Even a human rights trial in The Hague moves faster than this. On August 17, the Treasury Department held a conference to discuss GSE reform. The conference was scheduled in response to a deadline of January 2011, imposed by the Dodd-Frank law, for Treasury to come up with a plan for overhauling housing finance.

Whatever the eventual outcome, Secretary Geithner put down a marker in the August 17 meeting. In his opening remarks, he made clear that the GSEs will not remain unchanged, if he has anything to say about it: “We will not support returning Fannie and Freddie to the role they played before conservatorship, where they fought to take market share from private competitors while enjoying the privilege of government support.”  

According to press reports, participants appeared to support the development of a public insurance fund, similar to the FDIC, to cover catastrophic losses on mortgagebacked securities.