AFP
March 23, 2010

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday swatted aside pressure for a swift reform of troubled government-backed mortgage giants as data pointed to a still struggling real estate market.

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Geithner told Congress any restructuring of lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which received a 100-billion-dollar-plus government bailout at the height of the housing crisis, “must be done as part of a reform of the wider housing finance system.”

Facing pressure from Republicans for a quick unwinding of government’s role in the market, Geithner argued reforms would “take several months” to develop and should only be “enacted and executed at a time of greater market stability.”

“Private capital has not yet returned to provide the amount of funding that would be needed to allow families to get a mortgage to buy a new home or to sensibly refinance the house they already live in,” he said.

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