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Investments

Fannie, Freddie to raise g-fees in April

The Federal Housing Finance Agency will increase guarantee fees on single-family mortgage-backed securities charged by the government-sponsored enterprises by 10 basis points effective April 1, 2012, in response to the new funding mechanism for the payroll tax cut extension passed by Congress. Passage of the payroll tax cut extension requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise g-fees by at least 10 basis points from the average charged in 2011. The FHFA will also evaluate in early 2012 whether it needs further g-fee increases to comply with the new law, Acting Director Ed DeMarco said in a statement Thursday. The law, he said, requires the FHFA to make a schedule for g-fee increases over a two-year period to satisfy other conditions. DeMarco said the FHFA will take "into consideration risk levels and conditions in financial markets" when the agency contemplates rates. President Barack Obama signed the temporary two-month tax cut last week after House and Senate leaders reached a last-minute deal prior to the holiday break. The g-fee increase will remain in effect through Oct. 1, 2021. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the g-fees would offset about $35.7 billion in the costs of the tax cut. Mortgage Bankers Association CEO David Stevens said the increase could mean an extra $4,000 in fees on a $200,000 mortgage. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.

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