Watt delays fee increase for Fannie, Freddie

The new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is already making an impact, as former Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) followed through Wednesday on his plan to delay an increase on fees charged by housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The FHFA, which regulates the government-sponsored enterprises, announced that it was halting a previously planned increase to the fee the institutions charge to guarantee mortgages. Watt had previously said he expected to stop that increase.

In a statement, Watt said he decided to halt the hike because he wanted to review the decision and how it might affect the availability of mortgage credit. A fee increase could drive up the costs of obtaining a mortgage.

“I want to fully understand these implications before deciding whether to move forward with any adjustments to g-fee pricing,” he said.

Watt was sworn in as FHFA director Monday, after being confirmed by the Senate in December.