FHFA Publishes Final Rule on GSE ‘Living Wills’

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Monday published a final rule that requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop credible resolution plans, also known as “living wills.”

FHFA said these resolution plans would facilitate a rapid and orderly resolution of the Enterprises should FHFA be appointed their receiver per the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

“After the capital rule, the finalization of the living will rule is one of the last major regulatory pieces needed to give effect to Congress’ intent in HERA,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “Just like other large financial institutions, these plans will provide Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHFA with a roadmap for preserving business continuity should they fail again. This rule helps create a stronger, more resilient housing finance system by protecting taxpayers and the mortgage market from harm if either Enterprise fails.”

The final rule is similar to a rule issued by both the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. under the Dodd–Frank Act, which requires many large financial institutions to submit living wills. The Department of Treasury’s 2019 Housing Reform Plan highlighted the need for a credible resolution framework for the Enterprises, and the Financial Stability Oversight Council endorsed Enterprise living wills in the early fall of 2020.

Under the final rule, the Enterprises must demonstrate how core or important business lines would be maintained to ensure continued support for mortgage finance and stabilize the housing finance system, without extraordinary government support, to prevent an Enterprise from being placed in receivership, indemnify investors against losses or fund the resolution of an Enterprise.

Link to Fact Sheet