That’s right the government sponsored mortgage entities are looking to borrow more money from the tax payers of America. Only hours after being downgraded by standard and Poors on Monday, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would need to ask for a $1.5 billion injection to help balance their books. I am not surprised at the fact that these two businesses (I use that word loosely) can not pay their obligations to the debt holders, the American tax payer. To add insult to injury, they want to take more from the same people who have been keeping them afloat for the last three years.
Both of these companies have been poorly run and not regulated properly for the past 10-15 years. It’s only in the last three years that all the dirt is being revealed. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd started the ball rolling in 1995 drafting a bill, The Fair Housing Act, later signed by president Clinton. The bill was meant to help lower income families to get a mortgage to buy a home. Unfortunately, the politics of Washington strong-armed the mortgage industry into approving just about anyone who wanted a mortgage, even if they couldn’t even afford the down payment and/or the monthly payments. Of course many of the issues didn’t really kick into high gear until years later when more and more people started to realize how easy it was to get a home without any money down and with low interest rates (for the first 2-3 years). Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) started to pop-up throughout the United States. All of these factors added to the entire housing market collapse as well as the financial situation with both Fannie and Freddie.
In the last three years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received over $170 billion and they are no where near getting their heads above water. There is so much leverage within the financial/housing market that it will takes years to correct. Because of that reason, the federal government can not just close the doors on Fannie and Freddie. It would cause major declines in the housing market throughout the country as well as causing the interest rates to skyrocket out of control.
Plans have to be made to start transferring the assets of these two government subsidized programs to the private sector. It’s not something that can be done immediately, it will take 5-7 years to do so, but the idea is to start now so in a few short years America’s housing market will be stable again and more in line to how the mortgage industry needs to be operated.
With private companies running the show, stricter rules will be in place to manage the mortgages as the qualification to getting one. Owning a home should be looked at as a benchmark of a person/family’s success, not as a right to own one because you exist. When the federal government is involved, it becomes more of a political tool to help get a candidate or a particular party into office. Washington has never operated as a business and I doubt they would know how to in the first place.