Fannie Mae wants to return $21 billion in defective mortgages to their originating banks this year. Nothing wrong with that in theory but in practice, there’s a difficulty:
The government’s efforts might be counterproductive, since the Treasury and Federal Reserve are trying to help banks heal, FBR’s Miller said. The banks have to buy back the loans at par, and then take an impairment, because borrowers usually have stopped paying and the price of the underlying home has plunged. JPMorgan said in a presentation last month that it loses about 50 cents on the dollar for every loan it has to buy back.
Striking a Balance
“It’s a fine line you’re walking, because the government’s trying to recapitalize the banks, not put them in bankruptcy, and then here’s Fannie and Freddie putting more pressure on the banks through these buybacks,” FBR’s Miller said. “If it becomes too big of an issue, the banks are going to complain to Congress, and they’re going to stop it.”