Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just might be shuttered, and this time it looks like it’s more than just noise. Today in Phoenix, President Obama announced his plans to privatize these two government agencies as soon as able,Adios Fannie and Freddie? with a goal of five years.

We’ve heard something along those lines occasionally over the years as far back as the mid 1990’s, a time both were operating as government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.

Fannie Mae, created in 1938 and Freddie Mac in 1970 were both formed with one primary goal: to foster home ownership. Their role is a big one and provides much needed liquidity in the mortgage market. As banks and mortgage companies issue loans using underwriting guidelines established by Fannie and Freddie, lenders have the option of keeping their loans or selling them. Once a loan is sold, the lender replenishes its capital to make even more loans. So why shut them down?

Fannie and Freddie both operated independently and not run by the federal government. Yet in the middle of the housing crisis, they received a taxpayer-funded bailout in 2008 to the tune of $187 billion in order to keep them afloat. The federal government then nationalized the agencies and now operates under the wing of the United States. Shutting them down, or privatizing them, shelters the taxpayers from any further bailouts should they get themselves in trouble again. “Getting in trouble” means buying low-quality, subprime loans from lenders. A practice that many say started the massive wave of foreclosures that led to the Great Recession. By privatizing, individual investors will finance the entities risking their own funds, and not those of the investor.

It could be just a lot of noise but this time around the notion has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and coupled with President Obama’s announcement today, it looks like this idea has legs. Is it a good idea? We’ll see, there will certainly be some nervous investors out there and there will need to be some sort of replacement that provides the sort of liquidity lenders need in order to make loans to real estate investors and home buyers of all stripes. It won’t happen overnight, but it looks like it will.