The agencies who watched the US Treasury bail out the GSEs issued a joint statement including:
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
- Office of Thrift Supervision
Now everybody (the regulators) is starting to act together like a family. The statement sounded like motherly advice to the children at dinner time after a long day…
All institutions are reminded that investments in preferred stock and common stock with readily determinable fair value should be reported as available-for-sale equity security holdings, and that any net unrealized losses on these securities are deducted from regulatory capital.
In other words, I am saying this nicely, but if you make the same mistake Frannie made, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your room.
Is it that somebody is still trying to come up with a fail-proof system that guarantees no loss and everybody lives happily ever after? That seems to me to be what the Frannie creation was all about since the American dream just wasn’t going to be wide spread enough without some risk free arrangement for the money changers. While we are talking about hip connected problem generators let’s talk about housing that is affordable for the average Wal Mart employee. Talk all you want about financial markets and the who play them, and they are a legitimate topic, but an additional and inescapable fact is that way too many people in the US can’t afford housing of any kind. Conclusion, the government has to give it to them? I’m sure there is some kind of minimum wage earner/job outsourcing connection here. Early on I heard this thing called the sub-prime crises. Somebody who keeps track of the cost of living and wage earnings is not telling us the whole truth. Management techniques aside, Frannie in some form is obviously a necessary thing if less than successful folk are to have a reliable roof, but the system still operates on the apparently now fictitious premise that money borrowed with housing as security will be paid back to the lenders. The economy works as long as the money is revolving. Somebody included players who can’t do that very well if at all. The sub-primers obviously can’t play the game, at least not by the rules the rest of the players do. Don’t fool yourselves that any-one involved in this lending thing is there to help the little guy. Another loan is not what he needed. He needs a job that pays enough for him to able to ante-up and stay in the game. Ten they can wrap his mortgage in security blanket and ship it forever ’round and ’round the world without a worry that it will end up DOA.
“… motherly advice to the children at dinner … if you make the same mistake Frannie made, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your room.”
A major problem in the finance industry is that players are rarely held accountable for the destruction of capital and concomitant human suffering wrought by their bad acts.
When sending Junior to his room after catching him playing with matches in a room full of dynamite, Mom has to take his matches away and make absolutely sure he never goes near that room again.
A year after his “too big to fail” Long Term Capital Management hedge fund had to be bailed out, John Meriweather crawled out of his yacht in Greenwich to form another one and, matches in hand, was welcomed back into the room full of dynamite.
Financial giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were mortgage icons as long as anyone can remember. Certainly they existed even before I was born. They grew and grew to a proportion so scary that for any reason if they toppled the effects on the overall economy would be almost irreparable for many years to come. No single entity with close ties to the government should be given the opportunity of such growth for the simple reason just stated above.
According to The Washington Post: Sunday, September 14, 2008, “…the federal government seized control of the two companies to protect the very mortgage market they were created to lubricate. The cost to taxpayers could run into the tens of billions of dollars.”
In not so distant past the F&F had many financial blunders that either went un-noticed or serious concerns fell on deaf ears. They made risky loans. Many borrowers defaulted on their loans. The Washington Post goes on to say: “…finally, as the credit crisis escalated, Congress passed a bill two months ago establishing a tough, new regulator for the companies. It was too late.” Now, we’ll wait and see how the F&F is handled. My guess is when things settle and the market bounces back, hopefully soon, and everyone is happy and content, because the money flow is abundant and no one is concerned about the status of the economy, and the market is booming, while some executives behind giant financial institutions begin their finger-poking actions for personal gains, effecting the economy, then and only then will we wake up to a situation like what we are having today. And the never-ending cycle continues. Will it ever stop? I wonder!