Well, it now looks like the cat is out of the bag, as former St. Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole said Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are insolvent and that the government might need to step in to rescue the struggling lenders.
“Congress ought to recognize that these firms are insolvent, that it is allowing these firms to continue to exist as bastions of privilege, financed by the taxpayer,” Poole said Wednesday.
In other words, he believes they're virtually bankrupt!
Fannie, Freddie Tumble on Bailout Concern
July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two biggest providers of financing for U.S. home loans, fell to the lowest levels in 17 years in New York trading after a former Federal Reserve president said the companies may need a government rescue.
Fannie Mae tumbled as much as 24 percent and Freddie Mac slumped as much as 34 percent in New York Stock Exchange composite trading after UBS AG analysts said in a report today that Freddie Mac's decline creates ``challenges'' for the company's plan to raise $5.5 billion
Chances are increasing that the U.S. will bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they don't have enough capital to weather the worst housing slump since the Great Depression, former St. Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole said in an interview. Freddie Mac owed $5.2 billion more than its assets were worth in the first quarter, making it insolvent under fair value accounting rules. The fair value of Fannie Mae assets fell 66 percent to $12.2 billion, data provided by the Washington- based company show, and may be negative next quarter, Poole said.
The companies, created to boost homeownership and promote market stability, own or guarantee about half the $12 trillion in U.S. home loans outstanding. In addition to those obligations, Fannie Mae has $831 billion in company bonds outstanding, while Freddie Mac has $644 billion, according to Bloomberg data.
Congress created Freddie Mac and expanded Fannie Mae in 1970 to promote home buying in the U.S. The companies' charters give the Treasury the authority to buy as much as $2.25 billion in each of their securities in the event of possible default.
The government will likely be forced to take over the companies because of the mortgage meltdown, Poole said.
``We know in a crisis the Federal Reserve tap would be open,'' said Poole, now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
The bailout of Bear Stearns Cos. by JPMorgan Chase & Co., arranged by the Fed, demonstrates the government's unwillingness to allow ``large, systemically important'' financial institutions to fail, he said. Bear Stearns collapsed after customers fled amid speculation the company faced a cash shortage.
``I worry about those institutions,'' retired Richmond Fed President Alfred Broaddus said. ``They are huge. They dwarf the Bear Stearns issue. In the very worst case scenario, I don't know how you do it other than extend money and the public takes the loss.''
This is huge folks! If Fannie and Freddy were allowed to fail (won't be allowed), we would quickly fall into an ECONOMIC DEPRESSION (i.e. lack of new home loan credit = lack of new money circulating, destruction of debt/bond/equity markets, a complete lack of home sales/swiftly building inventories, MANY times more home loan defaults than expected and an ABSOLUTE COLLAPSE IN HOME PRICES -- compounding several times over the current banking/financial system crisis and significant economic pains that we are now experiencing).
If the GVT indeed does bail them out (likely) expect a HYPERINFLATIONARY Spiral -- followed by a depression anyway. We're talking TRILLIONS of new dollars quickly added to a bloated fiat system that is already creating new money at a near 20% annual rate -- adding explosive fuel to a raging forest fire and increasing the velocity of US Dollar decline and ultimately Dollar hegemony collapse.
Once again, the Plunge Protection Team and Gvt are stuck between a rock and a hard-place, and the days of easy fixes have long since past... We should have taken our harsh medicine after the Dot.com crash, but the Maestro (Greenspan) wanted to leave his chair on a high note. Though honored, knighted and revered around the globe, Alan Greenspan (when history is written/analyzed) will likely go down as one of the WORST Fed Chairman EVER! I hope he can sleep well at night, knowing what he hath wrought.
As an aside: for those who don't understand the word hegemony (used above), I highly suggest you read a superb Ron Paul article written back in 2006: The End of Dollar Hegemony
All the best