Crony Socialism Strikes Back: Geithner Retaliates Against DeMarco; Accelerates Wind Down Of GSE Treasury Backing

Tyler Durden's picture

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?

From Bloomberg:

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.

With today’s announcement, we are taking the next step toward responsibly winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while continuing to support the necessary process of repair and recovery in the housing market,” said Michael Stegman, Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for Housing Finance Policy.  “As we continue to work toward bi-partisan housing finance reform, we are committed to putting in place measures right now that support continued access to mortgage credit for American families, promote a responsible transition, and protect taxpayer interests.”
 
The modifications to the PSPAs announced today are consistent with FHFA’s strategic plan for the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that it released in February 2012. The modifications include the following key components:
 
Accelerated Wind Down of the Retained Mortgage Investment Portfolios at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
 
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.
 
Annual Taxpayer Protection Plan
To support a thoughtfully managed wind down, the agreements require that on an annual basis, each GSE will – under the direction of their conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency – submit a plan to Treasury on its actions to reduce taxpayer exposure to mortgage credit risk for both its guarantee book of business and retained investment portfolio.
 
Full Income Sweep of All Future Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Earnings to Benefit Taxpayers for Their Investment
 
The agreements will replace the 10 percent dividend payments made to Treasury on its preferred stock investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a quarterly sweep of every dollar of profit that each firm earns going forward.
 
This will help achieve several important objectives, including:
·        Making sure that every dollar of earnings that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac generate will be used to benefit taxpayers for their investment in those firms.
·        Ending the circular practice of the Treasury advancing funds to the GSEs simply to pay dividends back to Treasury.
·        Acting upon the commitment made in the Administration’s 2011 White Paper that the GSEs will be wound down and will not be allowed to retain profits, rebuild capital, and return to the market in their prior form.
·        Supporting the continued flow of mortgage credit by providing borrowers, market participants, and taxpayers with additional confidence in the ability of the GSEs to meet their commitments while operating under conservatorship.
·        Providing greater market certainty regarding the financial strength of the GSEs.

 

* * *

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.