One of the pillars of President Obama’s plan to turn around the housing market is to allow current homeowners, who are neither late on their mortgage or having trouble paying their mortgage, to refinance into a lower rate if their loan is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
All sounds good and well, and was touted by the administration as a plan that would help millions of homeowners at no cost to the taxpayer. However, with Fannie Mae’s recent SEC filings, the true cost of Obama’s plans is starting to show up, and in a way that could potentially cost the taxpayers billions more.
Highlighted in a recent Bloomberg story, Fannie Mae is requesting an additional $19 billion in aid from the Treasury in order to restore its solvency. One of the reasons why Fannie needs additional cash is the cost of “Future activities that our regulators, other U.S. government agencies or Congress may request or require us to take to support the mortgage market and help borrowers may contribute to further deterioration in our results of operations and financial condition,” as stated by Fannie Mae in its SEC filing.
Freddie Mac has also reported that the impact of the president’s foreclosure plan may amount to some $30 billion in losses from the reduction in value of mortgage-backed securities held by Freddie. Given Fannie’s substantial portfolio holdings of similar assets, it is likely that Fannie’s loss from the Obama plan will also top $30 billion.
It would be bad enough if these losses were simply borne by Fannie and Freddie. But given the continued injection of taxpayer dollars into the two GSEs, it is clear that most of those losses will be passed along to the taxpayer. So next time you’re refinancing your Fannie- or Freddie-held mortgage, remember to put aside some of that savings to cover the inevitable tax bill that will be coming to cover it.