Fannie, Freddie profits could sap will in Congress to reform mortgage giants

Julie C. Nichols General

The Hill – Vicki Needham

Growing profits for the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cause Congress to lose interest in overhauling the agencies. Lawmakers and housing industry experts have called for reforms in the mortgage finance system to shift the lead role from the government to the private sector. But any efforts to reduce Fannie and Freddie’s involvement in guaranteeing the bulk of home loans — they hold 31 million mortgages worth $5 trillion — could be undermined by the perception that the agencies have recovered financially. Lawmakers have made little progress on reforming the mortgage giants since they were bailed out during the financial crisis, and the news that they are turning a profit for the government — at a time of steep deficits — could give them a reason to leave the issue for another day.

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