WASHINGTON A long-awaited risk-based capital rule for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been completed and is under review by the Office of Management and Budget, a regulator said Monday.
Armando Falcon Jr., director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, said that his agency is working informally with staff members at the Office of Management and Budget, which must approve all major rules before they are finalized. He would not divulge the content of the rule, which has been proposed twice in the eight years since OFHEO was created, but said he hopes to issue it in final form in the first half of next year.
Optimistically, I like to think that if we can help OMB understand the changes we have made, we can get a timely clearance, Mr. Falcon said. But I really dont want to speculate about how long it will take.
Earlier versions of the rule were criticized as being overly complicated and reliant on flawed models. We have thoroughly addressed those concerns, said Mr. Falcon. I am very confident that this will be a rule that works.
Mr. Falcon also announced that his agency would release as early as today two sets of policy guidelines, three proposals, and a rule.
The first set of guidelines focuses on the type and amount of non-mortgage investments held by the GSEs. The guidelines do not proscribe particular kinds of investments, Mr. Falcon said, but require policies to ensure that their liquidity investments meet certain safety and soundness standards.
The second set of guidelines will be broader, he said. It will address safety and soundness issues in general, and detail the sort of policies and procedures the agency expects Fannie and Freddie to have in place.
The three proposals would clarify when OFHEO can exercise its enforcement authority, how the agency reviews the salaries of executives at the government-sponsored enterprises, and how it assesses examination fees.
The rule would renumber the agencys rules to account for recent additions.
The announcement came just days after Fannie Mae chief executive officer Franklin D. Raines said in a speech that the regulatory structure under which his firm operates gives it the most comprehensive configuration of protections against risk and loss of any financial institution in the world.