Rules Require Freddie, Fannie To Shrink Portfolios

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WASHINGTON-The Federal Housing Finance Agency finalized three rules on yesterday, including one that requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce the size of their portfolios.

Another rule requires Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Home Loan banks to establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion and promote diversity and the inclusion of women, minorities and disabled persons in all activities. The third rule sets affordable housing goals for the Home Loan Bank system.

Additionally, the agency issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking asking the Home Loan banks and others to identify provisions that need to be updated to ensure they are consistent with the membership and the housing and community development mission of the banks.

Of the new regulations, the portfolio one is the most critical, but is unchanged from the FHFA's interim final rule on portfolio rulings that went into effect on Jan. 30, 2009. The rule says that Fannie and Freddie may each hold mortgage assets up to $900 billion as of Dec. 31, 2009, but starting at the end of this year, they must reduce their portfolio holdings by 10% annually until they reach $250 billion.

The FHFA also finalized a rule setting housing goals for the Home Loan banks, which was virtually unchanged from its earlier proposal. The rule says the goals must be consistent with the housing goals set for Fannie and Freddie but take into consideration the unique mission and structure of the banks. It is effective on Jan. 26.

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