Fannie Mae going after banks that sold it crap mortgages.
Stuck with about $300 billion in loans to borrowers at least 90 days behind on payments, Fannie and Freddie have unleashed armies of auditors and other employees to sift through mortgage files for proof of underwriting flaws. The two mortgage-finance companies are flexing their muscles to force banks to repurchase loans found to contain improper documentation about a borrower’s income or outright lies.
The result: Freddie Mac required lenders to buy back $2.7 billion of loans in the first nine months of 2009, a 125% jump from $1.2 billion a year earlier. Fannie Mae won’t disclose its figure, but trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance said Fannie made $4.3 billion in loan-repurchase requests in the first nine months of 2009.
“Because taxpayers are involved, we’re being very vigilant,” said Maria Brewster, who oversees Fannie’s repurchase team. “No taxpayer should have to pay for a business decision that caused a bad loan to be sold to Fannie Mae.”
That’s all very nice, but I hope we’re going to see more than 3% of our money returned.
And in cash, because the execs don’t want to be paid in their crappy stock. We should just take these companies over and … oh, wait, we already own them. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Ours, all ours.
New York Times: Four big lenders including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain on life support. Swimming in debt and taking on more.
These companies, the American International Group, Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac and GMAC, are not only unable to repay the government, they are in need of continuing infusions that make them look increasingly like long-term wards of the state.
And the total risk they pose to the taxpayer far exceeds that of the big banks. Fannie and Freddie, in the final days of the year, are even said to be negotiating with the Treasuryabout greatly expanding the money available to them.
Though the four are not in all the same businesses, they were caught in one of the same traps: They sold mortgage guarantees — in some cases to each other. Now when homeowners default, as they are doing in record numbers, these companies are covering the losses. Essentially, taxpayer money to these companies is being used partly to protect banks and other investors who own the mortgages.
Like the big banks, these four companies would no doubt prefer to be free of government assistance, which comes with pay and other restrictions on their executives. But they appear at risk of getting onto a debt merry-go-round, where they have to draw new money from the government just to keep up with their existing government debts.
Fannie Mae recently warned, for example, that it could not pay the dividends it owes the Treasury, so “future dividend payments will be effectively funded with equity drawn from the Treasury.”
Fannie Mae will loosen credit requirements for home mortgages. No, that’s not from a five-year-old paper, that’s today’s Bloomberg news.
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) — Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company under U.S. government control, will loosen rules for homeowners seeking to lower their loan payments by refinancing.
Fannie Mae will drop some credit-score requirements, reduce income-documentation standards and waive the need for appraisals in some cases, according to a notice yesterday to lenders posted on the Washington-based company’s Web site. The changes apply to loans that the company owns or guarantees.
The company, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the $12 trillion in U.S. residential mortgage debt, is seeking to break a “logjam” in refinancing and allow more homeowners to take advantage of near-record low interest rates, according toBrian Faith, a Fannie Mae spokesman. The increased flexibility for consumers isn’t large enough to significantly harm mortgage- bond investors and mortgage insurers, analysts said.
Heck, it worked so well before, why not try it again? Politics, for a change!