WASHINGTON — Nearly one year after the Treasury Department outlined a broad strategy for housing finance reform, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Thursday the administration will finally outline more specific plans in the next few months.
Geithner said the administration would lay out new detail on approaches to reform the government-sponsored enterprises this spring, and would begin "exploring options for legislation more intensively" with the chairman and ranking members of the Senate Banking and House Financial Services committees.
"Our plan will wind down the GSEs and bring private capital back into the market, reducing the government's direct role in the housing market and better targeting our support towards first-time homebuyers and low- and moderate-income Americans," Geithner said at a press conference at the Treasury Department.
Republicans have blasted the administration for failing to move quicker on GSE reform, but Geithner defended its actions, saying, "As we made clear last year, our immediate and still most pressing obligation is to repair the damage to homeowners, the housing market and neighborhoods caused by the crisis."
Geithner said the administration expects to put in place key elements of the regulatory framework in 2012. Expanding availability to credit and ensuring a level global playing field for U.S. institutions will be top priorities, he added.
Although the cost of credit is relatively low, there are pockets where credit "is tighter than it needs to be," he said.
"It is important that bank supervisors, in the normal conduct of bank exams and supervision, as well as in the design of new rules to limit risk-taking and abuse, are careful not to overdo it with actions that cause undue damage to the availability of credit or liquidity to markets," Geithner said.