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April 2, 2013

Fannie Mae Profits Complicate U.S. Housing-Finance Overhaul

The prospect of steady profits at U.S.-owned mortgage financiers Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac is complicating legislative efforts to shrink the federal role in securitizing home loans.

“Fannie Mae executives are due this week to release the company’s earnings report for the last quarter of 2012, a filing delayed by an unanticipated problem: The Washington-based mortgage financier is making money and expects to remain steadily profitable.

Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac (FMCC), once thought to be the only financial-crisis bailout recipients that would generate a net loss for taxpayers, are poised to begin funneling healthy quarterly revenue back to the U.S Treasury as the housing market rebounds. The reversal of fortune is creating political and administrative headaches inWashington, where few expected the turnaround and the future of mortgage financing remains undecided.

“‘The good news is they’re actually starting to make money again,’ Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said in an interview on “Capitol Gains” with Bloomberg Television’s Peter Cook that aired March 24. ‘Bad news is if they make too much money, there may be a sense of, ‘Well, let’s not mess with them anymore.’ We need housing finance reform.’

Regulators who took the nearly bankrupt enterprises into conservatorship in 2008 didn’t create an avenue for the companies to regain independence because lawmakers were expected to wind them down and replace them before they returned to profitability.”

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Read full Bloomberg article here

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