Margaret's Feed
Apr 14, 2014

Housing industry asks $5 trillion question: what does Watt want?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. housing industry has waited three months to find out how Mel Watt will govern taxpayer-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and have been frustrated by his silence.

The former 11-term congressman from North Carolina, who took over the agency that oversees the two enterprises in January, has not delivered an annual strategic plan, which would usually be public by now.

Apr 9, 2014

Fannie, Freddie shareholders lobby against U.S. housing reform bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A coalition of investors in Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday launched an effort to stop Congress from moving ahead with a U.S. housing finance reform bill, arguing it would deny them a fair share in any remaining value in the two companies.

The new tax-exempt group, Investors Unite, said it wants to protect the rights of shareholders in the bailed-out mortgage finance companies. It is holding meetings in Washington and sending dozens of investors to Capitol Hill to promote its cause.

Apr 3, 2014

Former U.S. regulator says Fannie, Freddie investors stand to lose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – James Lockhart, a former regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who is now with private equity firm WL Ross & Co, on Thursday said investors are making “worthless” bets snapping up the stock of the two mortgage finance firms.

As the U.S. Congress debates what to do with the taxpayer-owned companies, some hedge funds have invested aggressively over the past year in Fannie and Freddie, which have returned to profitability after a government rescue in 2008. These investors hope to profit if legislative efforts stall and the government ends up selling its controlling stake.

Mar 26, 2014

Bank of America to pay $9.3 billion to settle mortgage bond claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bank of America agreed to pay $9.3 billion to settle claims that it sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac faulty mortgage bonds, helping the bank to end one of the largest legal headaches it still faced from the financial crisis.

The settlement, announced on Wednesday, includes $6.3 billion in cash and $3.2 billion in securities that Bank of America will purchase from the two housing finance entities.

Mar 24, 2014

U.S. housing regulator says former chief DeMarco to leave in April

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Edward DeMarco, former acting director of the housing regulator that oversees Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said on Monday he would leave the agency at the end of April.

DeMarco led the Federal Housing Finance Agency in an acting capacity from 2009 until January, when Mel Watt, an Obama administration appointee and former North Carolina congressman, was sworn in as director.

Mar 21, 2014

U.S. housing bill would cut mortgage access for minorities, groups warn

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – A Senate proposal to
overhaul the U.S. housing finance system would make mortgages
more expensive and less available, especially in minority
communities, a coalition of consumer advocates and civil rights
groups warned on Friday.

A draft bill to wind down government-run mortgage financiers
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released earlier
this month by the leaders of Senate Banking Committee, would
replace the companies with a new industry-financed agency. The
agency would provide a government backstop for mortgages, but
only after private creditors shouldered 10 percent of any
losses.

Mar 20, 2014

Rising prices, harsh winter may dampen U.S. home sales in spring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Emily Hanson would like to buy a house, but she worries that she and her husband may have to move across the country to achieve their goal.

In December, Emily, a 30-year-old student, and Nels Hanson, a 33-year-old software developer, began searching in Boston, where a shortage of homes for sale has driven up prices.

Mar 20, 2014

Analysis: Rising prices, harsh winter may dampen U.S. home sales in spring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Emily Hanson would like to buy a house, but she worries that she and her husband may have to move across the country to achieve their goal.

In December, Emily, a 30-year-old student, and Nels Hanson, a 33-year-old software developer, began searching in Boston, where a shortage of homes for sale has driven up prices.

Mar 16, 2014

Fannie, Freddie bill leaves status of private shareholders to courts

WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) – A draft bill to wind down
government-run mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac, released by two leading senators on
Sunday, would leave a decision on how to treat their private
shareholders to the courts.

The 442-page draft measure from the Democratic chairman of
the Senate Banking Committee and the panel’s top Republican
would keep in place current terms of the government’s bailout of
the two companies that require them to sweep all their profits
into the U.S. Treasury.

Mar 11, 2014

Senate banking leaders reach deal on Fannie, Freddie bill outline

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) – The leaders of the U.S.
Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday outlined plans for
legislation to wind down government-owned mortgage financiers
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that they said
would continue to provide access to long-term, fixed-rate
mortgages.

Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, a Democrat, and Senator Mike
Crapo, the panel’s top Republican, announced the agreement after
working for months to bridge a partisan divide with the hope of
moving legislation this year. They said they were putting
finishing touches on a draft bill they planned to release “in
the coming days.”