Since the enactment of a regulatory regime for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their regulator has had only the powers of a conservator. This ordinarily means that the regulator could take control of the two GSEs under certain circumstances, but couldn't--as a receiver could--marshal their assets, pay off their creditors, and close them down. In the regulatory legislation adopted by the Senate Banking Committee last year, the new regulator of Fannie and Freddie was authorized to act as a receiver. But Fannie and Freddie strongly opposed the provision, and their opposition resulted in limitations on the regulator's receivership powers that induced the administration to oppose the bill.
Are receivership powers necessary for Fannie and Freddie's regulator? If so, what elements are essential? And if they are adopted in the new legislation expected this year, will they change the perception in the markets that the two companies will be bailed out by Congress if they encounter financial difficulties? These are some of the questions this conference will address.