Freddie and Fannie Say They Need More Money, Won't Repay Taxpayers Soon

ABC's Matthew Jaffe reports:

Government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will likely need more federal aid and will not be able to repay nearly $100 billion in taxpayer funds anytime soon, their regulator told Congress Thursday.

Edward DeMarco, the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said the mortgage giants face a “troubled” short-term future and will “likely require additional draws” on a senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury.

The FHFA was created in 2008 to serve as Fannie and Freddie’s regulator and conservator. To date, the two government-sponsored enterprises have drawn $96 billion from the Treasury program.

At a hearing this morning of the Senate Banking committee, DeMarco was asked if taxpayers will recoup the money provided to the mortgage giants.

“I don’t envision any way in the near term for that money to get paid back,” DeMarco told lawmakers.

Combined, Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee over half of all mortgages in this country, but they have been hit hard by the financial crisis. In the last two years, the mortgage giants have suffered from a combined $165 billion in losses as defaults have added up. According to DeMarco’s prepared remarks, Fannie and Freddie are now dealing with seriously delinquent mortgage rates of 4.2 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

“It is troubling to me that they’re continuing to rise,” DeMarco told the panel at the hearing, noting that rising unemployment – currently at a 26-year high of 9.8 percent – has seriously influenced the increase in nationwide delinquency rates.

As part of the hearing’s second panel, William Shear of the Government Accountability Office said the government needs to “reevaluate the enterprises’ roles, structures, and business activities in mortgage finance”. The administration has said it will release a proposal to restructure the mortgage giants when it unveils the 2011 budget in February.

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