Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"More" Problems For Fannie? It's Just Begun

Armando Falcon, the head of OFHEO, which is the regulator of Fannie Mae, was interviewed by the Associated Press and he didn't have good news. "Asked Tuesday whether further discoveries could emerge from OFHEO's investigation, Falcon said, 'We very well might find more problems as we continue to review the company's accounting.'"

Might? Fannie has thousands of "special entities" off balance sheet. The size of the disaster is unprecedented. And Mr. Falcon thinks the OFHEO saved the day. "If the agency hadn't acted to identify and correct problems at Fannie Mae, Falcon said, 'I think they would have eventually manifested themselves in the form of some larger problem that might have created some kind of systemic disruptions' in the housing market."

Time will tell on that one. Mr. Falcon has already turned in his resignation and the replacement of the regulator is almost certain; that doesn't sound like a triumph of enforcement. Without going into the politics being thrown about, both Democrats and Republicans were happy to have the GSE's making easy money available for years and the wrangling now won't put the bubble back in the bottle. At least there is this, "The Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation."


At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The average consumer has $9,000 of credit card debt:


At 6:49 PM, Blogger deb said...

Anonymous at 3:10, what a great post!

This is exactly how I see this thing finally busting. The lenders will begin to get just a little more cautious. This will be the oh-so-gentle push that starts this snowball downhill.

I remember the early 90's. Very often it was the lenders who blew the deals. There were more buyers willing to buy, but they couldn't qualify for the loan, couldn't qualify for PMI, the house didn't appraise, the lender orders a review appraisal before closing and it doesn't come in, etc, etc.

I even think the secondary market will start getting a lot more pickey about the kind of debt they are willing to securitize. Remember when lenders used to make "portfolio loans" to subprime borrowers. The lenders HAD to keep them because the secondary market wouldn't take them.

It will become a big game of CYA!!

(A review appraisal was when they actually reviewed the appraisal at the end of a 45-60 day escrow to make sure the value hadn't declined too much since escrow opened!!! It was not a fun time to sell houses.)


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