Screech! Making a U-Turn on Housing Finance

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Fannie Mae Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Mel Watt is the new director of the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-run mortgage financing giants that guarantee about two-thirds of all U.S. home loans. At his first public speech this week, he reversed the policies of his predecessor: Instead of shrinking Fannie and Freddie, Watt wants the companies to continue playing a major role in the housing market, including policy changes that could make it easier to get a mortgage. This week on Money Talking, Joe Nocera of the New York Times and Cardiff Garcia of the Financial Times discuss what this means for the housing market, the economy and getting a mortgage.