LIVE: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac -- Dead or Alive


The government wants to get out of the mortgage business. But can they do it without bringing a halt to what is already a stalled housing market?

This morning, industry leaders are discussing ways to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of the Conference on the Future of Housing Finance, which is being moderated by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan in Washington, D.C.

For more conference-related coverage on AOL Real Estate, read these columns by housing experts Alyssa Katz and Jeff Corbett.

Panelists include legislators, community activists, academics and bank executives, all of whom have an interest in the outcome of the reform process, including Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans; Mike Heid, co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; and Susan Wachter, a professor of Real Estate, Finance and City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Topics will cover housing finance reform and the broader financial markets, as well as housing policy goals.

When the financial fallout hit the market in 2008, the government bailed out Fannie and Freddie along with a lot of private banks. The banks have been able to pay back what it borrowed, but with Fannie and Freddie, the problems were so deep, the government is still pouring taxpayer dollars into the agency.

But that doesn't mean the system is repaired. Earlier this month, Geithner said, referring to Freddie and Fannie, "We have a system that obviously didn't work, and there are fundamental aspects of the current system...that require sweeping fundamental change." What kinds of changes might Geithner be referring to?