Saturday, May 07, 2011

US Housing Crisis Continues: Another Bailout for Fannie Mae at $8.5 Billion?

Fannie Mae Seeks $8.5 Billion in U.S. Aid After Reporting Loss

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company operating under U.S. conservatorship, will seek $8.5 billion in Treasury Department aid to balance its books after reporting a $6.5 billion loss in the first quarter.

Fannie Mae is requesting the money to eliminate a net worth deficit of $8.4 billion for the three-month period that ended March 31, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today. The $6.5 billion loss for the quarter compares with an $11.5 billion shortfall in the same period a year ago.

The first-quarter loss was partly attributable to a $2.2 billion dividend payment to the Treasury on the government's nearly 80 percent stake in the Washington-based firm. Declining home prices also played a role, with credit losses and expenses for bad loans totaling $11 billion.

"We expect our credit-related expenses to remain elevated in 2011 as we continue to be negatively impacted by the prolonged decline in home prices," Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Williams said in a statement.

Fannie Mae's smaller rival, Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, posted a $676 million first-quarter profit on May 4. Freddie Mac reported a net worth of $1.2 billion and didn't request additional aid.

The two companies, which own or guarantee more than half of U.S. single-family mortgages, have drawn more than $160 billion in Treasury aid since September 2008, when they were seized by the federal government amid losses that pushed them to the brink of insolvency.

Washington policy makers are working on a plan to wind down the companies and rebuild the U.S. mortgage-finance system.

--Editors: Gregory Mott, Maura Reynolds

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