No one knows what housing market reform — especially the reshaping of the GSEs — will look like, but Wall Street, which has already had many of its business lines transformed by regulation or credit conditions, certainly will be paying close attention to the debate and how it could impact another important source of fee income.

That income comes in the form of activities such as underwriting debt for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, providing a market for their bonds and helping them hedge their massive holdings. The GSEs do not conduct nearly as much business with Wall Street as they did before the financial crisis, when they were big buyers of private-label mortgage securities. Nevertheless, the agencies remain some of the Street's biggest clients.

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