Berkowitz dismisses rationale for GSE "profit sweep"

|By:, SA News Editor

"Total nonsense," says Bruce Berkowitz of Treasury's claim that 2012's altering of the Fannie (FNMA +4.1%) and Freddie (FMCC +3.3%) bailout - in which regular dividends were scrapped in favor of the "profit sweep" - was necessary because at the time it was worried the two couldn't earn enough to make the payments (a forecast the improving housing market has made wrong).

Berkowitz's reading of the original bailout says the GSEs could have issued more stock to Treasury in lieu of cash, and he's' scratching his head as to how both the government and the GSEs failed to know this. Conspiracy? “I prefer the simpler reason that no one bothered to read the agreement.”

Another reason is government lawyers' reading of the documents differs with Berkowitz. Ultimately, a judge will probably decide.

Separately, how going long Fannie and Freddie became the latest version of The Greatest Trade Ever.