All Posts Tagged With: "Banks"

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 …


The Housing Bill Is Law

As expected, President Bush signed HR 3221 into law this morning, making billions of federal dollars available to home owners, shoring up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and providing closer oversight of the financial aspects of home ownership to the Administration and Congress.

What a shame.

After speaking with a good friend of mine that is a CPA, the tax incentives, particularly the $7,500 tax credit (a topic which is burning up the search engines at this time), are going to make life harder for tax preparers, tax payers, and probably increase the cost of running the IRS.  As I’ve said before, There are going to be a lot of problems keeping track of this. 

Plus, this is just an unfair competition with banks.  …


Senator Schumer and the Law of Unintended Consequences

I’m always amazed at the hubris of politicians, although, one would think at this point in my life that I really shouldn’t be amazed at all.

On Friday of last week, Federal Regulators seized IndyMac Bancorp, a $40 billion thrift.  It appears that letters sent by Sen. Schumer to federal agencies in June and made public by the Senator’s office may have contributed to IndyMac’s untimely demise by inadvertantly setting off a run on the bank’s deposits.

Senator Schumer vehemently denies that his grandstanding caused the bank’s failure, suggesting instead that the Office of Thrift Supervision blew it by allowing banks to make risky loans.  But Senator Schumer is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which has oversight responsibility (a key word somewhat foreign …


Congress Should Not Micro-Manage The Economy

Not so much because tinkering with the economy on a regular basis is messy as much as having Congress doing the tinkering is just dangerous. Remembering that the Prime Directive of nearly every member of Congress is “Do nothing that interfere with my re-election”, and the corollary is “Take care of my deep pocket special interests”, it is exceptionally difficult to trust anything that Congress does, especially when it is wrapped up in the “we’re here to help” blanket.

So today (Thursday), the House passed a bill to spend yet another $300 billion that we don’t have in order to firmly entrench the new entitlement: home ownership.

We won’t spend any time bemoaning the end of apartment dwelling as we know it. Nor the fact …


The Economy and the Current “Credit Crisis”

I was reading Mr. Smith’s blog below and my blood began to boil.  I must be on the wrong email lists, because I’m not a proud recipient of Senator Harkin’s email.  Please do not sign me up.

What made my blood boil was the notion that there are innocent victims in the curreng housing mess–that “predatory lenders” are to blame for the entire thing.  So I started to think like one of the “victims” did when they originally purchased a home.  Since most of the issues are related to “Alt-A” mortgages, not true “sub-prime”, it’s important to define the differences.

Sub-prime typically refers to credit applicants with impaired (“bad”) credit histories.  Alt-A typically refers to the following:  no-doc or low-doc mortgages; interest only; 100% financing …


New Fed Powers Plan Needs Careful Thought

Let Friday, early news about a plan to broadly expand the power of the Federal Reserve was released.  Evidently the plan will be formally announced in a speech by Treasury Secretary Paulson.

I’m a bit out of breath.

McGehee was the first I saw to make mention that something like this was seriously in the works.  He expressed some concern which I share.

Seeing some more details of the plan (in the Des Moines Register Saturday morning) gave me reason to sit back and think.  The plan calls for 3 regulators, essentially eliminates any distinction between banks and thrifts, and would make the Fed the “primary regulator of market stability”, overseeing all segments of the financial services industry.

And the Democrats love it.  That should …


Everyone Deserves To Own A House, Right?

Well, Hillary appears to be attempting to make EVERYONE happy.

More government money to rescue folks who simply bought more house than they could afford. According to a Wall Street Journal story Tuesday, Hillary proposes:

  • Freezing Forclosures for 90 days
  • Freezing Interest-rate Resets on Sub-primes for 5 years
  • Establish a $30 billion fund so states and cities can buy foreclosed properties
  • Expand the Mortgage Revenue Bond Program (provides below market interest rates for first-time home buyers) by $10 billion

Thanks so much. I’ve heard a number of people call this, appropriately, “cost-shifting”. That means one group of people (those of us who are careful to buy what we can afford) are going to take

Capitalism and open market disciplines cannot support a class of people

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