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What About Fannie & Freddie?

May 3, 2016

By Clark Packard

While the remaining White House hopefuls have discussed the intimate details of many policies and proposals, none have seriously addressed the future of housing finance reform. Given the significant size and scope of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the two Government-sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and their hyper leveraged, undiversified business models, presidential candidates owe it to the American people to provide detailed plans for housing finance and the role of government in the system.

To recap, when the housing and mortgage markets collapsed during the financial crisis of 2008, taxpayers provided $188 billion in equity to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in exchange for senior preferred shares in each institution. The GSEs were placed into government conservatorship where they have remained in limbo for nearly eight years. Initially the shares guaranteed a 10% annual dividend in order to pay back taxpayers for the bailout.

In 2012, the Obama administration changed this arrangement unilaterally–essentially sweeping all the quarterly profits from Fannie and Freddie into Treasury’s general fund. Treasury justified the change as necessary to protect American taxpayers given the GSEs’ “dire” financial position at the time. But recently unsealed documents in the GSE litigation severely damage the government’s claim about the financial position of Fannie at the time Treasury announced those profit sweeps.

Read the full article at Forbes.com: What About Fannie & Freddie?

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