WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama Administration has released questions for public comment on the future of the housing finance system, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the overall role of the federal government in housing policy. The questions have been designed to generate input from a wide variety of constituents, including market participants, industry groups, academic experts, and consumer and community organizations. The questions will also be published in a Federal Register notice requesting public comments, and information on the process for submitting comments will be included in that notice.
"A well-functioning housing finance system is critical to the long term stability of the housing market," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "Hearing from a wide variety of perspectives as we embark on this process is an important part of establishing a more stable and sound housing finance system for the American people."
"This open process will help shape the future of our housing finance system," said U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan "The Obama administration is committed to engaging the public as we consider proposals for reforming the housing finance system in the context of our broader housing policy goals, and the best steps to get from where we are today to a stronger housing finance system."
The Obama Administration will seek input in two ways. First, the public will have the opportunity to submit written responses to the questions published in the Federal Register online at www.regulations.gov . Second, the Administration intends to hold a series of public forums across the country on housing finance reform. Together these opportunities for input will give the public the chance to deepen the federal government's understanding of the issues and to shape the policy response going forward.
This effort is both in keeping with this Administration's commitment to openness and transparency and the President's Open Government Initiative. This initiative represents a major change in the way federal agencies interact with the public by making agency operations and data more transparent and creating new ways for citizens to have an active voice in their government.
Questions for Public Solicitation of Input:
1. How should federal housing finance objectives be prioritized in the context of the broader objectives of housing policy?
2. What role should the federal government play in supporting a stable, well-functioning housing finance system and what risks, if any, should the federal government bear in meeting its housing finance objectives?
3. Should the government approach differ across different segments of the market, and if so, how?
4. How should the current organization of the housing finance system be improved?
5. How should the housing finance system support sound market practices?
6. What is the best way for the housing finance system to help ensure consumers are protected from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices?
7. Do housing finance systems in other countries offer insights that can help inform US reform choices?