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Fannie-Freddie Regulator Said to Plan to Stay On Under Trump

Bloomberg

Thursday, December 15, 2016

When Barack Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, Democratic appointees across the government are expected to follow him out the door, to be replaced by officials chosen by Donald Trump. Not Mel Watt — he isn’t planning to go anywhere.

As head of the little-known but powerful Federal Housing Finance Agency, Watt oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies that underpin nearly half of U.S. mortgages. Watt has told employees and others close to him that he plans to stay at his post after Trump becomes president to serve out a term that doesn’t end until January 2019, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the discussions were private…

Treasury is forbidden to sell its stakes in Fannie and Freddie without congressional approval until 2018 under the terms of legislation passed last year.

“Congress has made its position known clearly that if you’re going to end the conservatorship, they want a voice in that decision,” said Michael Stegman, who helped shape housing policy in the Obama White House and is now a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

KEYWORDS: FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC, MEL WATT, 114TH CONGRESS, DONALD TRUMP, MICHAEL STEGMAN