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Fannie and Freddie Surge as Release Plan Hits Kudlow’s Desk

Austin Weinstein, Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs
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Fannie and Freddie Surge as Release Plan Hits Kudlow’s Desk

(Bloomberg) -- The long-awaited Trump administration plan for freeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from federal control has been sent to top officials at the White House and various government agencies, a sign the report is getting closer to being released publicly, according to people familiar with the matter.

A draft of the Treasury Department report was submitted to the White House staff secretary, the people said, who distributes information to senior officials. Among those in possession of the plan is White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who is reviewing it and may request changes, said two people with knowledge of the matter, who like the others asked not to be named in discussing internal deliberations.

The report will address ways to rebuild Fannie and Freddie’s capital, as well as their path out of conservatorship, one of the people said. But it is unlikely to discuss potential ways to pull off initial public offerings, which is one way to raise capital that some officials have previously examined, the person said.

Fannie rose 8.2% to $2.45, while Freddie gained 7.7% to $2.38 following news reports on Treasury’s progress. The companies have more than doubled this year amid a number of public statements from administration officials about their eagerness to get the companies out of the government’s grip.

Read More: Fannie and Freddie Died But Were Reborn, Profitably

Originally expected to be made public as early as June, the Treasury plan has faced delays as the administration grew wary of taking bold steps that could roil the housing market before the 2020 presidential election.

A Treasury spokesman declined to comment, while a White House spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In March, the administration announced a revived push to end the conservatorships of Fannie and Freddie Mac, which the companies entered in 2008 during collapse of the housing market. Since their takeover, lawmakers have repeatedly failed to agree on an overhaul of the companies that would end government control.

The public release of Treasury’s report could still be weeks away. And any changes it recommends might take months or even years to implement, indicating that the conservatorships may not end anytime soon.

While Fannie and Freddie don’t make loans, they are crucial to keeping the nation’s housing-finance system humming. They buy up mortgages from lenders and package them into bonds that are sold to investors with guarantees of interest and principal, and combined they backstop about $5 trillion of mortgage securities.

While many major reforms to the mortgage giants will require cooperation with Congress, administration officials have power to make far-reaching changes to the housing-finance system. Just last month, regulators announced they would end a crucial rule carve-out that benefited Fannie and Freddie.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Austin Weinstein in Washington at aweinstein18@bloomberg.net;Saleha Mohsin in Washington at smohsin2@bloomberg.net;Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at jjacobs68@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net, Gregory Mott

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