Franklin Raines, chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, continued his company's counteroffensive against critics Friday.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, Mr. Raines took aim at FM Watch, a coalition of financial-services companies that describes itself as a watchdog for Fannie and Freddie Mac.
Mr. Raines called the coalition an "attack dog" seeking to provide short-term gains for its members by hurting the housing industry.
He also reiterated Fannie's opposition to a bill sponsored by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., that seeks increased oversight over Fannie and Freddie.
Mr. Raines singled out the bill's proposal to unify regulation of the Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Bank System under one roof. Fannie and Freddie are regulated by two agencies: the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which handles mission-related issues; and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which oversees their safety and soundness. Home Loan banks are regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Board.
"If you really want to treat them [Fannie, Freddie and the Home Loan banks] the same, you have to harmonize the underlying capital structure," Mr. Raines said.
He also criticized a provision of the Baker bill that he said would require innovation in loan products offered by Fannie and partners to go through a more lengthy oversight process before new products could be put on the market.
Today, Mr. Raines said, if Fannie negotiates a new product with one of its lenders, once the parties agree on it, it can be put out to consumers. The Baker legislation would force Fannie to take the proposal to HUD, which would publish it in the Federal Register and then decide whether or not it is a good program. That, Mr. Raines said, would turn the new program approval process into "a bureaucratic nightmare."
However, Mr. Raines said that the congressional hearings on the Baker bill are "entirely appropriate," because they provide an opportunity to tell Washington that the housing finance system is working well. He is scheduled to testify on the bill this week before a House Banking subcommittee.