Solutions to fix the mess the U.S. housing finance system are months if not years away, but U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will likely reiterate his view to Congress on Wednesday that the United States must make that system more efficient, resilient and less complex.
Geithner will testify on Wednesday on the State of the International Financial System at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
In comments in April at the Council on Foreign Relations, Geithner said the U.S. took the lead in reforming the rules of the global financial system in recent years.
The U.S. is far ahead of other countries due to efforts in attracting private capital, cleaning out the weakest parts of the system very forcefully and legislating rules to modernize the checks and balances of the financial system.
So we brought more than $300 billion in private capital into our largest banks in a relatively short period of time. Compare that to what's happening in Europe, he said.
Our core objective is to make the United States again the strongest financial system in the world, the best at channeling the savings of investors around the world to finance the ideas of growing companies with the strongest protections for investors and a much better set of shock absorbers, cushions against future shocks and crises.
The National Association of Realtors has recently advocated for a government role to remain even as the secondary mortgage market faces stiff challenges that could wind down a pair of government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
There are strong negative repercussions for relying solely on private capital to form the foundation of the housing finance system. After the housing downturn, private mortgage capital became nearly nonexistent, and without the GSEs, qualified borrowers would not have had access to the funds required to purchase a home, said NAR President Ron Phipps during testimony to the Senate Banking, Housing and urban Affairs Commettee hearing on May 26.
A government backstop is critical to ensure a continual flow of mortgage liquidity and the long-term viability of the housing market, he said