In the weeks since Steve Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of the Treasury, sent shockwaves through the housing industry by stating that the Trump administration planned to end the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reactions varied on whether that can actually be done and how expensive it might be.
Both Moody’s Investors Service and Kroll Bond Ratings Agency threw water on Mnunchin’s proclamation, saying that the mortgage market would be forever changed if the government-sponsored enterprises are taken out of conservatorship and replaced.
But over on Seeking Alpha, there’s an interesting take from an interested party on how the GSEs might actually exit conservatorship and what that would mean to the GSE stockholders who’ve waited quite a few years for a resolution.
It should be noted that the author of the article, Charlie Harrison, states that he is long on Fannie Mae stock, but the article is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in the various machinations that could lead to Fannie and Freddie being freed.
Harrison argues that one avenue out of conservatorship would be for the Trump administration to settle the various lawsuits brought against the federal government by Fannie and Freddie investors, and hanging the entire affair on the Obama administration.
In fact, Harrison writes that expects the administration to move to settle quickly, and perhaps even move to remove Mel Watt, the current director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, from his position.
From Harrison’s article:
Trump does not directly control FHFA but can attempt to terminate the FHFA director, Mel Watt for cause, in addition to placing Watt in an untenable position by ordering Treasury and Justice to release the Treasury withheld documents and unilaterally settling with the plaintiffs. My judgment is that Watt will resign or bow to the inevitable. The next FHFA director, in my view in early 2017, will be a Trump appointee.
So what happens to Fannie Mae’s stock if Trump does move to end the conservatorship?
According to Harrison, Fannie Mae’s stock will explode, moving from its current trading price in the $4 range to more than $250 per share.
There’s much more on the mechanics of all of that in Harrison’s piece. Click here or below to read the whole thing.