Former FDIC chair unleashes sharp critique of Fannie, Freddie treatment

William Isaac says Treasury sweep of profits puts taxpayers at risk

Former FDIC Chairman William Isaac will release a sharp critique of the federal government's 2012 decision to sweep all of the profits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Treasury Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.

Isaac’s report details how the amended conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has deprived the government sponsored enterprises of their ability to rebuild capital and has put taxpayers at risk of being asked to fund another bailout of the mortgage finance giants. 

Just last week a report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General found that while Fannie and Freddie returned to profitability in 2012, that profitability is not a sure thing going forward.

The report notes that the mortgage industry is complex, cyclical, and sensitive to changes in economic conditions, mortgage rates, house prices, and other factors.

“The enterprises have acknowledged in their public disclosures that adverse market and other changes could lead to additional losses and that their financial results are subject to significant variability from period to period,” the OIG says.

Isaac and others GSE reform groups, including host Investors Unite, say that the government's abrupt change to the terms of the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act sets a bad precedent because vibrant private capital markets depend on confidence that the government can be counted on to adhere to the rule of law.    

Freddie Mac posted net income of $7.7 billion for the full-year 2014, compared to $48.7 billion for the full-year 2013. Freddie’s 2014 net income and comprehensive income declined from 2013 by $41 billion and $42.2 billion, respectively. 2013 results included an income tax benefit of $23.3 billion that primarily resulted from the release of the deferred tax asset valuation allowance in the third quarter of 2013.

On the other side, Fannie Mae reported annual net income of $14.2 billion and annual comprehensive income of $14.7 billion in 2014. This compares to net income of $84.0 billion and comprehensive income of $84.8 billion in 2013, which included the release of the company’s valuation allowance against its deferred tax assets. 

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