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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FHFA tries again on GSE capital framework

Federal Issues Fannie Mae Freddie Mac GSE Capital Requirements FHFA Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

Federal Issues

On May 20, the FHFA announced the re-proposal of a notice of proposed rulemaking that would establish a new regulatory capital framework for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). In June 2018, the FHFA issued a proposed rulemaking that would implement a regulatory capital framework for the GSEs including (i) a new framework for risk-based capital requirements; and (ii) two alternative approaches to setting minimum leverage capital requirements. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) The FHFA states that while the 2018 proposal remains the foundation of the re-proposal, including the mortgage risk-sensitive framework, the re-proposal “increas[es] the quantity and quality of the [GSEs]’ regulatory capital and reduc[es] the pro-cyclicality of the aggregate capital requirements.”

According to a factsheet released in conjunction with the re-proposal, the purpose is to ensure that the GSEs operate in a safe and sound manner and are positioned, particularly during times of financial stress, to “fulfill [their] statutory mission to provide stability and ongoing assistance to the secondary mortgage market across the economic cycle.” Specifically, the re-proposal changes include, among other things (i) supplemental capital requirements; (ii) quality of capital changes, such as a risk weight floor and capital buffers; (iii) measures to address pro-cyclicality; and (iv) requirements for the GSEs to assess their own credit, market, and operational risk. Comments on the proposal must be submitted within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.

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