All Posts Tagged With: "Fannie Mae"

The Stupidity of Banking Fees

About ten years ago, my savings account basically stopped paying interest. The rate of about two percent fell to something like one-tenth of one percent in 2002. Over the last ten years, people just seemed to forget the way things used to work – banks are supposed to pay you for placing your money into a bank account.

Well, as you may have known, Bank of America has raised an uproar by announcing their intent to charge a $5.00 per month fee for their customers who use debit cards to make purchases. Other banks are expected to follow suit. This uproar has taken the tone of anti-corporate class warfare: the “Bigs” vs. the Common Man; Banks vs. The People – whatever. The furor is missing …


College Is A Bad Investment

To the baby boom generation, a college degree was almost a mystical amulet, and just possessing it meant that your life would be improved in mystical ways. Thus, a college degree was something to be quested for, like a hero from Greek or Norse mythology.

Unfortunately, college is a horrible investment. Actually, I need to amend that; nothing is a horrible investment in-and-of itself. This is true for stocks and bonds, houses, and even college. Overpaying for these things – defined as paying more than is reasonable compared to the returns – makes them bad investments, and if you are attending a four-year college, you are almost certainly overpaying.

The United States has more unemployed college graduates right now than we have ever had before. …


Moral Hazard

If you’ve not read Daniel Henninger’s column in the October 2, 2008 edition of The Wall Street Journal, I encourage you to.  In this column, Mr. Henninger defines the term “moral hazard”, particularly as it relates to Wall Street, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Congress.  He writes:

Borrowers across America took a dive for low- or no-down-payment mortgages buoyed by the Federal Reserve’s low-risk interest rates. Wall Street sliced the mortgages thinner than prosciutto ham, ‘spreading risk’, and sold pieces all over the world, where, like magic, they seemed to fatten balance sheets. The deal was so win-win that Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill and the rest of the world’s mega banks engorged on their own product. It was as if the foie gras geese


Is The Crisis Abated?

On Sunday I shared some initial thoughts about the Fed take-over of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you read it, you know I’m not exactly happy about the outcome.  My friend Bithead shared some great thoughts Monday, and I don’t disagree that something needed to be done.   He and I both agree dumping the CEOs was necessary.

And on Monday the Stock Market reacted very favorably to the news, with a huge rise in the Dow (500 points, settling up 289), with a strong positive impact to the banking industry.

But I’m still convinced that the solution divides the interests of those in the government now set to manage the affairs of these companies.  Everyone who looks at this right now is breathing …


Government Mortages: The New Balancing Act

Today US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced plans for the new Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to take Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into conservatorship.   The power to do this was provided in HR 3221 which was passed in July.

The move includes replacement of the CEO of both organizations, and an infusion of about $200 billion.  In return, the Treasury gets $1 billion in preferred stock from each company without providing the cash for it up front (I’m assuming this will work like a stock option).

From the Wall Street Journal:

It is unclear how much the government’s intervention will ultimately cost taxpayers. In exchange for agreeing to provide as much capital as needed to the companies as they cope with heavy losses on


What A Week: Housing

By now you probably know that both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have had very poor quarterly reports.  Worse than expected.  And now we’re in for worse trouble.

Money is now expected to be tighter as we roll into the fall and home buying will continue to be slow due to the fact rates will be higher and people will be disinclined to borrow and therefore buy.

Don’t mind the fact that having the media and the industry simply telling the public that it’s bad probably causes a lot more people to sit on their hands.

With home prices as low as they are now, it’s the best time to buy.  The cost of money is already low and continues to be offset by the …


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