Whatever the fix, the money spent will not be recovered, said Alex Pollock, a former president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago who is now a fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute. “It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, Fannie and Freddie will cost a lot of money,” Pollock said. “The money is already lost. There’s an attempt to try to avert your eyes.”
Quoting Sen. Gregg, here is the herd of elephants in the room, (no mention of these two in the Dodd financial reform bill):
June 14 (Bloomberg) — The cost of fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies that last year bought or guaranteed three-quarters of all U.S. home loans, will be at least $160 billion and could grow to as much as $1 trillion after the biggest bailout in American history.
Fannie and Freddie, now 80 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers, already have drawn $145 billion from an unlimited line of government credit granted to ensure that home buyers can get loans while the private housing-finance industry is moribund. That surpasses the amount spent on rescues of American International Group Inc., General Motors Co. or Citigroup Inc., which have begun repaying their debts.
“It is the mother of all bailouts,” said Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, who is now a consultant to the mortgage-finance industry.
Fannie, based in Washington, and Freddie in McLean, Virginia, own or guarantee 53 percent of the nation’s $10.7 trillion in residential mortgages, according to a June 10 Federal Reserve report. Millions of bad loans issued during the housing bubble remain on their books, and delinquencies continue to rise. How deep in the hole Fannie and Freddie go depends on unemployment, interest rates and other drivers of home prices, according to the companies and economists who study them.
The Congressional Budget Office calculated in August 2009 that the companies would need $389 billion in federal subsidies through 2019, based on assumptions about delinquency rates of loans in their securities pools. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget estimated in February that aid could total as little as $160 billion if the economy strengthens.
If housing prices drop further, the companies may need more. Barclays Capital Inc. analysts put the price tag as high as $500 billion in a December report on mortgage-backed securities, assuming home prices decline another 20 percent and default rates triple.
If the plan works and foreclosures fall, that could help stabilize Fannie’s and Freddie’s balance sheets and ultimately protect taxpayers.
“Avoiding foreclosures can be a route to reducing loss severity,” said Sarah Rosen Wartell, executive vice president of the Center for American Progress, a Washington research group with ties to the Obama administration.
Loans issued since 2008, when the companies raised standards for borrowers, should be profitable and help offset prior losses, Wartell said.
Republicans attempted to include a phase-out of the mortgage companies in the financial reform bill. Democratic lawmakers and the Obama administration opted for further study, and the Treasury began soliciting ideas in April.
Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican and co-sponsor of the phase-out amendment, said eliminating Fannie and Freddie would force the government and the housing market to confront the issue.
“It’s somewhat impossible to predict the magnitude of their impact if they continue to be the primary source of lending,” Garrett said in an interview.
The boys from ThinkBigWorkSmall have their own take on this cf; video here.
…and the failure to take on Freddie and Fannie is almost malfeasance of a criminal level by the Congress, I mean the fact that we would leave on the table, well it’s like having a room, not having an elephant in it, but having the entire herd in it and saying the herd doesn’t exist.
…because this is not about lending for the purposes of having strong credit and good credit going out, it’s about lending to accomplish social justice purpose. That’s what the consumer agency is all about. This is a massive expansion on the agenda of the left in the area of domestic industrial policy.