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WASHINGTON – The Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to mark-up legislation on April 1 that would create a new regulator for all housing-related government-sponsored enterprises. The bill, drafted by Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala) and ranking member Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) would place supervision of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks under one agency that would have one director who would chair the agency’s four-member advisory board. The other three board members would be the secretaries of Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The new regulator would replace the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and the Federal Housing Finance Board and would have independent funding authority, including authority to set its own budget and collect annual fees from the GSEs without congressional approval. The agency’s executive director would have authority to approve new products, establish temporary increases in capital standards and place a GSE into conservatorship or receivership. In a statement released by Chuck Greener, SVP for communications for Fannie Mae, he noted that “Fannie Mae supports legislation to create a world-class financial regulator for the government-sponsored housing enterprises because strong oversight is in the best interests of the American homeowner as well as housing, the financial system, our company, and its investors, customers and housing partner.” He added though that “due to certain elements of the draft bill that would harm our ability to fulfill our homeownership mission we believe the current draft would not gain the necessary consensus support across the housing industry.” Freddie Mac also expressed its interest in working with Shelby and members of the Senate Banking committee toward “the goal of enhancing our safety and soundness regulation,” said Freddie Mac’s VP, Corporate Communications David Palombi. But he said the GSE was withholding comments on the draft bill until it had more time to analyze the 200-page draft legislation. Palombi noted though that Freddie Mac believes “we will have some concerns with particular provisions.”

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