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Geithner outlines key points for financial reforms in 2012

(Xinhua)

16:02, February 03, 2012

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks during a press conference in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Feb. 2, 2012. Geithner said Thursday U.S. financial system has been strengthened through reforms but warned that gains would erode if efforts eased. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday U.S. financial system has been strengthened through reforms ,but warned that gains would erode if efforts eased.

"This is a critical year for financial reform," Geithner said in a briefing with reporters. He said the financial system is getting stronger and safer but a lot more need to be done for the year ahead.

In 2012, the Treasury Department expects to put in key elements of the new framework of safeguards for the financial system and at the same time make progress on reforms of the housing finance system.

The Treasury Secretary said his agency would set new rules on capital and liquidity of banks, continue reform on the derivatives markets, set rules against risk outside the banking system, and expand availability of credit to small businesses.

Geithner also pledged to lay out more details about reform in the housing finance system. In his view, the immediate obligation is to "repair the damage to homeowners, the housing market, and the neighborhoods caused by the crisis."

"In our white paper released last February, we outlined a broad strategy with several options for reforming the housing finance system. We expect to lay out more detail around approaches to reform in the spring," Geithner said.

In order to create a more sustainable housing finance system, they would wind down the Government Sponsored Enterprises, like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and bring private capital back into the market, reducing the government's direct role in the housing market.

His remarks on housing finance market came a day after U.S. President Obama laid out a detailed plan to help homeowners refinance and support a housing market recovery.

"No financial system is invulnerable to crisis, and we still have a lot of unfinished business on the path of reform," Geithner noted.

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