Housing center



Event Summary

On Tuesday morning at AEI, seven housing experts rolled out their plan to eliminate the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without legislation. This proposal counters the housing lobby’s view that a government guarantee is necessary for an effective housing finance system. The plan can be accomplished by administrative action alone. This is important since Congress has been unable to develop or agree on a workable housing finance system since the financial crisis nine and a half years ago.

This unique plan would create a safer and more stable housing market, take the taxpayer off the hook, and help the Treasury reduce the deficit by billions of dollars annually. The plan works by gradually winding down the GSEs through a reduction in the conforming loan limits, which are the maximum loan limits eligible for purchase by GSEs, and an elimination of other GSE products that do not promote home ownership.

—Jackson Garner

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Event Description

Since the financial crisis, Congress has been unable to develop or agree on a workable housing finance system. The current system, dominated by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, seems unacceptable to the many Republicans and conservatives in the House, and a system that does not include subsidized government support for “affordable housing” seems unacceptable to Democrats in the Senate.

Please join AEI for a fresh look at how to create a housing finance market that focuses on protecting taxpayers and homebuyers, rather than serving the interests of the housing lobby.

 Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.


8:30 AM
Registration and breakfast

9:00 AM
Welcoming remarks:
Alex Pollock, R Street Institute

9:05 AM
Patrick Lawler, AEI
Norbert Michel, Heritage Foundation
Stephen D. Oliner, AEI; UCLA Ziman Center
Tobias Peter, AEI
Edward J. Pinto, AEI
Peter J. Wallison, AEI

10:50 AM

11:30 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Jackson Garner at [email protected], 202.862.5865.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Patrick Lawler is an adjunct fellow at AEI in the area of housing finance, with nearly three decades of experience focused on national housing finance markets and institutions. From 1994 to 2014, he was the chief economist at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and its successor, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, where he led the development of the credit risk transfer programs required of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He also oversaw both agencies’ research activities, and he served as a senior policy adviser on a wide variety of issues. Before that, he served six years as chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee, where he was the lead staffer on the legislation to create a safety and soundness regulator for the government-sponsored enterprises and contributed significantly to numerous banking laws. From 1983 to 1989, he was a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Board, specializing in financial markets and monetary policy, and he served in a similar capacity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, starting in 1975.

Norbert Michel is the director for the Center for Data Analysis for the Heritage Foundation. He studies and writes about financial markets and monetary policy, including the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Working in Heritage’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, he also focuses on the best way to address difficulties at large financial companies (the “too big to fail” problem). Before rejoining Heritage in 2013, Dr. Michel was a tenured professor at Nicholls State University’s College of Business, teaching finance, economics, and statistics. His earlier stint at Heritage was as a tax policy analyst in the think tank’s Center for Data Analysis from 2002 to 2005. He previously was with the global energy company Entergy, where he built a logistic regression model to help predict bankruptcies of commercial clients. Dr. Michel holds a doctoral degree in financial economics from the University of New Orleans. He received his bachelor of business administration degree in finance and economics from Loyola University.

Stephen D. Oliner is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Scholar at AEI and the codirector of AEI’s Center on Housing Markets and Finance. He is also a senior fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, Ziman Center for Real Estate. His active research agenda focuses on real estate issues and the growth potential of the US economy. He joined AEI in 2012 after spending more than 25 years at the Federal Reserve Board, where he held a variety of positions as a research economist and officer. Dr. Oliner has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia.

Tobias Peter is a research analyst at AEI, where he researches risk in housing and mortgage markets. Before AEI, he worked on global aging issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he was successively an intern, research assistant, and program coordinator. Mr. Peter is the coauthor of several policy studies, including “From Challenge to Opportunity: Wave 2 of the East Asia Retirement Survey” (2015); “U.S. Development Policy in an Aging World: New Challenges and New Priorities for a New Demographic Era” (2013); and “The Global Aging Preparedness Index, Second Edition” (2013). He holds a B.A. in history and applied economics from the College of St. Scholastica and a master in public policy degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Edward J. Pinto is the codirector of AEI’s Center on Housing Markets and Finance. Along with Stephen D. Oliner, he is the cocreator of AEI’s Mortgage Risk and Collateral Risk Indexes. He is also the cocreator of the Wealth Building Home Mortgage, a new approach to home finance designed to provide homebuyers — including low-income, minority, and first-time buyers — with a more reliable means of building wealth while maintaining buying power similar to that of a 30-year loan. Active in housing finance for 42 years, Mr. Pinto was an executive vice president and chief credit officer for Fannie Mae until the late 1980s, where he was responsible for single-family and multifamily credit policies.

Alex J. Pollock is a distinguished senior fellow at the R Street Institute. He was previously a resident fellow at AEI. Before joining AEI, he was president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago from 1991 to 2004. Mr. Pollock focuses on financial policy issues, including financial cycles, government-sponsored enterprises, housing finance, banking, central banking, uncertainty and risk, retirement finance, corporate governance, and political responses to financial crises. He is the author of “Boom and Bust: Financial Cycles and Human Prosperity” (AEI Press, 2010), as well as numerous articles and congressional testimonies. Mr. Pollock is a director of CME Group, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, and the Great Books Foundation, where he was chairman of the board from 2006 to 2014, and he is a former president of the International Union for Housing Finance.

Peter J. Wallison, a codirector of AEI’s program on financial policy studies, researches banking, insurance, and securities regulation. As general counsel of the US Treasury Department, he had a significant role in the development of the Reagan administration’s proposals for the deregulation of the financial services industry. He also served as White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan and is the author of “Hidden in Plain Sight” (2015), and “Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency” (Westview Press, 2002). His other books include “Competitive Equity: A Better Way to Organize Mutual Funds” (2007); “Privatizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks” (2004); “The GAAP Gap: Corporate Disclosure in the Internet Age” (2000); and “Optional Federal Chartering and Regulation of Insurance Companies” (2000).










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