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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fannie, Freddie permitted by US to keep $3 billion buffers

WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Finance Agency and U.S. Treasury Department said they have agreed to let mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac retain capital buffers of $3 billion each, marking the first changes to their bailout arrangements in five years. The change, announced Thursday, came after months of warnings by FHFA Director Mel Watt, who said having no buffers at the government-controlled companies risked disrupting the mortgage market if they had to take more bailout money from the U.S. Treasury. Some Democratic senators had also called for Fannie and Freddie to keep buffers, while some Republicans said such a change was unnecessary.

Average 30-year mortgage rate dips to 4.15 percent

Long-term mortgage rates slipped again this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans eased to 4.15 percent from 4.17 percent last week. The benchmark rate stood at 3.65 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent through 2016, lowest in records going back to 1971.

Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac should be utilities, trade group says

A powerful housing trade group is wasting no time in pushing the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress to address one of the last unresolved issues from the financial crisis, outlining a proposal Tuesday to overhaul mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.