Roundtable Weekly
Trump Administration Allows Fannie, Freddie to Retain Earnings in Move Toward Privatization
October 5, 2019

Fanne Mae and Freddie Mac logos

The Trump Administration took a key step on Sept. 30 to release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship by allowing them to retain a total of $45 billion in earnings annually. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 30)

  • Fannie and Freddie received $191 billion in government support during the financial crisis, but since entering conservatorship Sept. 6, 2008, they have paid the Treasury $292 billion in dividends, according to research from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. (Reuters, March 27)

  • Under their modified governing agreements, Fannie Mae will now be allowed to retain $25 billion and Freddie Mac $20 billion annually (Bloomberg, Sept. 30)

  • The Treasury Department and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) jointly announced the modifications to the Government-Sponsored Enterprises’ (GSEs) Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) – designed in the wake of the financial crisis to ensure Fannie and Freddie maintain positive net worth, meet outstanding obligations and continue providing liquidity to the multi-trillion dollar mortgage market.  (Fannie Mae Capital Agreement and Freddie Mac Capital Agreement)

  • “These modifications are an important step toward implementing Treasury’s recommended reforms that will define a limited role for the Federal Government in the housing finance system and protect taxpayers against future bailouts,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. (Treasury news release, Sept. 30)

  • FHFA Director Mark Calabria – Fannie and Freddie’s chief regulator – stated, “FHFA commits to working with Treasury in the coming months to amend the share agreements and further advance broader housing finance reform. These reform goals include limiting the government’s role in housing finance, increasing marketplace competition, focusing on affordable housing, and sustainable homeownership. The status quo is not an option. Now is the time to act.”

  • The Washington Post reported on Oct. 2 that Fannie, Freddie, and the Federal Housing Administration guarantee 33 percent more debt than before the housing crisis,  more than at any other point in U.S. history.

  • In Congress, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) on Feb. 1 released an outline for reforming the nation's housing finance system, including the GSEs (Crapo Statement and Housing Reform Outline, Feb. 1).  At the end of March, Crapo’s committee held two days of hearings on reforming the multi-trillion dollar housing finance markets.  (Roundtable Weekly, March 29)

The Real Estate Roundtable and 27 industry organizations on March 1 submitted principles for reforming the GSEs.  The letter emphasized that compelling evidence must show the private market is capable of an expanded role before efforts are made to reduce the GSEs' current housing finance footprint. "Ultimately, we believe any reform, be it administrative or legislative, must seek to further two key objectives: 1) preserving what works in the current system, while 2) maintaining stability by avoiding unintended adverse consequences for borrowers, lenders, investors, or taxpayers."  (Roundtable Weekly, March 1)

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