Outside Opinion: Bill to replace Fannie, Freddie not good enough (Chicago Tribune)

Johnson-Crapo plan could slash access to government-backed mortgages

A bill to dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and redesign the mortgage finance system is pending in the U.S. Senate. The bill would replace Fannie and Freddie, government-sponsored enterprises that bundle mortgages together to sell as bonds, with an industry-financed agency. The agency would still offer a government guarantee on mortgage bonds, but one that would kick in only after private interests shouldered losses. Here are two views:

It's clear that today's housing finance system is far from perfect, but any changes we make to it will affect housing opportunity for generations. We must move with caution before making decisions that could make it harder for first-time homebuyers, or buyers from communities that banks have neglected to serve, to take out a mortgage. The proposal drafted by Sens. Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doesn't do enough to ensure that all Americans can live in affordable homes.

Read the full article