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Trump's Treasury pick: Rebuild roads, cut gov't role in home loans (Update)

Will privatizing Fannie, Freddie boost mortgage rates?

Fannie and Freddie, and the "implied" government guarantees of their financing that became real as they lost many billions in the credit crisis(ultimately regaining some from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other lenders who made so many bad loans), have long been defended by construction and real estate interests.

Even when Fannie and Freddie became profitable again, the Obama administration declined to either fully privatize the companies, or push a long-term reorganization plan.

That's due partly to the complex politics of the mortgage and construction industries. Real estate people in the past worried that an all-private U.S. home mortgage market will be dominated by lenders who demand bigger down payments and higher interest rates, reducing homeownership and construction and slowing the economy.

But Mnuchin says the Big Two, under government control, are too often in the way: "In many cases (Fannie and Freddie) displace private lending in the mortgage markets. And we need these entities that will be safe. So let me just be clear we'll make sure that when they're restructured they're absolutely safe and they don't get taken over again. But we gotta get them out of government control."

That pleases Hindes.  Fannie and Freddie are necessary to the survival of the low-rate, 30-year home loan -- without which "the value of every house in America drops by more than 30 percent," in Hindes estimate.

Hindes is also among the Fannie and Freddie shareholders who contend the financing giants need not have been taken over in the first place. He says they  improperly handed billions in profits to the U.S. Treasury instead of giving the money to private investors; and is among those suing to get their billions back.