This week the House Financial Services Committee will focus on all the mechanisms that support the nation’s mortgage market, including the Federal Housing Administration, Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Banks, and private lenders and securitizers.

While on one hand the Obama Administration has said it will delay for a year any proposal on the GSEs, Tuesday’s hearing will be seen as the first step in a legislative process to determine the future of housing finance system and the federal government’s role in it.

One of Washington’s most respected voices in housing policy says that the Congress should focus its reform on several things, including continued liquidity and stability for long-term, fixed-rate, sustainable mortgages and affordable rental homes. Barry Zigas is director of housing policy at the Consumer Federation of America. He’s been a long-time, close advisor to Chairman Barney Frank’s committee as well as to the Administration officials who are responsible for crafting new housing policies.

In his most recent blog post, Zigas spells out the five questions he will be listening for tomorrow when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others testify before Frank and his congressional colleagues about the future of the housing finance system:

  1. Will it support the availability of long-term, fixed rate mortgages for consumers?
  2. Will it offer access to capital by as wide a variety of institutions as possible, from small community banks and credit unions to large money center institutions?
  3. Will it foster and spread innovation in mortgage products to insure that helpful and sound new products can be made available widely in the marketplace?
  4. Will it fulfill a significant duty to serve under-served populations and communities?
  5. Will it provide financing both for affordable single family homeownership and rental housing?