would better capture the costs associated with state and local policies by imposing an upfront fee on newly acquired single-family mortgages originated in states where default-related costs are higher than the national average. The FHFA plans to seek public comment on the proposal. In addition, Mr. DeMarco provided an update on the FHFA’s work, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to develop a shared securitization platform. This secondary market infrastructure project, which was announced earlier this year and is expected to take multiple years to build and implement, is being designed not only to serve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while in conservatorship, but also a broader multiple-issuer market post-conservatorship. The infrastructure would include new standards for a variety of contractual agreements, including a model pooling and servicing agreement. The FHFA plans to issue a white paper on the platform in October and will seek public input. Also announced as part of the speech, as well as in a separate FHFA release, was the FHFA’s completion of the first sale of REO properties in the pilot program through which the FHFA is selling foreclosed properties to be transitioned into rental housing.