Just when I was able to cite “OFHEO” and Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (who comes up with these names?) from memory, along comes a new agency created from the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 recently passed into law.
FHFA: Federal Housing Finance Agency. No web site yet – I tried www.fhfa.gov
It has to compete with a bunch of others organizations that use the same acronym:
FHFA Fairfax Hispanic Firefighters Association (Virginia)
FHFA Fairly Homogeneous Farming Area
FHFA Family Health Foundation of America
FHFA Federal Housing Finance Agency
FHFA Florida Health Freedom Action (South Miami, FL)
FHFA Florida Home Furnishings Association
FHFA Florida Housing Finance Agency
FHFA Foot Health Foundation of America
I am hopeful the new agency will be better suited to provide better oversight than OFHEO did. OFHEO was essentially a rubber stamp for the GSEs until a few years ago when the FNMA accounting scandal woke it up. A new director took the reigns at OFHEO, James Lockhart, who seems to be doing all the right things (and one heck of a lot of press releases).
From the latest press release, it looks like the current director of OFHEO had a big hand in creating the new agency, FHFA. Since Lockhart has been pretty coherent, I’ll try to consider this as a good thing.
No web site, no information on the structure. Nothing but a press release so far. We’ll have to wait. Of course, credit and liquidity are very limited and need to be fixed before housing takes a turn for the positive, so I hope its not too long.
Takeaway: Odds are government will move too slow to provide meaningful solutions to the credit crunch in a world that moves much faster. In fact, the lack of action over the past several years set the stage for the condition we are currently in so I am not sure what we are waiting for.
By the way, freecreditreport.com …isn’t.
Except for concluding that the GSEs have been neither transparent or accountable due to their leadership, I actually don’t understand why OFHEO or any other regulatory charged with watching the money shufflers didn’t function. SO forgive me for not understanding how this FHFA will work any differently. Following the Katrina debacle, I do have a sneaking suspicion that the watchdogs may not be adequately staffed or funded to do their jobs. I’ve heard that is justified through some economic notion that a free market works more efficiently than one that is regulated. Surely that theory ignores the fact that there are those in the market that will bankrupt everybody else to get their piece of the pie. I guess it remains to be seen if the promise of this new agency will be fulfilled. Anybody have a flow chart of this stuff?
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