Two weeks ago we reported in Geithner To DeMarco: "I Do Not Believe [Un-Socialism] Is The Best Decision For The Country" that TurboTax Tim did not take lightly to FHFA head Ed DeMarco's snubbing of the worst treasury secretary ever, when DeMarco refused to comply with Tim Geithner's "proposal" for mortgage principal reduction in effect forcing responsible taxpayers to bail out irresponsible ones. Lots of media posturing and free-market bashing ensued. Today, Tim has once again taken the offensive, and is announcing plans that the Treasury is accelerating the winddown of its backing of Fannie and Freddie and that going forward instead of a 10% dividend, the Treasury will be entitled to a "full income sweep" of the GSEs on behalf of the US Treasury. One can only hope that the loan loss reserve reduction which was the sole source of Fannie and Freddie "profit" (see Bank of America) will continue. And since it won't, it is once again Tim Geithner who ends up with the short end of the stick in his idiotic attempt to escalate a matter which is far beyond his meager comprehension skills. And here is the kicker: "The agreements require an accelerated reduction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s investment portfolios. Those portfolios will now be wound down at an annual rate of 15 percent – an increase from the 10 percent annual reduction required in the previous agreements. As a result of this change, the GSEs’ investment portfolios must be reduced to the $250 billion target set in the previous agreements four years earlier than previously scheduled." Oops MBS market, unless of course there is someone who will miraculous step up and buy the "excess investment portfolio"... who could that be... who could that be? Ah yes: Giethner just greenlighted the MBS purchases (sorry MBS twist - no cookie for you) portfion of QE3. And finally, following today's unambiguous renationalization of the GSEs, does this mean that US debt is now $16+6 trillion or over $22 trillion courtesy of the GSEs which are now on the US balance sheet?
The U.S. Treasury Department today announced plans to accelerate its winddown of its backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Treasury amended its terms as conservator of the government-sponsored-enterprises. Treasury said the plan also includes a “full income sweep” for Fannie and Freddie.
The GSEs have been under conservatorship since 2008. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported second quarter profits earlier this month.
Republicans in Congress have called for an end to the two taxpayer-owned companies, which now own or guarantee about 60 percent of U.S. home loans. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said he will propose a plan to overhaul housing finance that could include dismantling or altering Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac.
From the official statement:
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced a set of modifications to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) between the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Government Sponsored Enterprises or GSEs) that will help expedite the wind down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, make sure that every dollar of earnings each firm generates is used to benefit taxpayers, and support the continued flow of mortgage credit during a responsible transition to a reformed housing finance market.
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This means that the offloading of GSE inventory has just increased by 50%. Goodbye housing market.
But more importantly, today's news brings up an interesting question: with the Treasury in effect announcing it is the beneficiary of the entire Fannie and Freddie's Income Statement, does that mean the Treasury is also on the hook for their $6+ trillion in debt?
Inquiring minds want to know.