OK, so some people are still paying attention to Fannie and Freddie
. The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a set of modifications 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 preferred stock purchase agreements (PSPAs) between the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie 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:
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s investment 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.
- The agreements require that on an annual basis, each GSE will, under the direction FHFA, submit a plan to the Treasury on its actions to reduce taxpayer exposure to mortgage credit risk for both its guarantee book of business and retained investment portfolio.
- The agreements will replace the 10 percent dividend payments made to the 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.
The Treasury believes these modifications will help make sure every dollar of earnings that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac generate will be used to benefit taxpayers for their investment in those firms. Also, it is hoped they will end the practice of the Treasury advancing funds to the GSEs simply to pay dividends back to Treasury and provide greater financial certainty.