Remember, the bailout potential here is theoretically infinite. The White House removed the $200 billion cap on Fannie/Freddie last December — for no obvious reason, although analysts had plenty of theories. One possible reason: Lifting the cap last year before F&F’s losses approached the limit meant avoiding a nasty political headache down the road. When, circa 2012, the two finally cross the $200 billion threshold in liabilities, all it’ll occasion now is a news story about “grim milestones.” No messy public debate about whether The One should uncap them required. Just cut ’em a new check and that’s that.
$127 billion and counting.
Freddie Mac on Wednesday requested another $10.6 billion handout from the federal government.
The housing finance company, which reported an $8 billion quarterly loss, was put into conservatorship by the government during the height of the financial panic in September 2008 along with its twin Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500).
Freddie has already received $50.7 billion from the Treasury Department. Fannie Mae has so far gotten $76.2 billion…
The McLean, Va.-based company said it helped more than 71,000 families avoid foreclosure during the quarter and financed more than 390,000 homes and 50,000 units of rental housing. It also helped refinance $68 billion of single-family loans.
McCain, Shelby, and Gregg are preparing an amendment that would restore the $200 billion cap and end the feds’ conservatorship within three years. Can’t wait for the floor vote. Exit question: How long do Democrats plan to continue making love to the mortgage market?
Update: “In addition, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has acknowledged that the government expects to suffer ‘very substantial losses’ on its investments in the lenders, with recent estimates ranging around a minimum of $85 billion.”