Stevens on ‘Squawk Box:’ Administration Commitment to GSE Reform ‘Refreshing’

In an appearance Feb. 24 on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO David Stevens, CMB, said he was encouraged by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comments favoring a legislative solution the government-sponsored enterprises.

The clip can be accessed at

“The GSEs are the last piece of unfinished business left over from the Obama Administration,” Stevens said. “Since the GSEs went into receivership in 2008, nothing’s been done to move the process forward. It’s very refreshing to hear the Secretary talk about reform.”

Mnuchin, appearing yesterday on Squawk Box, said he remained “committed” to GSE reform. “They’ve been sitting there for too long,” he said. “We want to get this done by the August recess. We’ve been working closely with the leadership in the House and the Senate and we’re looking at a combined plan.”

Stevens said while some issues, such as how to appease Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac investors, will likely play out in courts, the future of the GSEs lies in the legislative process.

“When we talk about housing finance reform, the word ‘reform’ is the key word,” Stevens said. “The GSEs’ business models can’t be repeated, knowing that they drew $180 billion from the taxpayers…We can wall off the dual goals of meeting taxpayer and investor needs.”

Earlier this month, MBA, through its Task Force for a Future Secondary Mortgage Market; last week, the Task Force released its preliminary paper outlining its recommended approach for secondary mortgage market reform.

The paper, GSE Reform Principles and Guardrails (, calls for ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and establishing a new, durable foundation for the secondary mortgage market with explicit guarantees for mortgage-backed securities.

“This proposes an end to the duopoly,” Stevens said. “And Secretary Mnuchin is creating a rallying cry for anyone who wants to see meaningful reform.”