Fannie Loses $23 Billion, Prompting Even Bigger Bailout
Fannie Mae reported that it lost $23.2 billion in the first three months of the year as mortgage defaults increasingly spread from risky loans to the far-larger portfolio of loans to borrowers who have been considered safe.
The massive loss prompts a $19 billion investment from the government to keep the firm solvent, on top of a $15 billion investment of taxpayer money earlier this year.
The sobering earnings report was a reminder of the far-reaching implications of the government’s takeover in September of Fannie Mae and the smaller Freddie Mac. Losses have proved unrelenting; the firms’ appetite for tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer aid hasn’t subsided; and taxpayer money invested in the companies, analysts said, is probably lost forever because the prospects for repayment are slim.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been growing ever more dependent on federal largesse. The Federal Reserve has bought $366 billion of their mortgage investments and $70 billion of their debt, and has pledged to buy hundreds of billions of dollars more of both. The Treasury has pledged $200 billion to each company to keep them solvent and already bought $124 billion of their mortgage investments.
In total, the government has committed about $2 trillion to supporting Fannie and Freddie and buying the securities they issue.