Fannie and Freddie Breathe Easy: Capital Rule Relaxed

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 |  Includes: FMCC, FNMA
by: J.C. Kommer

They are waking up.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight [OFHEO] has announced a 33% cut in capital requirements for Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE).

Details:

OFHEO, FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC ANNOUNCE INITIATIVE TO INCREASE MORTGAGE MARKET LIQUIDITY

OFHEO, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac today announced a major initiative to increase liquidity in support of the U.S. mortgage market. The initiative is expected to provide up to $200 billion of immediate liquidity to the mortgage-backed securities market.

OFHEO estimates that Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s existing capabilities, combined with this new initiative and the release of the portfolio caps announced in February, should allow the GSEs to purchase or guarantee about $2 trillion in mortgages this year. This capacity will permit them to do more in the jumbo temporary conforming market, subprime refinancing and loan modifications areas.

To support growth and further restore market liquidity, OFHEO announced that it would begin to permit a significant portion of the GSEs’ 30 percent OFHEO-directed capital surplus to be invested in mortgages and MBS. As a key part of this initiative, both companies announced that they will begin the process to raise significant capital. Both companies also said they would maintain overall capital levels well in excess of requirements while the mortgage market recovers in order to ensure market confidence and fulfill their public mission.

OFHEO announced that Fannie Mae is in full compliance with its Consent Order and that Freddie Mac has one remaining requirement relating to the separation of the Chairman and CEO positions. OFHEO expects to lift these Consent Orders in the near term. In view of this progress, the public purpose of the two companies, and ongoing market conditions, OFHEO concludes that it is appropriate to reduce immediately the existing 30 percent OFHEO-directed capital requirement to a 20 percent level, and will consider further reductions in the future.

As I said 33% off capital requirements and more to come if required.

Adding related:
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Surplus Capital Requirements Are Eased