Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be allowed to build capital buffers to protect against losses under an agreement between the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Thursday.
The two government-sponsored enterprises have relied on the “classic” FICO credit scoring model for the past 12 years. But the Federal Housing Finance Agency is weighing whether the GSEs should upgrade to more recent scoring alternatives.
Testing of the common securitization platform is taking longer than expected, but the Federal Housing Finance Agency said it won't delay the 2019 launch of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's new single "uniform mortgage-backed security."
The financial services industry has cheered a proposed reduction in the corporate tax rate, but a lower rate could force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to write down assets, increasing the odds that the companies will need Treasury support.
Though FHFA Director Mel Watt stopped short of saying he would break with a Treasury agreement that forces all profits of the GSEs to go to the government, he emphasized that it couldn’t continue indefinitely.