Prepared Remarks of Melvin L. Watt
Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency
At the Brookings Institution Forum on the Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Managing the Present: The 2014 Strategic Plan for the
Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
May 13, 2014
Thank you to the Brookings Institution for hosting this event and thank you for that introduction.
Let me begin my remarks today by talking about the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) work over the last four months. Since January, the agency has continued to carry out its day-to-day responsibilities as the regulator of the Federal Home Loan Banks and as the conservator and regulator of Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC) (the Enterprises). Many of these decisions and responsibilities are often considered routine and may go unnoticed. But they are absolutely critical to the effective and efficient operation of the housing finance market. I can’t touch on all of these responsibilities in my remarks today, but I do want to give you a summary of what FHFA has been working on since I arrived and I hope this provides you with insight into the direction we’ll be headed in the future, particularly with reference to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In addition to overseeing our day-to-day operations, my work has also involved an overall assessment of FHFA as well as Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC). During this time, I’ve witnessed the dedication and expertise of FHFA staff at all levels, as well as the tenacity and dedication of the employees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who continue to stay the course during these most difficult and uncertain times. And I would be remiss not to acknowledge and thank these staffs for their hard work. There’s been a constant urgency since the financial crisis. It has been a marathon, but I’m sure it has felt like a sprint. And everyone has continued to excel at every step along the way.
Ed DeMarco prevented financial collapse by stabilizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
I also want to publicly thank Ed DeMarco for his lifelong career in public service, including his time as Acting Director of FHFA. In the face of the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, FHFA helped prevent an extremely bad situation from getting much worse. It’s hard to imagine things being worse given the depth of the housing market collapse, but I very much believe that FHFA and Ed DeMarco’s leadership prevented an even deeper financial collapse by stabilizing Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Assctn Fnni Me (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC).
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