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Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.

Freddie Mac CEO indicates volatility subsiding at mortgage finance giant

House prices up + lawsuits down = good times

February 18, 2016

It’s been a couple of rough years for the government-sponsored enterprise, Freddie Mac, to say the least.

Conservatorship, lawsuits, interest rate fluctuations (kinda), more lawsuits, and let’s not forget the time public-vigilante journalists invented a scandal about the company’s trading operations.

Most of that came before the time of the current CEO of Freddie Mac, Donald Layton, but I assure you he’s all too aware of the trials and tribulations endured.

After reporting another decent year of performance this morning, Layton referred to Freddie Mac as a more “basic company.”

The company recorded a fourth quarter net income of $2.2 billion, a jump after net loss of $475 million for the third quarter of 2015, which marked the first loss in four years.

He said house prices continue to improve, which is good for the company, and lawsuits continue to abate, also good. And the company is prepared for interest rate fluctuation, although this is appears less likely to happen in 2016.

“We are set up as business as usual,” he said in a call with HousingWire Thursday morning. “Interest rates move up, refinances would lower, its inherent in the business.”

Layton added that progress continues to be made toward the Federal Housing Finance Agency 2016 goal of deciding whether or not to adopt an alternative credit scoring model. 

"In 2016 this will be finalized and we will make a decision," he said.

Looks like better times ahead.

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