Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's better-than-expected financial results have put the mortgage guarantee fees they charge lenders  back in the spotlight. Should the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) raise fees high enough, it could eventually resurrect a private securitization market and shrink Fannie and Freddie.

But raising the fees only slightly would keep mortgage rates down and make the GSEs' permanent wards. Should the regulator take a middle route of moderate increases, it could turn the GSEs into a serious income generator — assuming there's not another crash.

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