American Banker: Bankshot White House is making hard job of GSE reform even harder

American Banker, February 19th, 2019, Bankshot White House is making hard job of GSE reform even harder

The situation has left many observers scratching their heads. Is the White House planning major administrative reforms to Fannie and Freddie in secret? Have Otting and Mnuchin excluded Calabria from those early efforts? Are there competing factions within the administration battling over what the future of the system might look like? Are the incongruities we’re seeing publicly more a matter of semantics — a sly differentiation, for instance, between something being a “framework” versus a “plan”? Is this a “secret plan to fight inflation” a la “The West Wing”? These questions immediately jump to mind.

Given the sheer enormity of effort needed to reform the GSEs — and the complexities of the debate — more public information is needed, and quickly. Otherwise, speculation and rumors will continue to run rampant, a trend that could hinder efforts at policy changes down the line.

“Both Congress and the American people have a right to know — what is the articulated policy, what objectives are they trying to reach?” said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “To the extent even that’s not clear, you sort of have to read between the lines.”

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