Tag Archives: FHFA

Obama's 'Underwater' Homeowner Rescue Already Sinking

President Obama is travelling several Western states to talk up a re-vamp of his failed “Home Affordable Refinance Program” (HARP) in another big-government attempt to rescue homeowners who owe more on their houses than the real estate is worth.

Beginning in Nevada, the “We Can’t Wait” campaign is intended to show-up Congress while side-stepping them completely. Congress had passed HARP in an effort to help homeowners with troubled mortgages. The program promised to help about 5 million Americans, but in truth just  822,000 have been assisted – not even 10% of those upside-down on their home loans.

The new rules in “HARP Phase II” will loosen the rules on who can take advantage of the government program and reduce the fees the borrower must pay.

 Eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers;
 Removing the current 125 percent LTV ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
 Waiving certain representations and warranties that lenders commit to in making loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
 Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate provided by the Enterprises; and
 Extending the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013 for loans originally sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009.

In the original program, only those that owed up to 125% more than the property was worth could be accepted into the program. Now, there will be no limit to the amount the borrower may owe in relation to the value of the property.

If Jim, as an example, owed $250,000 on his house and the home was only worth $175,000, he previously would have  been denied a re-finance under the HARP program. Now, as long as Jim’s loan is backed by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, he can be approved. This will put the taxpayers on the hook for a quarter million dollars with only 175k in collateral. Who runs a business this way?

The program is also expected to only provide minimal relief. Due to the 20 year maximum term for the refinanced mortgage, monthly payments may only be 20-30 dollars less per month according to an example provided by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

If the borrower chose a 20-year loan term at a rate of 4.25 percent (mortgage rates tend to be less for shorter term mortgages), the monthly payment would be $1238 ($26 less than the borrower currently pays) and the borrower’s loan balance would reach $160,000 in five-and-one-half years

The real purpose of the new program may be even more deserving of investigation. This program doesn’t appear to modify existing loans. Instead, it replaces one loan for another. It’s  a traditional re-finance with one major difference – Fannie and Freddie are letting the banks off the hook for any illegitimate loans they originated as long as they re-fi through this program. David Dayen at FDL puts it succinctly:

So, earlier, I said “what’s not to like.” Here’s what’s not to like. The “reps and warranties” part of this. When you refinance a loan, you’re essentially creating a new mortgage, unlike a loan modification, where you modify the old mortgage. Under the plan, the FHFA will eliminate their ability to force repurchases on these old loans, and they would lower their ability to force repurchases on the new loans created. There will be a “modest fee” associated with relieving these reps and warranties, according to Donovan, which won’t be set until November 15. They will be lower than the current risk-based fees that Fannie and Freddie charge.

What does this mean? A “reps and warranties” case is a case where the loan was originated improperly. When Fannie and Freddie get sold a bad loan like this, they have the right to force it back on the originator. New lenders are reluctant to refinance such loans, because they become liable for the put-back.

What this means is that FHFA will essentially settle on all the loans that get refinanced for a “modest fee,” which we can safely assume will be next to nothing. And we know that a substantial amount of loans, perhaps a majority, were illegally originated during the bubble years. You’re letting the lenders who originated the loans off the hook for that, in exchange for allowing more refis.

FHFA estimates that this program may double the current number of re-finances by the end of 2013. An additional $447 Billion to help perhaps another 882,000 home owners over the next two years?  That’s more than half-a-million dollars per re-finance. Remember, they aren’t giving them half-a-million bucks, that’s just what Obama’s program costs to service 882,000 loans by the FHFA estimate.

“We Can’t Wait” may be yet another attempt to do anything quickly, no matter how ill-conceived it may be. Of some concern is where did the money to fund this come from if Congress didn’t approve it?

At a cost of $447 Billion this is a bank rescue and a move to prop up inflated real-estate prices all under the disguise of helping home owners. This ought to push the Occupy Wall Street crowd right over the edge .. but it won’t – because it came from Democrats.

 

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Fannie and Freddie Fatcats Still Raking in Taxpayer Dollars. $35M in Bonuses

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives raked in over $35 million dollars in bonuses while sucking another $153 BILLION dollars out of taxpayers for being nothing more than an epic failure.

A report issued Thursday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General shed some light on the following payoffs for incompetence, ineptitude or just plain theft of taxpayer dollars:

  • At Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association), its chief executive officer received $9.3 million in total compensation in 2009 and 2010, the report reveals. The CEO is Michael J. Williams, who joined the company in 1991.
  • At Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association), CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr., former head of Putnam Investments, made $7.8 million in the two years since the company was taken over by the federal government.
  • Fannie Mae’s chief financial officer made $4.6 million, and its chief accounting officer/general counsel received $4.5 million.
  • At Freddie Mac, the CFO made $3.9 million, and the general counsel/secretary received $5.1 million
  • In all, the top six executives made $35.4 million. Meanwhile, total losses at the two companies could reach $363 billion through 2013, according to government estimates.

So who just keeps on authorizing these huge bonuses for the wholesale theft and abuse of taxpayer dollars? What the Federal Housing Authority  bureaucrats of course! Why does this kind of taxpayer dollar theft continue?  It is called Crony-Capitalism and is explained in detail here.

The stated mission of the FHFA responsible for this kind of fraud would be laughable, if not for the seriousness of this longtime Fannie and Freddie theft of taxpayer dollars. Their mission is *supposed* to be, to ensure that the fat-cat bonuses paid out to Senior execs at Fannie and Freddie are “reasonable.”   The taxpayers are on the hook for a total of $363 Billion dollars through 2013, and they give over $35 billion dollars to the people perpetuating this fraud under the guise of it being “reasonable?”  The FHFA Inspector general now says that Fannie and Freddie should install written criteria and procedures for performance evaluation in order to figure out what bonuses, if any, would be “reasonable” for these crony-capitalists. Oh Really? Why in the hell isn’t that type of system already in place ? So they just take $35 million tax dollars in bonuses, with no system in place to see if they actually earned it, and Congress is sitting on their hands letting this continue for decades.

Darrell Issa is the chairman of the House Government oversight committee, and where is he on this “oversight” of executive bonuses at Fannie and Freddie?  I am getting sick and tired of all these theatrical investigations in Congress that NEVER end up accomplishing a damn thing!  There is no stoppage of the theft of tax dollars over at Fannie and Freddie, even though we have seen what,  30, 40, or 50 so-called ” investigations ? ” If any action is ever taken, it is so ludicrous that it hurts me to even type it, such as giving someone a $50,000 fine for stealing 3 or 4 million in tax dollars.

U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for over $363 BILLION dollars through 2013, thanks to the corrupt fatcats over at Fannie and Freddie. Those same crony-capitalistic thieves were rewarded for their incompetence/ corruption with over $35 million dollars of your hard earned money. Think about that, as you write out that income tax payment check this month.