Here’s some news that comes as a surprise to no one: mortgage giant Freddie Mac needs another bailout. According to the fourth quarter and full-year 2011 financial results released Friday, Freddie plans to ask the Treasury for an additional $146 million in bailout money.
Including this Treasury draw, Freddie Mac has received $72.3 billion in bailouts and has paid back only $16.5 billion. Freddie has been operating under conservatorship, with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) acting as its conservator, since September 6, 2008.
The government sponsored entity (GSE) reported $619 million in net income in the fourth quarter and an additional $887 million in other income. The total comprehensive income of $1.5 billion could not offset the $1.7 billion quarterly dividend payment due to the Treasury.
Charles E. Haldeman, Jr., Freddie Mac Chief Executive Officer, insists the Freddie Mac bailout cost is worth it:
“We continue to be a vital source of mortgage funding – last year alone we provided over $360 billion of liquidity in the market. This enabled nearly two million American families to buy or rent a home, including 1.2 million homeowners who were able to refinance their mortgages and save approximately $2,300 in annual interest payments. We also helped to stabilize communities across the country by assisting more than 208,000 borrowers to avoid foreclosure and selling more than two-thirds of our REO properties to owner-occupants.”
Despite the positive face Haldeman tries to put on the company’s problems, the bailout is just the beginning of Freddie Mac’s issues. The company reported a total comprehensive loss of $1.2 billion for the full-year 2011, compared to total comprehensive income of $282 million for the full-year 2010.
What’s worse is Freddie Mac expects to request more money from the Treasury as changes in home prices, interest rates, mortgage security prices, spreads and other factors put more stress on the GSE’s finances. The report also indicates Freddie’s risks to employee-related turnover are increasing.
Freddie Mac insists that over the long-term it will be unable to generate net income in excess of the annual payments owed to the Treasury. The GSE could fall further into debt if the Treasury does not continue to waive the fees.
The one bright spot in all of this is risky loans made between 2005 and 2008 are becoming a smaller percentage of Freddie Mac’s single-family mortgage portfolio. Those loans represented 32 percent of single family mortgages as of December 31, 2011, while loans originated after 2008 accounted for 51 percent.